Stop! Police!

driving in Morocco

It was about three o’clock in the afternoon and I was hungry and thirsty. I’d been driving since 8.30 on my crazy road trip around the Southern Oases of Morocco and because of the big gaps between towns, I had missed out on lunch.

Driving into the walled city of Taroudant, I was sure that I would get something, but as I rolled in to town, up ahead I saw the ubiquitous POLICE! Slow down, stop sign placed at the edge of the road.

When you are driving in Morocco, you can be in the middle of nowhere, literally, but if your milometer creeps over the proscribed limit, I guarantee you a policeman with a radar gun will spring up from the only bush in the desert and book you.

Tummy rumbling, temper slightly frayed, and with that feeling of guilt that afflicts even the most innocent when confronted with a policeman, I pulled over and rolled down my window.

“Peace be upon you.”

“And upon you.”

“You speak Arabic? Fantastic! Welcome to my country. Where are you going?”

“I am going to Essaouira.”

“Ahh you still have some way on the road. Where did you come from?”

“From Agdz. I am very tired.”

“As God wills! That is a long way, my sister. What is your job?”

“I am an Adventurer. I seek out adventures and then write or broadcast about them. Your country has blessed me greatly.”

“Thanks be to God! I am a literary man myself. I work as a Policeman, but my passion is literature.”

“Oh peace! We are family then.”

“Yes, but I must still check your details. Wait here,my sister, while I go to the office.”

This man was delightful, but I was  really hungry and thirsty and (shamefully) was thinking more of my belly than the delights of shared authorship. I waited in the car for him to come back.

Ten long minutes later. There he was. Clutching a huge, ripe, yellow melon.

driving in Morocco

“My sister, this is for you,” he said, as he handed it over. “And here is my number and my name. Next time you are in Taroudant, please, please come to have dinner with me and my wife and family, we can talk about books. I wish you a safe journey and a happy day.”

If you enjoyed this story, there are more in my latest book.


13 comments on “Stop! Police!

  1. Janette (Nosella) Kelly on

    Written with wit and eloquence. A wonderful reflection/reminder of the joy and kindness in our world. Thank you for sharing one of your many adventures, @Alice Morrison.

  2. Elaine Foley on

    How wonderful to meet a police officer in the desert lol!! He’s the type of person that restores my faith in humanity….I’m so glad that he very kindly provided you with the sustenance you needed. I hope that maybe one day you will pass his way again and take up his offer to eat with his wife and family. God bless you xxx

  3. Rachel Blech on

    Love it! I frequently drive Marrakech to Essaouira and know all too well about the police with radar guns that spring from nowhere on deserted stretches of tarmac, with speed limits set at 60kmph! I recently encountered my favourite cop in Chichaou (he always asks the whereabouts of my children) and in anticipation of his usual demand to see papers etc, I handed him a box of dates (during Ramadan), after having recited to him the five pillars of Islam on my previous encounter with him to avoid any unnecessary and tedious paperwork. I think a few words of Arabic and a friendly smile go a long way! Sadly the next speed-check police, in a one-horse town about 30kms further on, did not seem to have any ‘joie de vivre’. So I took a big glug of water in front of then as they wrote out the ticket!

  4. Brian Geeson on

    That was beautiful looking melon. Did you eat it all. I’m a police officer and I’d never think of giving someone I’d stopped something like that. Be a great PR thingy

  5. Liz on

    This is what travelling is all about. There are far more kind-hearted and interesting people in the world than there are nasty, mean-spirited people.

  6. Steve on

    My wife and I worked in Ifrane for 2 years and I was regularly stopped for speeding on our trips to Meknes and Fes. Apart from on one occasion, grovelling shamelessly was usually enough to get me off.

  7. Richard Winter on

    This story reminded me of our Moroccan road trip. I had driven from Skoura to Zagora and back as far as Ouarzazate where I ran out of steam and my wife took over for the last leg back to Skoura. She got pulled over and the policeman tried in Arabic then in French which she doesn’t speak but I do. They tried heroically to communicate and I “conveniently” remained asleep until he waved her on and I got the giggles. She was SO cross.


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