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Posts Tagged ‘nicest people’

I cannot believe our vacation is over; it feels like it was yesterday that we started planning it.
Marrakech is an old city made beautiful by the kindhearted people who live there. Much of it (old and new) looks like it’s crumbling, and in significant decay, but it is not as dirty as one would expect. There is virtually no garbage on the streets! People seem to hose down their sidewalks every morning. I never saw cat or dog poo anywhere (they have poo bags for the horses and mules). We didn’t see roaches or rats during our entire stay (other than the occasional fly and wasp), and we walked through the oldest parts of town, back alleys and short cuts. I can honestly say I never smelled garbage or urine — you can’t say that about New York, Paris or even Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, the city is not clean (no major centre is) but it certainly did not have the dirtiness and litter I was expecting!
The weather was neither as warm or as cold as we were expecting. The first few days we were greeted by rain and chilling winds from the mountains, then the rains ended and the sky opened up to a gorgeous blue, without clouds to showcase the warm bright sun. Now those were the temperatures we expected. But the evenings grew chilly and we had our lovely wood burning fireplace on in our room a few times (no central heat).
The traffic is chaos but somehow everyone knows what to do, organized chaos. The Moroccans sure make good use if their horns, our 10 minute ride from the Casablanca Train Station, the cabby honked a minimum of 30 times, I stopped counting! Motorbikes don’t seem to have to obey the traffic lights; they can even ride on the sidewalks which shouldn’t surprise me as pedestrians walk all over the roads everywhere! Pedestrian cross walks mean nothing. You hold your breath and pray and as you walk with a purposeful stride across a busy city street you should be OK (kinda like walking across the Broadway Manhattan!). Strangely enough there were no issues. I wasn’t even nudged by a speeding vehicle once, but JT tells me he was nudged a couple of times! The trick is to keep moving at the same rate and not make quick changes, the drivers can then estimate where you will be when he reaches you!
The people of Morocco have the kindest hearts of any other people we’ve ever met. Strangers stopped us on the street to offer us directions, they helped us with our bags on and off the trains, with no expectations in return. They seem to genuinely want us to be happy. Sure, there are the desperate ones but few and far between. The markets are cut-throat and I have come to accept that the one’s in these souks are just desperate to make a living – aren’t we all? Some of us with more desperation than others.
The people of Morocco have an incredible pride in their country and their city and it shows when they talk about it. Even the cabbies in their old beat up Mercedes Benzes talk about their city as if they have been appointed the Royal Tour Guide, pointing out the highlights along our trek. In Toronto, you’d best know how to get to your destination because it’s unlikely the cabby will, let alone know what the highlights along the way are! In fact, in Toronto, you’re lucky if they speak English. In Morocco, they generally speak Arabic and French, sometimes English. They always try to communicate with you.
This vacation has really taught me the true kindness of strangers in a far away land. I’ve always appreciated what we have, but it’s all only stuff. The Moroccans seem to have this true kindness and peace within, that doesn’t rely on stuff. It’s really quite lovely.
This type of holiday is not for everyone with the noise and chaos of the streets, but it is a good eye opener for us Westerners.
Thank you for taking this journey with me, I hope that one day you will be able to travel to Morocco to enjoy their kindness and generosity first hand. Shokrohm (thank you in Arabic) ey Merci (in French).

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