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Posts Tagged ‘Marrakech’

Why Men Say What They Say

In Africa, Morocco on September 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm

It was a quick trip all around but I’m glad I did it.  The last two days in Marrakech were spent walking through different parts of the city in the blazing sun.  As with all  hot cities however, you can always find at least one oasis of calm and cool, the Majorelle Gardens being such a place.  Walkways of tree bough arches, fountains, goldfish ponds, and natural breezes turned the day into a tropical paradise before heading back into the twisting streets of the old city in search of the Saadian Tombs.  A pleasant 30 minutes there and then off again in search of more excitement.

On my way back to the hostel from the tombs one of the shopkeepers coerced me into his shop.  Really, I tried to avoid this guy as long as possible, I had absolutely no interest in what he had to say or sell for that matter.  But he was so insistent I finally gave in as I thought I’d get a good story out of it, which of course I did.  Apparently he’d seen me the day before and knew he just had to talk to me.  “It may seem strange,” he said, “but when I saw you, I felt… I felt… it’s just so weird, but… I really thought I’d met you before.”  “Mm hmm,” I responded.  Please understand, I know beggars can’t be choosers, but these guys are just too much sometimes.  “So when you walked by just now, I knew it was meant to be.”  Big sigh, this is going to take awhile.  I entered his shop which thankfully had air-conditioning.  I looked at some of the dresses he had for sale and they were quite pretty.  He asked if he could get me some tea and then ran to the kitchen to prepare it.  When he came back he set down the tea tray, clasped his hands, and stared at me.  “I’m sorry,” he said, “but I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of your eyes.  They leave me speechless.”  I could tell this was going to take longer than initially thought so I put my sunglasses back on and asked him if that stopped the blindness.  He responded yes and thank you before sitting down and pouring me a glass.  “I feel I must give you a gift,” he went on, to which I responded, “Please no.  I have nothing, and I mean NOTHING to give you.”  “No, no, it’s a gift, it’s my shop, and I’ll give gifts to whom I like.  Please, choose a dress you like.”  Well now, this is the best offer to date…  so I went for a hot pink thing with silver glitter on it.  I pulled it over my head, fully clothed already of course, and noticed it was quite loose.  I asked him if there was a belt or something to pull it in and the cheeky devil smiled one of those wolf smiles at me before coming over and sticking his hands in through the sleeves to grab the ties behind my back.  Really?  15 minutes and you’re in my shirt?  Yes, yes, don’t be worried, I removed his hands and told him enough, besides, the ties were too short for my German frame.  I pulled the dress back up over my head, prepared to make a dash for the door, but he’d already beat me to it, grabbing the dress and running into the street to yell at a lady across the way with a sewing machine.  Within two minutes she tossed the dress back at him with newly stitched in ties that would now accommodate my oh-so-curvy figure.  But there would be no trying it on this time, I assured him it would be fine.  Then he had the nerve, THE NERVE, to tell me, and I kid you not, that he had seen me in a dream.  “You were wearing a white dress in a field, and I was on a horse.  I came and rescued you.”  !!!!!  WTF?  I swear I am not making this up.  I’d had enough and asked him why he would say such a cheesy thing, if we were back in Canada I’d have to drop him for such crap talk.  “Why?  Why?  Why? do you say this stuff?  What are you trying to get out of it?  North American men do not talk like this so why do you?”  To his credit he stepped back and thought for a moment before answering: “Maybe North American men are scared.”  Wow!  He was on to something.  Up until this point I’d thought most of the men I’d met on this side of the world were without standards or discernment, they’d hit on anything that moved and had breasts.  But wait, what if they are simply unafraid?  What if rejection to them means to just keep on trying?  For every 9 that say no, one might say yes, so isn’t that worth going for?  Poor Soufian, he’d finally said something that made sense and wasn’t offensive so I said farewell and ran out the door back to the hostel, but not before he told me I meant more to him than Shakira.  I was on a mission, I had to ask every guy that said something flattering to me from that point on why he said it, what he thought he’d get out of it.  I dumped my new dress (yes, I kept it, why not?) on my bed and headed back to the square for dinner and interrogation.  I ended up at a pop-up restaurant where the boys promised they’d get me a shwarma even though it wasn’t on their menu.  The head guy kept coming over for hugs and chit chat so of course I asked him what he got out of it besides a paying customer.  He said he likes saying nice things to nice people.  By the way, why was I alone?  Was I a lesbian?  Cuz he was ok with that, most single girls he meets are lesbians.  Big sigh again.  Then number two in command decided he’d pay me extra special attention as well and fortunately he had a pleasantly interesting story.  An only child whose father was out of the picture, he promised his mother he’d train at boxing and aim for the Olympics.  His goal is 2020, good luck I say.  He also talks to pretty girls because it makes him happy.  This was not going as I had a planned, no one was giving me what I thought was a truthful answer.  So even though Mouhsine asked me to stay, or at least come back at midnight so he could show me Marrakech by motorbike (and yes, I was extremely tempted by the bike part at least), I declined and made my way back to the hostel where young Ahmed was sitting outside enjoying some quiet away from the guests he was serving.  I sat down beside him for the last interview of the evening.  He attempted to teach me some Berber while I corrected his English, and then he asked me to please not go to bed because “I need you.”  Ding dong.  “Why do you say things like that, Ahmed,” I asked?  “Because I like to say nice things to nice people,” he responded.  I asked, “Would you say mean things to ugly people?”  “No!!!  That would not be nice,” he exclaimed.  Hmm, let’s test this out.  “How old do you think I am, Ahmed?”  “Maybe 25, 26?” he responded.  Ah, perhaps I should have stayed out there all evening, then again, he was smoking a joint which has been known to alter reality.

At any rate, that was my last night in Morocco and I can say with all confidence I enjoyed it immensely.  Thank you to all the young men who made sense of North American men for me, who gave me a lot to laugh at, and who in the end, really did show me a lovely time in their romantic city.  You are all truly charming.

At long last…

In Africa, Morocco on September 1, 2013 at 11:23 am

Lantern shop at night in the Djema el-Fna, Marrakech

Lantern shop at night in the Djema el-Fna, Marrakech

Odd to think this is my first time in Africa, it feels like I’ve been before but that’s not the case. Whether it was in a past life, my dreams, or because I’ve lived in the Middle East it’s all very familiar. Fortunately there are still new things to see and experience.

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