I went home to pack my bag and met Simon in town, where we had a lot of time to kill. There was no direct coach from Rabat to Essaouira, so we had to change at Casa, something we had hoped to avoid. Casablanca is one of the least friendly places in Morocco, a busy city with little charm, and to minimise the amount of time spent waiting there for the five o'clock Essaouira coach, we had decided to arrive as late as possible. Consequently we weren't planning to leave Rabat until about three in the morning.

It was Ramadan, and we arrived in McDonald's just after the mosque had announced breakfast: to our delight this was catered for, and we bought a McDonald's Ramadan F'tour, including a free McHarira. Harira is the thick soup used to break the fast, and it can have anything in it, meat, vegetables, eggs...this one wasn't bad, and at least it was free. Moroccan workers were being paid about 24p an hour to work here, and the food was the same price as in Britain.

It was crowded nonetheless, and we were reduced to perching on a mushroom in the children's section while we ate. Simon beckoned me closer and unzipped the top of his rucksack to reveal a carton of red wine inside. 'Let's celebrate finally quitting,' he said. Drinking alcohol during Ramadan is strictly forbidden, and they would not take too kindly to two foreigners downing wine in public.

'We don't have any glasses,' I said.