I’ll begin with a confession, I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco.
When a random Italian guy I met, who I later learned was a filthy pussy hound, showed me the pictures he took of Chefchaouen in Morocco, during our two week boat excursion up the Amazon, I knew one day, I would have to go.
For those of you without Instagram, Chefchaouen is known as the Blue City.
In his pictures the Italian lothario was walking amongst stalks of fully grown marijuana plants.
As the beautiful blue village of Chefchaouen radiated in the distant background.
Plants that he said, “Grew free.”
They didn’t belong to anyone. They weren’t being guarded or patrolled.
Just weeds in the desert.
No DEA, RCMP or pharmaceutical conglomerates flame throwing the country side, like demonic steampunk pyromaniacs.
No guy named Brian skulking around asking if you’re a cop.
No, Private Property, No Trespassing or This Area Is Being Monitored By Video Surveillance, signs in any of his pictures.
Aside from dancing in a field of marijuana, like a hairy Julie Andrews
I wanted to buy a rug in Morocco.
Something with meaning.
Something I can lay on, in any particular moment in my life and feel immediately transported to a far away experience.
A magic carpet, if you will.
In my Moroccan fantasy, the one I patched together while laying in my hammock on the Amazon.
I wasn’t battling two rather serious parasitic infections simultaneously.
At the end of a nine month test through seventeen African countries.
I was this guy.
Eating beef stews.
Watching my friend, the greasy Italian seduce single moms.
All the while, determined to try Ayahuasca in the magical village of Iquitos, in Peru.
But, that’s another story, for another time.
I arrived in Marrakesh from Guerguerat, the frontier of Mauritania and Morocco, at night.
It was a long haul.
Once in Marrakesh, my instincts took over.
Wanna play a game?
You have to get out of the bus park, before the taxi drivers see you, Tick Tock, Bobby.
Luckily, a woman who was on the bus and lives in Morocco, asked me if I wanted to share a taxi with her.
“It’s cheaper for us”, she announced.
“Sweet Jesus help me”, I said.
All I can really say of Sylvia, after spending four days in her company, is that being around her made me feel, feeble.
A lazy feeble bitch, actually.
This woman shook the universe with determination.
It was a real pleasure to meet her.
A few days later, as I walked her to the start point of the half marathon she was running, barefoot.
Dressed up like a dog, hoping to bring awareness to the stray dog issue in Morocco.
Meanwhile, all I could think of was going back to sleep.
Feeble Bobby was tired.
But on my way home I saw my friend.
A boy who sells tissues on the busy sidewalk near my hotel.
His tissues were stacked in front of him, in an honest attempt to appear reputable.
I asked if I could sit on his little plastic stool.
My bare legs grasshoppering out on either side of me.
I learned the price for the tissues, 3dh for one package, 5dh for two.
Then I went to work, cat calling and hustling tourists.
Moroccan tourists too.
Until I sold the rest for him.
It took an hour.
After several photos with my customers, a young man who seemed genuinely concerned about my status, inconspicuously gave me a handful of change.
Lots of Dirham.
A great many Dirham.
A days work for sure.
He said it was from his family, who were all watching me from the patio of a nearby restaurant.
I felt bad because these people were on vacation, I presumed they didn’t have a lot of money.
And they gave me so much.
I’m helping my friend, I said.
“It’s ok, it’s ok” he hushed me.
Making me feel like the same old story bum looking for a dime to buy a bottle of Fireball and a cheap smoke.
But whatever yo.
When I gave the boy the change from the family, he lit up like it was Christmas morning.
He hugged me, then kissed my cheek.
I gave the kid maybe 7 dollars.
I almost started crying right there, in front of my happy and loyal customers.
I choose to be a beggar.
I like saying hello to everyone who passes me.
Cat call, cold calling strangers.
It’s my element.
But it was a choice.
A choice the boy, and many like him, don’t have.
let’s just say it was a bitter sweet day at the office for me.
The word Madina means city, in Arabic.
This term refers to the old city, often surrounded by 20 foot walls, where the souks (Markets) and the cities original housing is located.
In Marrakesh the same Madina has been standing there since the 11th century.
Every city in Morocco has a Madina.
I stayed in Marrakech’s grand Madina, for four days, getting fat, taking my worm pills, exploring the markets.
Then I took a train to Rabat to apply for my Indian Visa.
That train was a surprise.
And if I may say, a delight.
I Like and Subscribe the trains in Morocco.
Upon arriving in Rabat I was told by the Indian embassy their offices only offer services to Moroccans.
Seemed fairly racist to me, but what do I know?
I’m just a white guy.
He told me I would have to apply for an e visa.
It’s like a future visa.
So Awkwardly staring into the dead eyes of West African embassy staff, waiting as they decide to give me permission to enter or not, like a twatty Gandalf, are are numbered?
I don’t exactly know how I feel about e visas yet?
I need some time with it.
I took a taxi back to the cyber cafe where I previously printed copies of my passport and fake hotel reservations.
I worked on my e visa for a couple hours.
Navigating that pesky french Arabic keyboard was a time suck. Until the owner took pity on me and got involved.
Uploading PDF’s, resizing photos, translating.
That guy was my Tank.
Indian Visa: Granted.
I next day I took the train to Fez, one of the oldest cities in the world,
That train tho, it was deeelightful.
I walked to the Madina from the train station.
My guidebook, y’know the one that keeps me grounded in 2012, recommended a very empty hotel.
After getting lost in the narrow markets of Fez, very very lost, hopelessly at times I, by sheer will, found the hostel.
As a side note.
I think a strong indication that a business might not be doing so well financially, is when the lights are always off.
This particular issue became an irritant after having to continuously rub the door of my room down like I was desperately reading a ransom letter in Braille, just to find the key hole.
After two days.
I was Stevie Wonder, at doors.
Now, time to find a carpet.
This is when I initially heard strangers yelling out “Ali Baba” as they stroked their imaginary beards at me.
“Ali Baba, the fuck?
What, like Ali Baba and his forty thieves?” I thought, suddenly very aware that I went from looking like Jesus to the head of a really old gang of thieves.
Within an afternoon, even after trying desperately to hold steadfast to my budget.
I bought two carpets.
I have no home for them.
But that’s a Bobby problem.
I’m Ali Bobby now.
Looking to employ forty highly motivated people for a once in a life time opportunity to showcase their skills in sales and marketing.
Only serious applicants will be considered.
Applicants who have worked for Visa or MasterCard will automatically be given interviews.
Must have at least one day tissue selling experience.