Marrakech at night.
So it was I joined an Exodus group in Marrakech before it headed for the mountains. I knew that someone within their number was on their way to collect the secret, and I had to find out who it was before it was too late.
The first night was spent in the main square of the old town amongst the fortunate tellers, snake-charmers, henna artists and food sellers. I threaded my way through the intoxicating sights and smells in the company of four others.
Ijaz was travelling with his sons Omar and Hasan to celebrate his 60th birthday. Or at least that was their line. Of course I would have to suspect all members of the party. Could they be working for Pakistan, the country of Ijazís birth? More likely, I thought, was that they had contacts in North Waziristan and were in the pay of an Afghan drug baron. After all, itís often said around the Tora Bora caves that Argan oil was the only commodity that can command a bigger mark-up than opium. Or was it Ijazís professional contacts in the oil industry that were sponsoring their visit? The cost of a barrel of Argan oil dwarfs that of Brent Crude.
With local contact Mark.
Also with us was Rachel. She wasnít giving much away, but her uncanny sense of direction in the layers of souks told me she had spend more time in Marrakech than she was admitting to.
After concocting a tall story about a chance meeting with a friend on the plane, I left them eating a tasty street stall meal of kebabs to touch base with my local contacts.