All the dumb things

A cautionary tale in development

Casablanca cruising.

Posted by razzbuffnik on April 25, 2007

When I used to travel, it was usually on a shoestring budget. At the time it was common for travellers like myself to meet up with other travellers and before long, share hotel rooms with them to cut costs.

When I was in Morocco in 1982, I met up with two other Australians, Bruce and Kate (not their real names), and we travelled together for a couple of weeks sharing a room. Bruce and Kate were primary school teachers from the same school and were on their annual leave. Now don’t get the wrong idea, there was nothing “going on” between any of us. Kate wasn’t attracted to me, Bruce was gay, and I was straight.

Kate was travelling with Bruce because she wanted to go somewhere that was exotic and wanted to have a travelling companion without any complications. Kate just didn’t get Morocco, she’d topless sunbathe on the beach and get pissed off that she was attracting a crowd of sexually starved locals. She would’ve been better off at the Club Med in Tahiti.

Whereas Bruce had come to Morocco because he had heard a rumour that most Arab men were closet homosexuals and because he was looking for some action, he was hoping it was true.

Both Bruce and Kate were a lot of fun to be around and I enjoyed my time with them greatly.

One night in Casablanca I decided to go out and take some night shots and Bruce asked if he could come along. “Sure” I said, and I was glad of some company.

Bruce had a great sense of humour and was a very interesting and intelligent guy. We wandered around the streets in the muggy night, effortlessly shooting the breeze, with me occasionally taking a photo of whatever caught my eye.

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 After a few hours of trudging around we decided to rest our feet and buy some gelato at a café.

As we were sitting at our table eating our gelato, Bruce, sitting opposite me, started to purse his lips and make kissing gestures my way. I knew that Bruce knew that I was straight, so I knew the kisses weren’t for me. I slowly turned around and a few tables away was a thin, well dressed, late thirty’s, Moroccan man, blowing kisses back at Bruce. Bruce waved the Moroccan guy over and so he came and introduced himself to us, shook our hands and joined us at the table. Bruce just stared our new friend with a shocking undisguised lust and this open declaration didn’t seem to be causing any discomfort in our guest.  I just didn’t know where to look. After a couple of minutes of this weird staring thing, acknowledging that I was the “third wheel” so to speak, I excused myself from the table, and bolted for home, not expecting to see Bruce for some time.

Within ten minutes of me getting back to the hotel room, Bruce stormed in, all in a fit of rage, and started throwing and kicking things around.  During his tantrum, Bruce was ranting, over and over, “all he wanted was to try and sell me drugs!”  After a few minutes, Bruce calmed down and explained that as soon as I left, Bruce had asked the Moroccan to go to the Moroccan’s place, which turned out to be a room above the café. Once inside the room, Bruce made his move, only to be rebuffed and to have it explained to him, that the Moroccan wanted to sell cocaine to Bruce.

I’ve thought about this incident over the years many times and a few things have occurred to me.

1.Who in their right mind would smuggle cocaine into Morocco, which is not only further away than America, but it’s population of people rich enough to buy coke would be infinitesimal. Obviously it was a scam.
2.What was going on with the blowing the kisses thing?  What did the Moroccan guy think? That’s the way in which westerners communicate non-verbally when they want to buy drugs?

Ahhh… life’s rich tapestry!

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