Your holiday disaster: In a Moroccan contest of wills, Ian Russell lost his temper with the tout who would not take no for an answer

Tangier that October just wasn't the place to be. It rained from the minute our Royal Air Maroc charter touched down until the day we left our dirty, dingy and isolated beachfront hotel. We hadn't gone simply for the weather, of course, but the unexpectedly chilly and damp feel to the North African air on our first night didn't bode well for the rest of the week. And our inability to respond to the local hustlers who baited, harried and hassled us non-stop made it a trip to remember for all the wrong reasons.

The location of the Hotel Yuk (as we soon began to think of it) was a major source of our troubles. A mile away from the medina, standing on its own in a virtual no-man's-land, and filled almost exclusively with English-speaking package-holidaymakers, it was an obvious place for the local youth to seek gainful employment.

They swooped as soon as we left the relative safety of the unkempt Yuk's grounds. Most, though persistent, would become discouraged after a few polite refusals. But unfortunately, there was one fellow ...

This most persistent of all salesmen stuck to us like glue for, quite literally, hour after hour. I blame my wife for uttering that most irresistible of come-ons: "Good morning". That was all that this at-first-friendly- but-later-quite-scary character needed. He then proceeded to offer his services as a guide (no thank you, no thank you, no THANK YOU), as an interpreter and as a carpet-salesman (quite common in Tangier). We walked steadily onwards, attempting to ignore the lad who, half an hour later, was still pushing his bike with one hand and gesticulating furiously with the other. There was only one thing for it - we'd leave the pavement and head for the beach. Our new route was fine ... for all of two minutes. Then he appeared, still pushing his bike, never actually riding it, in front of us once more. Another half hour and we had reached the centre of town, but the hustle and bustle there simply made our friend more agitated. When it was (more than) obvious that we wouldn't take up any of his many offers of assistance - we simply wanted to wander around on our own - he started to shout at us, keenly encouraging a crowd to gather round and shower abuse on these two rude foreigners who were in his country only to ignore the locals' hospitality.

The scenario wasn't dangerous - most people were perfectly friendly - but it was disconcerting and as the insults continued in our direction, something snapped inside us. After all the frustration, WE began to roar at each other.

This swiftly removed the spotlight from our man and, incredibly, the onlookers soon lost interest in these two crazy tourists having a go at each other. When my wife and I parted company, her stomping up the hill, me stomping downhill (to meet a few minutes later just around the corner) the mob dispersed and our pest didn't know what to do with himself.

We were to see him only one more time during our stay. Again he had his bike with him, though this time he was riding it, and once more he was in the vicinity of our hotel. He shouted some pleasantry at us as he rode past.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living