Graham's True Stories
Number 35, Bride of the Desert
国厂精品114福利电影I'll call this bride of the desert
We antiques dealers get around and sometimes, when in uncharted territory, we employ a local expert to ease our searching.
Thus it was that three dealers took advantage of a cheap air fare and found ourselves in Morocco. Our first job on exiting the airport was to find a guide.
国厂精品114福利电影Believe me, dear readers, this is not difficult. The slightest hesitancy in pace guarantees a swarm of wannabee guides promising everything from the best hotel, snake charmer or the pleasures of a virgin sister.
We picked up a likely-looking lad of around 30. Never discovered his name but a small portion of it sounded like Ben so that was good enough for us.
国厂精品114福利电影It was a little difficult to convince Ben of his duties over the next three days. No we didn't want to buy wacky backy, nor sample the delights of his young sister or, come to that, his brother.
国厂精品114福利电影Ben's job was to be at the hotel at 9am, climb into the back of the car and direct us to antiques dealers and markets.
It took him a day to get the message but soon he was performing well, only the occasional mention of a sister - he had one in every town we passed through.
He was a professional guide and proud of it. Education had been limited to back-street classes in basic English from an elder brother who now ran a night club and probably employed quite a few of the sisters.
For the past 15 years Ben had haunted the airport picking up tourists and guiding them to the best hotel, best taxi and best everything else which provided a small kickback for an introduction.
Ben was a pretty happy and outgoing character. Due partly to his natural joy at finding a three-day job although, perhaps, the inexhaustible supply of strange-smelling tobacco which he smoked had something to do with his disposition.
On long trips between towns we learned something of Moroccan culture and, with four men together, the subject of sex wasn't totally avoided.
国厂精品114福利电影He told us that he was “western civilised” and did not require his wife to walk 10 paces to the rear but, yes, she was expected to wear a yashmak to cover her face in public at all times.
Sitting at a roadside cafe with Hookahs and teapot bubbling we got a little deeper into the sex business.
How, we wanted to know, did boy meet girl in such a restrictive society.
国厂精品114福利电影It tuned out that boy didn't meet girl at all.
国厂精品114福利电影Ben explained that when a young lad left school and started work he would immediately commence saving all his spare cash for the buy-a-bride programme.
When enough money had been collected, the groom-to-be would approach the father of an eligible girl, sit down and cut a deal.
国厂精品114福利电影Now we were getting really interested. Buying and selling we understood. But we were keen to know the going rate the average father would put on one unused bride.
国厂精品114福利电影Ben was a little reluctant to get into this one but eventually said that the price depended greatly on the beauty of the girl.
国厂精品114福利电影“Yes, yes”, we prompted. Our guide lowered his head in shame and whispered: “At the time I didn't have too much money”.
We never met the bargain-basement bride but, making our big farewells at the airport, we rounded up all our spare Moroccan money and pressed it into Ben's grateful hands. He stood on the tarmac waving as the plane took off, leaving us wondering if we hadn't been a tad too generous and whether previously-used brides were taken in as part payment on a new model.