A Day In My Moroccan Life

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Breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice, crepes, bread with fresh jam, fresh fruit and mint tea on the terrace of Riad Dar One in Marrakesh.  A moment of peace before heading out.  The day as planned is an easy three hour drive to Agadir where Majid and I will meet with our friends Zaina and Mohammed, the owners of the argan cooperative.

12:00 — My 11 AM scheduled pick up by Majid is pushed back to noon because of some business he needs to take care of with the owner of a rug shop.  As we walk the 15 minutes to his car, he casually informs me that he is having a bit of car trouble.  The battery is broken. I suggest renting a car. Majid’s answer is “if it is your destiny to break down, you will break down in a new car as easily as in an old one,” logic that is hard to quarrel with, so we wait for the mechanic to fix the battery.

1 PM — The car is successfully started by the mechanic who, for some bewildering reason, has a pamphlet on cholesterol in his hands.  It’s an “Inshallah” moment, one in which you can understand why Moroccans are strong believers in destiny. So much of life is throwing up your hands and hoping for the best.  After extensive dialogue in Arabic, voices raises and hand gesturing, we leave with everyone apparently satisfied.

2:10 — we are pulled over in the middle of nowhere for speeding.  The usual $10 payoff doesn’t work with the cops this time.  They tell Majid that he needs to pay the full price of the ticket ($50), plusa tip.  He calls his brother who is an officer and talks the cops out of our ticket.  And we’re off. 30 minutes lost.  Majid is endlessly amused that a SUV following us had to pay the full fine.

2:45 — We stop at an outdoor market in the village of Chechoua to buy fresh cherries, apricots, melon, bread and cheese to eat along the way. Majid does not allow me to join him in the shopping because if the vendors see an American, the price will be higher so I have to wait in the car.

4:30 — A truck cab has gone over the side of the mountain on a steep pass, stopping traffic.

6:00 — A thud.  We pull over, hood up, and Majid calls the mechanic from his cell phone.  I spot a guy on the side of the road waving down a broken–down bus and imagine myself doing the same thing.  Three truck drivers stop to help us and begin pulling parts out of Majid’s engine. Miraculously, the problem seems to be solved for the time-being and we start up the car again.  One of the truck drivers gives us a piece of his cargo – a ripe watermelon.

6:30 — Stopped in a village to find a mechanic.  No such luck.

8 PM — On the way into Agadir as the sun is going down, the shepherds and camel herders are bringing their flocks to graze the argan trees.  A beautiful sight. Now I know why Destiny delayed us! 

8:30 — Arrive in Agadir (only 7 hours behind schedule) where we are met by Mohammed who escorts me to my hotel, the Ocean Beach Hotel where a no frills apartment with an ocean view goes for less than $100.

After a long day, pizza from the hotel and to bed.  Tomorrow, Majid and I go to the fish market to pick out a fish for Zaina to cook for our lunch, then we’ll visit the cooperatives, but first the mechanic!

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