Oi Polloi

Dispatches from Morocco

Published: Fri Dec 11 2015

A few months back me and Nigel were sent to Morocco to look at some trainers. Looking back now, I think I was maybe expected to take photographs of these trainers and report back to mission control on what materials they were made out of and discuss how responsive the midsoles were — but instead I spent all my time wandering around the countryside on my own like a weirdo getting funny looks from the locals.

I can’t imagine those trainers would have shown up too well using my low-end, five pound camera anyway...

This Obi Wan type figure here was our guide around the markets of Marrakesh. Floaty-trousered travelling-types may tell you about how amazing and inspiring these markets are, but don’t listen to them — these markets are a nightmare.

It is quite good seeing all the madness and all the people zipping about on motorbikes down the busy streets, but unless you enjoy getting completely ripped off for old tin teapots, then I’d probably give these a miss.

I think our guide had some sort of cunning racket going on – he’d take us to the most expensive stalls, try and get us to buy stuff and then get a cut of our cash off the men at the stall. What he didn’t realise was that we were a bunch of skin flints with no interest in buying anything apart from bottles of ice cold Coca-Cola. That happy chap above worked in some naff rug shop that our guide took us to. I’m not sure why he looks so happy though - none of us bought a rug.

This stray dog took a real liking to me whilst I was wandering about, and proceeded to follow me for about a mile. Every time I turned around it would stop and pretend it was interested in something at the side of the path, but I knew its game.

Luckily for the staff of the hotel we were staying at (who I can’t imagine would be too pleased if I brought a scabby old mutt back with me), I passed a large pile of festering rubbish and old nappies on my walk back. The potent stench and the lure of rotting food was too much for the dog to take and it quickly forgot me in favour of the mound of delights.

This dog was a touch classier than my vagrant friend. With the help of his translator, Youssef, we talked well into the night about the films of John Cassavettes and later he shared with me a cracking vegetarian tagine recipe — a true gentleman and a true friend.

That fluffy white mass this young lad is brandishing may not look like much under the harsh glare of the sun, but it’s actually a live rabbit. I’m not sure what he was going to do with it, but he was very pleased to have it.

Since travelling to Morocco I’ve started carrying live rabbits with me. Not only are they a great snack, but they make a wonderful currency – three rabbits in decent nick will usually get you around two cinema tickets and a large bucket of Pepsi.

Whilst snooping around this building I managed to get stung on my ear by some sort of winged critter. I’ve never been Tangoed, but I imagine that this intense, burning sensation was a pretty similar feeling to being slapped on the side of the head by a fat orange baby-man. The moral of this story? Always wear earmuffs when skulking around run-down buildings in the middle of nowhere. 

These lads showed us around the mountains on some quad bikes. Although they kept telling us that safety was paramount, it wasn’t us who were blasting full speed off piste whilst stood-up in the action-stance with nothing more than snide flip-flops on their feet.

Lovely chaps though... wonder if they’re up for doing a ‘look-book’ for us where they stand about looking moody on the edge of a council estate wearing 90s sportswear?

Before you reach for the Drynites — this lad hasn’t wet himself, he’s just got some intense crotch-sweat from the four-wheeled fun. Happens to the best of us. 


Donkeys are pretty popular in Morocco. Unlike the much over-worked Blackpool variety, the Moroccan donkey has a relatively stress-free life that just involves being tied up to a tree or a large rock and scrabbling around in the dust for food.

 Not sure what's going here.

And that just about rounds off this helpful travel report. In summary, I’d say Morocco is an alright place if you like stray dogs, donkeys and getting stung by mystery critters.