Thursday, November 10, 1998

The tour of Tangier turned out to be a bit cheaper than hydrofoil fare alone. I took the tour, which included a driving tour of the Ville Novelle (new city), the wealthy suburbs, and a bit of the surrounding countryside. At this point I was overwhelmed with the beauty of Morocco.

s067a.jpg The driving tour ended at the Kazbah, where we had mint tea in a really cool hole-in-the-wall restaurant. That's where the tipping began. In Morocco, you don't just tip, a plate is shoved toward your face until you put something in it. A tip for the waiter, a tip for the bathroom guy, a tip for the musicians, a tip for anybody who happens to cross your path. If they don't like how much you tip, some of them will hiss at you in Arabic. I was tipping what I thought was generous, but after a few hisses, I just said screw 'em, because I knew they would hiss anyway.

 

 

After tea, we walked through the Medina and encountered a group of people selling baubles and trinkets. This group would follow us and harass for the rest of the day. The guide led us into a carpet shop to watch a "demonstration," and we were all subjected to an hour of abusive sales pitches. Everyone bought something, I think, but no carpets. $5 to $40 items at best.

Lunch was excellent, and was included in the price of the tour. Chicken with semolina, cabbage, carrots, figs, shish-ka-bob, and bean soup. A belly dancer singled me out at lunch for a twirl. She was the only person that day who didn't hit me up for a tip, but I gave her one anyway.

 

The rest of the tour consisted of more "demonstrations" and constant harassment. I didn't feel that Morocco is at all dangerous. It's just hugely annoying. I was glad I made the day trip, though half a day would have been plenty.

 

I must give credit to the tour guide; he was truly a decent man and went out of his way to grant personal requests. The people of Tangier have a lot to learn about western ways, however, if they want us to spend our money there.

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Inside the Medina

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Street scene along the oceanfront of Tangier

Continue to day 11.

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