Morocco is an interesting country and if you get THE chance to go, i'm sure you will come back with some funny and UNBELIEVABLE stories. Here are just few that the tipsy gypsieS experienced.
While walking in Fez with my husband, a little boy who must have been no older that 5 years old, was running behind me demanding that I give him and his friends a bag of fresh figs I just bought. I mean, I wasn't surprised because those figs are freaking delicious! He sure was adorable. Do you know Puss in Boots from Shrek? The boy had those big cute eyes and a cute grin on his face. He was calling me "hermosa, hermosa" (pretty in Spanish) all the time. How could I have said no? So I gave him some figs because he was adorable and I also wanted to get rid of him. After receiving his share of fruits didn't stop. He kept following me and after I turned around angrily said, "enough, no more!" He slapped me on my butt! Yep, that is right ladies and gentleman, a 5 yer old slapped my butt.
This also happened in Fez. We asked our friendly Riad host/manager (a man), if we could do some laundry. Lets call him Mr. Fox. So Mr. Fox was very cool about it and he said that the house keepers would have not problem doing our laundry. Ok, great!! The next day, we had nothing to wear so we went to ask for our clothes. The same friendly manager didn't know where the laundry was exactly, but pointed out a small room. The Tipsy Gypsies plus the manager all went into the room. There were a few piles of clothes all laying in different corners on the floor. I spotted something that looked like it could have been my pair of jeans, but of course, Mr. Fox was there before me. He proceeded to pick up every single piece of my laundry, including my intimates. Every time he picked up a lace-thong, he lifted it up, stretching it, and asked politely, with an accent and a big smile, "is this yours?" Seven times I said "yes". Seven times because that is the number of underwear I have. He said "ok" and handed me each thong separately. Luckily I only have seven, otherwise it would have been a long game.
I mentioned before that women in Morocco are wonderful and so are the men. We met many wonderful guys on this trip and one of them was Khalid. Khalid became our best friend in Morocco simply because he is a generous kind man.
The Tipsy Gypsies went to a restaurant in Marrakesh called La Salama one day for lunch. I had a bad ear infection from a recent piercing and Khalid who is the manager at that restaurant, came to our table just doing his job as a manager, asking about our meal and day. We said everything was great (the food is amazing at LA Salama). Khalid looked at me and he could tell something was wrong. I was in fact in pain from my ear infection. Khalid told us that he would take us to the pharmacy to help me get some medicine. Of course, at first we thought, "omg, he probably wants some money" (btw we didn't mind paying him for helping us). After the visit to the pharmacy, we offered to tip him. Khalid refused saying that he simply want to help and he hoped I got better. Ok, I get it, so simple, but trust me that after you have been haggling and refusing any help from strangers on the street because you think they all want it money, it felt nice. My ear healed fast and our friendship with Khalid grew even faster. He is a wonderful man and a friend! We hop to see him again.
Falling down on a busy street in the medina in Marrakech is no fun.
When this Tipsy Gypsy Girl falls down, there is no grace and it is very dramatic. Especially when she's carrying a 25kg backpack. Let me tell you, I have never seen so many men rushed to my rescue. They brought water to wash my scratched legs, some suggested to pop my back (hell no!!) and some wanted to take me to a shaman woman's massage place. We politely declined all the wise offers many times. We also paid an old friendly man for his generosity in the form of the highest know currency in the world: Polish vodka (we had a bottle from duty free on our way in). After that, we were free to go. That day the Tipsy Gypsies learned about the secret local moonshine that men in Morocco drink (stay tuned for out drink blog on Morocco). Shhh, yes, muslims do drink!
This one is a bit hard to tell. I wasn't sure how to write this or if I even should write this at all. But I want other women travelers to be aware of some more "tricky" situations and interactions with some men.
We hired a private taxi driver and a friend of a friend to be our private tour guide. We had a wonderful time till the first small incident and I take partial blame for it.
I don't remember the exact moment when I jokingly said to our guide, that I hated him. I am a very sarcastic person and sometimes I forget that not everybody gets it. Things can be lost in translation and this was a perfect example of it.
After an hour of explanations what sarcasm means and many tear of frustration, we got over it and we were best friends again.. or were we?
On our second to last day of this tour, we stayed at a campsite at the base of a waterfall. It was spectacular. It was a hot day and we decided to eat some food, drink some cold beers we had bought at a store, and hang around the campsite.
It got late and my husband dozed off next to me in a communal lounge with beds. Some local douche came to hang out with us. Since beer is rare and expensive in Morocco, I am sure that was one of the reasons he wanted to hang out. He asked for some of my beer. "Sure pal, you can have as much as you want" I replied. Those who know me, I will always share my last beer with you. That is the kind of a gal I am. He had some of my beer but he was holding it for a while under the table, which I thought was strange. I didn't want the beer back from him because I thought that maybe he could have "slipped" something into my drink. You never know. I also didn't know him and for sanitary reasons I didn't want to drink after him. You are probably thinking, why I am explaining all of this? It is all relevant.
Our guide and the other douche started talking in the local Berber language. I got bored because I didn't understand a word and fell asleep next to my husband. At some point our guide woke us up and we all went to our campsite beds. Once we got there, shit got crazy. Our guide accused me of apparently wanting to have sex with the douche! When asked how this was possible, since he was there and I didn't say anything or imply anything, he responded that he believed the douche and implied the reason I am a whore is (he didn't use this actual word but it felt like it):
A) the douche speaks the local language (Berber) and he was very serious and convincing. The local language is more believable. So basically, just because I speak english and I am a woman I cannot be trusted. WTF!!
B) I offered the other guy half of my beer, which apparently was interpreted as an invitation to sex.WTF!!! WTF!! WTF!!!
At that point I lost my cool. The whole camp woke up from screaming and yelling. The owner of the camp told us that this can happen sometimes. They kicked our guide out and escorted him to the top of the rim.
This whole situation was so crazy I still am trying to piece it together.
The next morning was SO AKWARD. The guide and our taxi driver were paid to drive us many hour to our bus stop. Our guide tried to apologize. He said that he didn't mean what he said, that his english was bad, and that he was only angry with the other guy because he said some bad things about me.
I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I really want to believe him, but the night before his english was perfect.
The moral of the story. Don't assume that you know somebody after spending a few days with them. Be careful who you drink with because not everybody knows how to handle alcohol. Some people have dark thoughts and when they drink they say things they regret. I have never been more disappointed in somebody that clearly had gained my trust. I have never been so insulted by somebody that I considered a new friend. I hope there will be a day in the future that I will forgive him. Inshallah!!