Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Friendly Ouarzazate, Morocco, Saturday, 10 January 2009 9:39pm

Lots of driving today. We drove from about 9:30am until 4:30pm with just a break for lunch and a short sightseeing walk.

A couple from Holland were the only other guests at the bivouac last night, and we breakfasted together. They asked me some questions about Morocco, since they've only been here for a couple days. One of them was about what I think of the people, which gave me pause.

The people here are very "friendly". Aggressively friendly. People seek me out on the street and say hello to me and want to shake my hand and ask me where I'm from. They offer me tea and invite me to their homes.

And they all seem to want to sell me something. Tours. Trinkets. Food. A lot of them don't take "No thanks" for an answer. If I let them shake my hand, they don't let go until they've made their pitch. If I don't shake their hand they get offended. If I walk away, they yell after me. It's frustrating.

I was thinking about this as I took that sightseeing walk. It was along a road that used to be used by caravans from the desert to Marrakesh. A guy on a moped rode past me and said a friendly "Bonjour" and rode on by. It brightened my day, and I wondered if I'd been too cynical. But then, when I rounded the last corner, there he was, trying to sell me baskets of dates.

I didn't feel this way on the coast.