Two days into my trip to Morocco and I was already telling a friend that I had made a mistake and wanted to be home sooner than planned. But since I had not yet been to Marrakesh, I decided that I was being a baby and to just get on with it. I could not believe the amount of trash everywhere, the lack of bins (and those were mostly empty), and the mentality that accepted that as a way to live. And I am no neat-freak, although I do hate litter. And the flies around the food . . .
However, two days into Marrakesh and I tried to buy a flight back home to Italy. Ryan Air would neither let me change my existing flight, nor would they accept either of my credit cards for buying a brand new ticket. [Other airlines were far more expensive for a last-minute flight.] Of course, despite my frustration, it was not all bad, and I show you some images here. I explored some of the more out-of-the-way places in Fez and Marrakesh, constantly looking for the light and interesting shapes.
While I had been warned about the come-ons, I did not really understand that practically every conversation with a local was expected to be paid for with either money or sex. It was not flattering; it was annoying. And I was really unhappy waking up on the bus from Essaouira because the guy next to me had stretched his leg out into my space alongside my leg. He pretended to be asleep, but in fact, was fondling the underside of my knee with one hand while his other worked on my lower hip! I wanted to punch him, but I had been told that this is a country in which it was legal to rape a woman (but illegal to try to remove her veil, for that would be disrespectful) and was afraid that I would instead be blamed for having an enticing leg. I am only slightly joking here.
Ex-pat locals, as well as some hostel staff told me that I should just ignore everyone. But that is not often why I travel! Most of the time I just smiled to people (even as I was shaking my head “no”) and I was happy that many responded in a lovely way. Even the rejected hustlers would sometimes shout after me, “Thanks for that smile, Italia!” [That nickname was because I preferred to speak Italian when I did choose to speak. Oddly, the word seemed to spread as people I had not seen before addressed me as “Italia” on first greeting.] Most of the women seemed shy but happy to receive a greeting from me. A smile really is great international currency.
More images are posted on Facebook:
- Fez. Morocco (plus another Gymnast marble carving, sort of similar to My Gymnast marble sculpture . . . what are the odds!)
- Marrakesh, Morocco
- Essaouira, Morocco and the end of my trip