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Sahara

Day 4: Tangier to Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen, Morocco 
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Trio of fine buildings in the Plaza Uta El Hammam, Chefchaouen: (left to right) casbah, medersa (Koranic school) and mosque.
Michael Palin - SaharaAt this point Jonathan notices my empty glass and shouts towards the kitchen.

'Mr Lassan!'

Mr Lassan, the third member of this ménage, is Jonathan's manservant and a compulsive kleptomaniac.

'I had a remote control bell for Mr Lassan, but he sold it when I was in Marrakesh.'

Mr Lassan turns out to be a middle-aged Moroccan with a curious lopsided leer, which Jonathan puts down to the fact that he has a new set of teeth.

'He can't stop smiling because they won't close.'

Apparently, Mr Lassan keeps losing his teeth. He says they go missing when he takes them out in the hammam, the public baths, but Jonathan suspects him of selling them. 'I mean what sort of man takes his teeth out at the hammam?'

Mr Lassan tops up our glasses, turns on his heel and leaves with a slow, insolent swagger. Jonathan looks after his retreating figure and sighs heavily.

'He's a terrible tosser, but I'm afraid I'm fond of him.'

He pauses and breaks into a smile.

'He's like Tangier. He's an addiction.'

Heading south and east out of the city, on the road to Tétouan, my guidebook notes what could be a good omen for the journey. Outside the football stadium we shall pass the only memorial to the great traveller, Ibn Battuta, which stands on a plinth beside it. The plinth is there but unfortunately the statue is gone. Our driver thinks it was stolen some time ago.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 4
  • Country/sea: Morocco
  • Place: Tangier
  • Book page no: 24

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