Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Morocco 5


posted 10/31/08

Lest I give the impression that everyone in Morocco is a jerk, let me tell you about the people who have been nice to us:

1. The four ladies at the bread cart who wouldn't let the vendor get away with cheating SH out of his change. SH had asked the price for a loaf of bread and via a translator -- the vendor spoke Arabic and SH was asking in French -- was told that it cost one dirham, about a dime. The translator left, SH took the bread, and paid with a five dirham piece. The vendor pocketed the money and ignored SH. SH said, in French, that it must be done to return to one the four dirhams. The vendor still ignored him. SH persisted. Yes, it was only forty cents, but honestly, after a while you get tired of being cheated and this was particularly egregious. That was when the other customers began to berate the vendor, insisting that he give SH the change, which he finally begrudgingly did, although he gave us only 30 dirhams instead of 40. SH has decided that he has a margin of error of one dirham.

2. Several taxi drivers. Our taxi driver to the Marjane Hypermarche yesterday picked us up when he already had another passenger. He dropped her off, then took us to the store and charged us only from the dropoff point to the store, not the entire fare. Our driver in Marrakesh was nice and wanted to know if we had voted yet. Anyone who brings up politics here is in favor of Obama. Not wanting to get into a political discussion in a foreign country in a language I do not command well, I avoid asking on what specific issues they agree with Obama as opposed to McCain. I am, however, impressed at the level of familiarity the Moroccans have with US politics.

3. The cook at the hotel in Marrakesh, who gave us a bunch of fresh out of the oven Moroccan bread instead of the French bread that wasn't so good.

4. The guy in the produce pricing line with me yesterday at the Marjane. You get your produce and wait in line for it to be weighed and priced before you go to the checkout. I had only two bags of veg (for grilling last night with Steve and Megan) but got in line anyhow even though some people had an entire cart full of stuff because one must wait one's turn. This lady with two bags of apples went to the front of the line and asked the customer who was having her entire cart of produce priced if she could cut in. The other customer let her. I muttered something to the guy in front of me that all the world have only a little but it must to wait like all the peoples. He said something to the lady that I gather was along the lines of Madame, it must be done that one waits in line for one's turn. She snapped at him that One had consulted the madame here and madame had said one could make the cut. He replied that The madame there did not to speak for all the world in the line. Madame grabbed her priced apples and began to yell at the guy, saying You have some nerve buddy telling one what to do and one would to say that you are a big jerk. I was thrilled to see someone speak up about line cutting because as far as I'm concerned, respecting the line is one of the first signs of civilization.

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