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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Likely Story

Excuse me, pardon me. Do you speak French. Or maybe German. Or Spanish. You English? Please let me show you special exhibition. Today only. I take you there. No problem.

The touts in Tetouan, Morocco, are relentless, especially since we seem to be the only tourists in this town. They say the want to practice their English, but they really want to take us to a carpet shop, so they can get a commission on whatever we buy.

Yesterday, we arrived with packs on our backs and we stuck out like a sore thumb. Our first priority was to find lodging, but the touts were trying to lead us elsewhere.

Now, after 24 hours, we can not only spot them coming, but we've managed to avoid them rather successfully. First sign that he's a tout, he seeks you out and speaks English very well. The second sign: he is missing teeth. He likes to tell you lies; anything to get you to follow him.

What business do you do? I'm a photographer. Oh, he says, come take picture of my home. Uh, no. No really, please come. I live just here.

Okay, I have to admit I was curious to see if he was for real. And of course he led us directly to a rug store. He said he was the owner, named Hassan, but there was no way.

He really pulled the rug over our eyes.

However, we started talking to a man in the store, who was likely the owner, and he seemed to know a lot about Ohio, including the area codes. And he said he'd been to Put-in-Bay. Interesting.

Anyway, we've wandered the souks of the medina, just enjoying the day-to-day activities. We'ved stopped at coffee shops and patisseries.

And soon we'll be going to Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the African coast and returning to mainland Europe. The excursion to Morocco was respite from the Euro, and it paid off. We slept (or not, depending on whom you ask) for only $15, compared to nearly $50 anywhere in Spain.

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