Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Marakech, Morrocco

I am now in Marakech this is my 4th day here in Morrocco. I have been to Tetouan and to Chefchouan, they are smaller cities near to the big Port city of Tangiers. Morrocco is unlike any other place my travels have taken me. It is a real culture shock. The way the people dress is fantastic!!! There can be no doubt that I am in a North African, Arab country. The men wear these long hooded robes over their garments. They look like O.B.Juan Kanobee from Starwars This is the normal outfit. Some men wear western garb but most are dressed in traditional arab dress. the women needless to say about 85% are wearing headscarfs and about 25 percent of these are wearing a complete coverup kind of thing.Skin is a no-no here. Alcohol is absent also You dont see any.It is very few people who speak english quite a few speak french and some speak spanish. I am getting along alright with my spanish and a little english. I have twice been advised not to tell anyone that I am an American. This is the second country where anyone ever told me to lie about my nationality. The other time was on Gilli Trawanga in Indonesia. I guess a lot of the young bucks are all fired up about the USA foreign policy. They dont like our support for Israel and they are against our fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most people understand that the USA government doesnt represent the American people and has not for the last 60 or 70 years. But there are a few hot heads who dont quite get it. So I have been telling people I am from New Zealand since I bought that nice all blacks hat in Olamaru with the silver fern and the Words New Zealand written on it (I can just see Anna Mathieson grimacing as she reads this). Anyway its a great hat made of possom and wool...The most annoying thing about this place is the preponderance of touts and hustlers. After a month in Turkey I got used to people being friendly and nice and not wanting money from you all the time. So far all the Morracan people (males anyway) that have said hi to me wanted money. They follow you around and offer to show you how to get to your hotel. Then they ask for money for being your guide. I had two of them accost me in Chefchouan. They walked me to the hotel and then demanded 100 euros!!!! I told them off in no uncertain terms in English and spanish Where they were at. I am spending about 15 euros per day on food and lodging!!! They wanted enough money for me to live on for a week! I wound up giving them, 5 DH each 12 DH equals one euro. The guy who put my bag in the bus wanted 10DH. Everyone wants money. They are quite aggressive about it too. Here is an example.When I got to Tetouan a dude called Abdul Nazif carries my bag up 3 flights of stairs and gives me a 3 hour tour of the town and the old medina or market place.The tour was fantastic. He took me to the stalls where the people make shoes and clothing and weave cloth from wool and the place they tan leather and to a cool restaurant and to a nice tea house where only Morrocan men go.(as we entered this is where he told me if anyone asks tell them you are from Mexico) so we sit down and have some of the excellent mint tea that everyone here drink all the time and in about 30 seconds someone hands me a kif pipe. In Morrocco all the men smoke this stuff called kif. It is about 90% very potent marijuana and 10% tobacco. it is smoked in a tiny pipe with a stem that is about half a meter long(18 inches) It is what is known in USA as one hit shit!!! I took two puffs and declined anymore.So the next day at the bus depot this other guy comes up to me real friendly like and tells me I should take the blue taxi to Chefchouan instead of the bus. He says he saw me with Abdul Nazif and he is a friend of his. He is only telling me for my own good. Because he says the carpet salesman Abdul took me too is furious because I didnt buy any carpets and he will rat me out to the police that I got hashish from Abdul (which I did not) so I know the guy is a bull shit rat because I didnt get any drugs. He tells me Even if I did not get any the carpet dealer probably will have the baggage handler plant dope in my bag and tell the cops.If I take a blue taxi (special long distance taxi)no one will touch my bags but me. How much is a blue taxi? I ask. Well, it turns out his friend has one and will take me to Chefchouan for 80 euros. About 900 DH. Bus ticket is 17 dh. I ask him if he thinks all foreigners are stupid or is it just me? What? he says.So I tell him to go away in English and Spanish. He says okay but you'll be sorry...Yeah right.This is the kind of thing I mean. This would never happen in Turkey. Marakesh is great. I have starteds to adjust to Morrocco it is a little wierd. No eye contact or they want to sell you something. The touts (street salesman) are so aggressive that you must not shake their hand (they wont let go) or even answer them. They follow you down the street until you tell them 2 or 3 times to leave you alone. Very aggressive. I will take in the sights of Marakesh tomorrow. Then I think I will join up with a group and take a 2 or 3 day trip into the Sahara on Camels and in Jeeps and camp out and see an oasis with a waterfall.Every night near the main square in Marakesh, 100 meters from my hotel, there occurs at dusk one of the worlds great spectacles (according to the lonely planet guide) The square completely fills up with all these yummy food stalls and jugglers acrobats snake charmers dancers husslers of every kind some playing the old 3 card monty or the arab rope trick and some hussles I have never before seen, you name it. Totally wild and crazy. Great sights sounds smells and flavors. I had the goats head soup (seriously). It was quite good. I have also had cous cous and some wonderful red lentil soup for breakfast one day. Here in Morrocco they dont give you silver ware. You eat with your hands and with a piece of bread. Did I say hands, I meant hand. It is impolite to eat with your left hand.Besides them not giving you silverware they also dont give you toilet paper they give you a little bucket of water and you wipe your bottom with the water using your left hand. So... no one eats with their left hand or points or hands you anything You use your right hand for anything social.Your left for wiping your butt.I spent 3 days in Madrid before coming here. I loved it. After Morrocco I will return to Spain, and for a couple of days before I leave to Madrid . I will write again soon.

Its all good over here.



Blogger Walter said...

Thank you, Robert for this interesting blog.
I agree that Morocco is unlike than other countries. I love to travel and I have been to many countries, but most of all I was impressed by Morocco's beauty! And now I understand why so many people investing in Tetouan property. This city is amazing, it has so many interesting sides. Tetouan (also known as Tetuan) is the capital of the region and the centre of its culture. It is a picturesque city, with one of the oldest old towns in Morocco!
Also I liked Casablanca. It is a modern city with good infrastructure!

7:34 AM  

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