That evening, we sat up on top of our hotel and looked out over the uneven assortment of flat, dusty roofs and white minarets that made up the Zagora skyline. At the edge of town was Mount Zagora, a short and unusually pointed mountain; I had a vague idea that 'zagora' meant 'nipple' in some local Berber dialect. We sat in a circle of metal chairs, and although we had only been in town for a matter of hours, Iain's mysterious sources had already furnished him with a couple of spliffs which were being passed round. I hated Lois smoking, and I was secretly pleased to see her pass it straight on to Simon, who drew a tiny fraction, and then spent thirty seconds exhaling it in an elaborate fashion. We were wearing our headscarves, partly because of the cold, but mostly because of the image. James spent at least an hour staring in his customary astonishment at a Moroccan toothbrush he'd just bought, muttering to himself, 'I can't believe it's so fucking big,' in his amused and amazed Liverpool cadence.

Our initial guarded reaction to the town had disappeared, and we now all agreed that, like so many places in the south of the country, Zagora had a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere and a friendly population. They had all told us that it was 'la saison morte' which had brought the prices for camel treks down so much, but we had been deliberating over which offer to follow up. Matt and Iain had rather liked the persevering entrepreneur who had followed us, but James and I had met someone else in a shop who knew one of James's friends from Agadir. We had taken the others to his shop, where we had been given mint tea and a decent sales pitch, and all agreed to go with him. The price was 120 dirhams - surely a bargain.

> > >