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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Berber Carpet Negotiations

We awoke to a cold blustery morning.  We ate breakfast and then headed back to the room to read for a while.  Dave isn’t feeling well, so Melissa heads out to souks again on her own.  Today’s mission was to find some jars in which to put olives to take home.

In the souks two little girls ask Melissa to take their picture.  “No dirhams!  No money!” she says.  Their Dad who is nearby chuckles.  “No money”, he confirms.  So she snaps a few pictures and the girls giggle when they see the pictures.

She wanders around a while, but alas doesn’t spot a kitchen store where she can buy jars.  We’d been told if you get lost or have a question in the souks, you should ask a shop keeper.  Melissa finally relents and asks someone if they know a kitchen store.  The guy she asks jumps up and says “I’ll show you”.  Oh boy, here we go, and she inwardly rolls her eyes.

Aziz was his name, and he had a friend with a kitchen store he tells her.  Uh huh.  Melisa follows him down and around the narrow streets.  Eventually we get to his friend’s store, but its closed.  Not to be defeated, Aziz heads off continuing the hunt.  He finds a store, and Melissa buys two jars.  Aziz grabs the bag and heads off to find the olives.

Aziz is telling her that after we find the olives, she must join him at his place for a cup of mint tea.  Now, Melissa knows this is a game.  And the name of the game is help the tourist so they feel guilty and buy something from you.  But as she really has not a lot to do, and Aziz is such a character, she decides to see how this plays out.  She’s in no danger, and all he’s got in his hand is $2 worth of jars.  So easy to walk away if she gets uncomfortable.

At one point he says she must join him at his shop as he has something to show her that you can’t find anywhere else in Morocco.  Says something about flower buds.  Hmmm.  Oh please not let it be marijuana or some crazy thing!

We find Aziz’s favorite olive vendor and after a quick tasting, Melissa buys the two jars worth of olives, though not till Aziz gets the vendor to wash out the jars first.

We get back to Aziz’s shop and Melissa snaps a picture.  He looks part mob gangster in his silk suit.

Then after getting her cup of mint tea, out come the rugs!  Melisa explains she has no where to put the rug in her house.  No problem says Aziz, you can hang them on the wall!  She laughs and shakes her head, no, no, the only thing I can take home must fit in the suitcase!  No problem says Aziz, we can ship!  An answer for everything!

Then he takes out his book to show her all his “friends” in the USA.  This turns out to be his sales book showing all the customers he has shipped to all over the world.  “Maybe you find someone you know?”, he says hopefully.  Like this is supposed to gain him credibility.

After choosing one very small door mat sized rug and one very small table top piece, the negotiations begin.  Aziz starts at $250 US dollars – writing it down on a piece of paper.  Melissa laughs.  Um, no way.  She writes $80.  Aziz writes $230.  Melissa laughs again.  Aziz writes $210.  Melissa laughs some more.  Aziz comes down to $180.  Melissa writes $100.  Aziz comes down to $150.  Melissa comes up to $120, and Aziz agrees to that.  Probably still too high, but every time she sees that rug she is going to laugh and remember what a character Aziz was.

Then back downstairs to the bottom half of the shop where there are more trinkets.  Melissa picks up a couple of cups, olive plates, and yet one more scarf.  They pack all her wares up in wrapping to make packing in the suitcase easy.  Aziz suggests that Melissa take $2 (the $20 dirham note that they gave her in change) and give it to the guy packing the wares.  Why not?

Then she was off to find a taxi as no way is she lugging all this stuff all the way back up to the top of the hill.  She heads for the same taxi stand she used yesterday and asks how much to get back to our hotel.  $3 the cab driver says.  No way!  Melissa shakes her head and says $2, because that’s what she paid yesterday.  The cab driver relents, ok.

Then it was time for one last Hammam before departing tomorrow.  Dave was still sick so he skipped it, but Melissa was feeling nice and relaxed by the time dinner rolled around.  We elected to have dinner at the hotel as our flight is at 5:30 am, which means an alarm clock going off at 2:30am.

The hotel set us up with a sweet little romantic table for two.

The soup tasted like pumpkin.  Then they served lamb with prunes, and the usual assortment of salads.

We had hoped to escape before they feed us some desert.  But no such luck – the brought it up to our room!

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