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Old 07-13-2012, 04:46 AM   #1
GtW OP
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Biker's Home in Ouarzazate, Morocco

This is a word of caution regarding 'Biker's Home' in Ouarzazate, Morocco. It's full of details. The end point is that he used his position there to steal a substantial amount of money from me, assaulted me, and threatened my life – I hope this was a misunderstanding handled badly, but in case it was not, it is necessary to put this out there. By this, I mean the letter that I wrote after the incident as it summarizes the events and was close to the incident. The next few paragraphs are supplementary explanations or details. You might want to skip to the letter first and will have to go back and forth to some degree either way.

What follows is an account (an email written at the time, edited more recently for clarity) I would have done this for 2010 but I was stuck working in a city (travelling is expensive!) for over a year and am not particularly coherent when I'm around pollution so I thought it best to wait until I'm clear-headed. All the 'drama' occurred on Feb 29, 2010. Although this was the most difficult time I had in over two years of travelling in North and Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Morocco, I had a fascinating time in Morocco and value the experience greatly.

I don't hold any ill will towards Peter (Biker's Home proprietor as well as the one making the threats and assault - http://www.bikershome.net/) but I do feel that information like this has to be put out there to make travelling safer for those who follow after. Having said that I don't think he's very stable, and I still get creeped out when his voice sounds in the back of my skull “you thought this was free, but it was not” as that phrase was the start of this downward spiral. I hold no ill will towards Nigel either though I do not appreciate being lied to or about. Nigel had a blog but it has apparently been taken offline. It had his self-serving version of parts of what happened.

A note on my body's difficulty with chemicals and why I was feeling so ill and incoherent by the end of my stay at bikers home: Peter's storage and work area for his bikes, bike parts, and truck parts was a room in the ground floor of the house. The houses in Morocco (including the Biker's Home building) are made of a porous material. Peter lubricated the bike chains, and used other hazardous chemicals in the area as well as left bottles of oil, lubricants, and other machine related fluids in open containers on the shelves. Whenever I went to the second or bottom floor I would feel ill, no doubt from the fumes from the garage leaching through the building.

The major bone of contention between peter and I was 150 euros that Peter said I owed him for 10 hours of Nigel's time. Let me make it perfectly clear that I did NOT agree to pay Nigel for the time he spent with me. I do not pay people to work on my bike unless I am in a real bind as I want to do it myself and if I don't get it right the first time I will try again until I do. My bike will go home in a box as nuts, bolts, and parts before I get someone else to do the work for me. Nigel offered to teach me at no charge, and that is what I accepted. To be taught. As (what should have been) a kind offer from one motorcyclist to another. It turned out that Nigel doesn't teach unless you can learn from him doing the work full tilt with no explanation. Which I can't, so I gained next to nothing from the experience but it looked fairly simple and I look forward to rebuilding the carbs myself when I get the time.

I won't be on advrider often, but if you have any questions leave me a message and I will try to get back to you. The motorcycle travelling segment in my life is over for the moment. The bike is in long term storage as I haven't had the time (unfortunately) but do plan to saddle up again sooner or later!

Other than Nigel, Peter, and Myself, the names have been changed, a couple of corrections and some clarifications made but other than that, it's the original after I'd gotten over the worst of that flu.

Finally, the letter:


Hi L,

I hope your trip is going well.

I wanted to convey a word of warning about Peter. He overcharged me over 200€ for starters. I was feeling severely ill several hours after you left (I'm very chemically sensitive and I think it was a combination of burning garbage, vehicle exhaust, fumes from the workshop there, and who knows what else. Cities are difficult for me) and had to get out of the city. I packed up and headed out, asking Nigel to give 1800 MDH (dirhams) to Peter as this was the remainder of what I owed peter on top of the 3,640 MDH that I had already paid. This was not including some*ridiculous*charges we had talked about before but not come to any conclusion about. *Namely, that after Nigel had done some work on my bike and showed me a few things Peter announced, out of the blue, that I owed him 15€/hour (ten hours total) for the time Nigel had spent with me. *Nigel, a few hours into working with me, said that Peter thought he should charge me, but that of course he wasn't going to. I told Nigel to tell them that I was feeling very sick and was going for a ride and would possibly camp out in the mountains and would return the next day in that case and say goodbye to Zineb and Peter then. About twenty minutes after setting out, Peter almost crashes into me on his motorcycle, so I slam on the brakes and pull over to the side of the road. He gets off and starts screaming 'give me my money! I want my money!' and hitting my helmet with his hand or fist, I couldn't see which as it was at the side of my head. He then threatens to kill me, 'here in the desert where no one will find you' and demands my passport. My mind is barely working at this point, as has been the case for the past few hours. I open my tank bag, pull out my camera, computer, and passport. He takes all three and we head back to Ouarzazate. I stop part way to try to reason with him but he starts yelling at me again and threatening me, so I continue into town. When I pass the bank machine, he pulls up beside me to ask where I'm going. I say 'the police station.' We get there, and the official is very concerned that Peter has my passport. Peter says that I gave it to him (he snatched it when I pulled it out and I only showed it to him under threat of death) and the official takes it. I try to explain in my broken French and in English but I don't think the police officer understood me in either attempt.


I hope you won't have any issues, but a word to the wise nonetheless. In a nutshell, peter is a thief and a psychopath.

All my best,

Michael
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