It was Morocco, 2006(ish), and the trip was in full schedule mode; A trip to the southern coast of Spain and all its side trips were added to the agenda. How could I possibly pass up a quick day trip over to Morocco when you can practically see the coast of Africa from where we would be staying! Warnings from family and close friends not to take the side trip, along with the U.S. government travel website, were not heeded as who knows when I would ever have the opportunity (and bragging rights) to visit in the future!
Decision made, and with my Goose (daughter) in tow… off we go. We joined a bus group to take us to the port in Spain to catch the high speed ferry to Tangier. While filling out the typical paperwork for customs, one young lady, thinking she is the Don Rickles of her generation, says loudly enough for all to hear, “occupation… let’s put terrorist” – (white trash family laughter, nonfamily members-crickets) yes that is hysterical. Please do not quit your day job and shut your trap you are going to get us all killed, moron.
Disembarking from the bus and running away from the Chuckle Hut as quickly as possible to disassociate ourselves, we board the high speed ferry to whisk us away to a new adventure. Goose hears a man saying he wants to get his passport stamped – a great reminder of travels past! Wrapped up in the thought of visiting Morocco (and yes, a bit naïve) we jump on board that suggestion – “would you mind doing ours too?!” (as we blindly handed over our passports to a complete stranger for a .25 rubber ink stamp and about to enter a country we were told to stay out of…not one of my finer moments.) Thankfully, he was as upstanding as we had hoped and returned with an armful of passports all stamped (yes!).
First stop, camel ride on the beach. Although we did not take advantage of this (because Goose made the excellent call not to smell like camel for the rest of the day) we did get some really cool pics. We were told that the camels are treated very well because they have excellent memories and will not cooperate with a heavy-handed owner (animal cruelty is always a concern of mine).
Our guide was amazing and walked us through all the back alleys of the Kasbah filling our minds with so much history, culture, and levels of knowledge it is difficult to remember all the details. There were snake charmers, sellers of spices, local fruits and flowers, and the like, all tugging at our sleeves and bags to get us to stop and buy their wares. Luckily, Goose came to the rescue and spoke to them in French (their second language) letting them know we were not interested but thank you very much anyway. They seemed to welcome abiding by our wishes in their own language much better than others as the American speaking visitors were still being followed and taunted.
Last stop before the bus departed was the carpet store. Traditional locally-handmade Berber rugs filled the room in all sizes, shapes, designs, and colors you would probably not see elsewhere in the world. After the host gave us the history of the Berber rugs, Goose and I were taken aside, and felt a little uncomfortable as we were being corralled to an area surrounded by rugs to the ceiling and no other workers or visitors in sight. (I thought we would never come back from that one-maybe the warnings were right!) But with a little bit of haggling, we seemed to get an affordable price and off we were to get back on the bus.
Of course no story ends that simply when Goose and I travel. In exchange for my beloved Life is Good® baseball cap I was offered several different kinds of jewelry, to which I said no every time. However, the winner of that much treasured hat was the most persistent and leaned in through the door with one last plea just before it closed. I tossed it in his direction and waved good bye. He held it up as if it was a crown and placed it on his head – the new King of the Kasbah.
In response to the Daily Post Question: Use It or Lose It – Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence:
“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”
(crown photo: animal-kid.com)