I know some well-intentioned naysayers. They said I’d be hassled. They said I’d be snarled, or worse swore, at. They said I’d have to watch my wallet. This was not the Morocco I visited. In fact, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Of course, when you’re a foreigner in a strange land you’re a target for touts and storeowners in the tourist areas, but a smile and few quick words – mostly in rusty, grammatically incorrect French – was all that was needed to let them know I wasn’t interested.
And I’ll never forget strolling through the medina in Meknes. At some points, we were walking through crowds thicker than a Glastonbury mosh pit, but no-one was interested in us. I think we were more of a hindrance than anything else, getting in the way of people going about their daily business, buying up veggies, winter woolies and what-nots.
The last comment is the most ludicrous, particularly when contrasted against the copper who came knocking on the door of my central London flat a few weeks ago. Apparently there had been been several recent muggings in my area: women targeted for their gold.
In Fes, however, when I got too excited taking photos and left behind the dromedary leather bag I’d bought, a very nice man ran after me to give it back. I can’t sum my experience up any better than that.
All images © Kate McAuley