Morocco (2016)


We quickly empty the Marrakech market using some stone-cold Berber negotiation tactics and return home after a more than successful holiday.

We had the last sunday in Marrakech off to do what we wanted to do. We decided to head once more into the souk to buy souvenirs. By now, we had a pretty decent idea of what we wanted to take home and we were no longer hapless tourists: now, we were experienced Morocco-travellers who had seen the first rain in seven months. Were the salesmen annoying and pushy just over a week ago, now they did not bother us in the least. Were we way too kind and gentle in price negotations before, we were now tough as nails.

The best tactic turned out to be to simply make an offer, raise it ever so slightly with the most difficulty and pained look, and then to just walk off if that price was not matched—this pretty much always prompted a steep drop in prices and had several salesmen call me a Berber, which I took as a compliment. After our shopping spree ended (I estimated that about three blocks of the souk and five darbs were to be closed down due to lack of inventory), we returned to the hotel for the last common journey: to the airport, and to Amsterdam.


We have had an amazing week, in no small matter due to the lectures and preparations by Geert. Even in the airplane back home, we continually expected to hear his voice over the intercom, to start off with “What is also quite interesting…” and to end in “…we shall see.” But the group itself too was full of quite lovely people, and we enjoyed the company very much (even though we discovered on pretty much the last day that there actually was no one named Hans, that Peter was someone else than we thought the entire time, and we only managed to match everyone’s name to their face barely in time).

Of course Morocco itself was spectacular too, with so many different peoples, regions and fantastic hospitality. Deserts turned out not to be deserts, oases were not oases, and rivers were not rivers—Morocco did not cease to amaze. If you ever find yourself near Agdz (your satellite navigation did tell you to “turn left” at Manchester, but you did not listen), go have dinner at the Casbah Caid Ali and spend the night: you will be absolutely enchanted. Besides, how can you not love a country where you can end your story with “Special thanks to Mohamed”, with which you have thanked just about everyone you have encountered? We are fans.

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