As I mentioned in the last email, now I have the distance and perspective (not to mention the loss of our luggage for 2 days between Casablanca and Madrid) to write about Morocco. Despite the fascinating history and sites, the funny camels, our nice tour guide/cab driver, I’m done with Morocco. I think it was the constant reminders that I’m a big, “rich” American infidel, not to mention a woman who clearly doesn’t know her place. Here’s one example: despite the fact that I felt the Souks (bazaar) was a scary place at night with cars and motorcycles driving through huge, compacted crowds and almost psychotically aggressive vendors (in a place of extreme poverty and wretchedness), I agreed to go back the next day in search of bargains. If we hadn’t gotten lost in the winding streets and then been led out (the long way, I’m sure) by a teenager who kept shaking us down for more money, it would’ve been an overall, pleasant experience. We went during the day–less crazy and fewer people running into me (these people were, by the way, all men and all managed to knock into my breasts before leering at me and apologizing–charmingly–in French). Back to the actual example…
After bargaining (not very well, I’m sure) I purchased a couple of supposedly handmade pashminas from a semi-sleazy vendor, probably in his 30’s. He offered to give Mike the pashminas in exchange for me. Pretty sure he was thinking, “I’ll make her my 6th wife, the one exclusively for beating.” I could be extrapolating here…. Later he offered Mike 15 camels for his daughter Kelly so maybe he just wanted to have a full American experience.
On the day we left, we talked to a couple from England who were traveling with a tour group. When they heard we were traveling alone, the man said, “Oh, brave.” Maybe that’s British for stupid. The only other person we spoke to was from Mass.; she’s Moroccan by birth but has lived in the U.S. for 14 years. She was very nice, had 2 little girls who were darling and spoke perfect English (French and Moroccan also). Other than that, everyone was French and apparently still pissed off that Americans rebuilt their country after WW II. The good thing was that my high school French proved useful and more and more of it came back to me as we talked to people. I can now ask how much in French and Moroccan; the resulting “rip off” doesn’t change, though. We fully expect to be overcharged on the way to the airport tomorrow and I could write an article on being overcharged by cabbies in Porto, Sevilla, Granada, Marrakesh, and (no doubt) Madrid.
This is likely the last you’ll hear from me until we meet in person although I may send a few more pictures. Hopefully by then I will have dropped the speech pattern that is the result of attempting to speak simply in 3 languages other than English. Or as I like to say (in Portuguese, Spanish, and French): I will later have wine today.