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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Out of Africa

Tuesday spent the day in the Medina without a guide.  We took a taxi to the King's Palace and walked through the Medina back to our Riad.  We found that the shopkeepers were a little more aggressive but not too bad.  If you would look at something they would come over and try to get you to buy something.  But it was pretty easy to just walk away.  But if you would ask a price then it was very difficult to get them to let you get away.  One time Cindy asked about an item and the shopkeeper said $500 Dirhams (local currency about 11 cents US), she offered $100, well he got offended and told her to "go away, go away".  Pretty funny.  Later on she found a similar item and tried bargaining again, started at $500 Dh and he would only come down to $200 Dh, Cindy wanted to only spend $150 Dh.  As she walked away another younger guy came up with a much nicer quality item and after bickering back and forth, with Cindy walking away a few times, and him waiting then chasing her down she got him down to $170 Dh!  We think he worked for the same shopkeeper.  Way to go Cindy, and she got a much nicer item.  It can be fun and frustating to bargain with them.  Once you start bargaining it is very difficult to leave without buying something.  But at some point they'll just say "no problem" and leave you alone.  Overall we found the Moroccan people friendly and helpful, but they don't hesitate to ask for a few Dh's if they think they have given you something.
Later on we passed by a small 1 room school and peeked inside.  The teacher invited us inside to visit with the children who were about 6-8 years old.  We all had a great time playing with the kids.  They were very interested in hearing us speak.  Cindy showed them how to count to 10 in American and they loved it.  Beautiful kids.  Of course the teacher asked for a small donation to help with the school, so we did.
After getting back to our Riad Cindy and I did a cooking class with the chef, Fatima.  It was pretty interesting to see the different spices they use.  Of course one time when I forgot and was stirring a pot with my left hand she seemed shocked that I would use my left hand to prepare food.  She said that they don't use their left hand for preparing or eating food.  I had to explain that I was left handed and it was difficult for me to remember to not use my left hand.   She was surprised that Americans use their left hands for food.  Difficult cultures, but this is really a cultural/religious Muslim tradition.
It was really difficult to remember to eat only with my right hand.
Well, we ended up missing our 7 am train so took the 10 am train to Tangier where we would take the 4 pm ferry to Tarifa.  Nope, train took longer than we thought and got to Tangier at 3:40.  Got a taxi to the ferry station, went to passport control and hit a bottleneck.  Finally got through and literally ran to the ferry only to see it pull away as we got to the dock.  Oh well, so we sat in the shade and waited an hour for the next ferry.  Finally got into Tarifa, David went ahead of Denise, Cindy, and I with the luggage so he could get the car out of the parking garage before it closed.  Then an hour and half drive to Marbella for a couple nights.  We passed by the rock of Gibraltar and saw it lit up with spotlights, pretty impressive.
So today we're just relaxing and resting from our difficult day of travel yesterday.  Tomorrow we catch our 9:30 flight to Madrid, then Dallas, and finally the Big Easy!  Scott is planning to pick us up at the airport.  I just hope we can sleep when we get in so we'll be rested Saturday to see Ella!

won't see women in these coffee shops

Cindy bargaining hard

sometimes you think the walls might collapse

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