We'd been squeezed into the taxi for half an hour, four in the back, two up front with the driver, when we reached Sefrou. My legs ached. It was hot. The mountains seemed much smaller closer-up.
Through the Bab el-Maqam we crossed the dried-out stream and started through the sleepy streets of the Medina. The guide saw us the moment we turned the corner. In the narrow alley all he had to do was wait: there was no escape except for the exit.
"I have wife and children. My only capital is my voice and my feet. Up here, panoramic view," he said, mixing English and French. The flat roof was full of washing; a dog sat in one corner, tied to the chimney. Across the alley a woman was squeezing soap out of a t-shirt in the shade of a satellite dish.
"Over here many Jews. Before, not now. Come, I show you. Where you from? Newcastle? Me, I like Liverpool."
We walked around for twenty minutes. There was a carpenters' craftshop, a hole in the wall mending shoes, abandoned Jewish buildings with Stars of David adorning the walls. People were friendlier than in Fes, and immeasurably more laid-back. We stopped to watch a game of football; a woman dodged out of a doorway and fixed a strand of thread to my camera bag. "Souvenir of Sefrou, " she said. I waited for the outstretched hand but it never came. The guide shook his head, forlornly, "Nowadays, no tourists."
Sometimes that's a good thing.