I’ll be blunt.
There is a definite hash artery in Chefchaouen.
And I seem to be the beating heart it flows to.
Aside from the uniform light blue buildings, taxies and souvenirs, might I suggest that hash is this regions economic mainstay?
Or at least was.
I aimlessly walk within Chefchaouens dizzying blue architecture, while honeybee like hash men buzz around me, casually lobbing passive conversation my way, hoping for any acknowledgement.
“Do you smoke?” They ask.
“Sometimes” I usually say.
Which is always a mistake.
Like asking someone from Toronto about Toronto.
Buckle-up, its going to be a long rhetoric heavy sales pitch.
My eyes gloss over as I’m pulled into another “where you from, wanna buy hash” business meeting.
The catch twenty-two of Chefchaouens failing business model is, that for every tourist to reach this sleepy blue village, they must first travel through at least one major city.
Cities like Tangier, Marrakesh, Fes, Casablanca and Rabat, where Chefchaouen hash is readily available.
By the time we, the hash interested tourist arrive in Chefchaouen, I no longer need or want Chefchaouen hashish.
Being asked repetitively to buy some, then, after confessing I have more than I need, told the stuff I have is garbage compared to what he’s selling, is a fairly annoying experience, to be sure.
Don’t get me wrong.
I like hash.
I like when people offer me hash.
Just not all day.
All fucking day.
For seven days.
Where are you from? A rando wearing a cloak asks.
“Canada” I sigh, immediately knowing where the conversation is headed.
Toronto or Montreal?
“Calgary” I say.
Wanna buy some hash? “
My friend, my friend, look it’s the best. He says pulling a blob of black, play-doh looking hash from thin air.
I walk away, as a distant, different Moroccan yells out “where you from?” In my direction.
Like bees make honey.
Moroccan hash men make their precious money.
After my ritualistic breakfast of fresh orange juice and hash, pulled laboriously from one of the several communal black balls on the terrace table, a Spaniard explains to me, after patiently showing me how to build a geodesic dome,
that Spain, one of the former major importers of Moroccan hash, has started making their own.
Apparently it’s as good or better than the Moroccan brand.
I don’t know how that’s possible? But that’s the rumble, in the hashish jungle.
Ok, that’s enough hash talk Bobby.
The most amazing waterfall exists an hour from Chefchaouen in Akchour, the hike to reach it is a must do experience.
Especially on hash.
Oh God, I’m turning into a Moroccan!
I took the bus to Fes after a beautiful week in Chefchaouen.
Did a third of the bus have hand cuffed prisoners in it.
Did I have to sit in another seat because mine was occupied by two men handcuffed to one another?
Did I sneak one of them fruit Mentos.
Hash here is unfortunately, officially illegal.
There are lots of people in busses on their way to jail because of it.
The prison bus arrived in Fes at 11:30 in the night.
The hour when hash zombies saunter through Moroccos most confusing madina, looking for any opportunity to sheer dirham from a lost visitor.
Like diabetic children on Easter morning, frantically looking for their precious chocolate.
Me, a white with my phone out, moving in slow, unconfident stride, is the equivalent of a freshly divorced man in Diablos, a Portland strip club.
Once found, it’s always a grind.
Not dangerous, necessarily.
Money focused conversations at midnight while standing in a dark maze of narrow, barren stone corridors, with three strangers all speaking a different, unknown language, can be intense, y’know.
In the past I’ve agreed to pay for leadership through the madina to get to my hotel or a specific restaurant.
But in that instance, the price was negotiated beforehand.
These guys want you to think their Mr Rogers.
Then after reaching your destination they demand money from you.
These midnight madina money zombies crafted the illusion that I was hopelessly lost by walking me in elaborate circles.
They, as has become the theme of my tour through Africa, pacified me as ignorant.
Yes, my maps app does get glitchy in madinas, this is a fact they remind me constantly of.
It still represents a rough location.
I know when I’m close to my goal destination.
I’m missing only the specifics.
Moving away from where I am, around and around, then back to where I was, is obvious guys, c’mon.
There are various money hustles in Morocco.
But it’s the ones that use emotions to manipulate, that are especially brutal.
“Open your heart my friend”
And pay 600 dirham for a box with plastic jewels glued to it?
Nah, open your brain.
Toward the end of my time in Morocco, I became fairly dismissive of these guys.
Rudely dismissive, in fact.
I believe in positive tourism.
Manipulating tourists with deception has consequences.
Tourists being rudely dismissive is a strong indication of shady local behavior.
Some Muslims are more devoted to the Idea of being Muslim than actually practicing the teachings of the prophet.
Here in Morocco, It’s all about profit.
But I love it all the same.