Secret police, Wannabe Terrorists, and Thieves

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
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Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, September 4, 2006

The guide books didnīt have much to say about Tetouan. We needed a place to kill a few days so it seemed like as good of a place as any. In fact it was not a bad town. The weather was cool, over cast with sprinkles, and a nice breeze. Our hotel was, again, a dump, but at least the room was big. It also had a balcony overlooking the main street of town. The town was adorned with thousands of flags, banners, and lights. All in the red and green colors of Morocco. As it turns out, the King had a palace just a few hundred yards from where we were staying. This is his summer palace, so while he is in town, the city looks very festive. I thought the street looked really nice so I stepped out on our balcony to take a few photos. I put my camera back and thought nothing of it. About a half hour later, I went down stairs to pay for our room and the proprietor of the place gave me a warning about taking photos of the street. "Itīs not allowed, the police get very upset." he told me. So, I decided not to take anymore pictures from the balcony. Kelly and I then went exploring. After about an hour or so of checking out this decent little city, we went back to our place. The place was crawling with cops and serious looking men in grey suits. I heard them mention "photos" a few times as I walked past them with my head down. We walked up stairs and to our room. There was a secret service guy looking around our door, but when I opened it, he went away. Iīm sure that had they decide to question me, they would have found me to be less than a threat, but it was a close call none the less.

So after some down time in our room. I went to check e-mail at the Internet cafe down the street. I sat down and got to it. After a short time, the man next to me started to talk to me in French. Since I barely speak any french, I just told him that I don't understand and left it at that. He then started talking to me in Spanish, which Iīm beginning to be able to get the hang of. He explained that he wanted to immigrate to Isreal. I asked him why, and he said that he loved Isreal. "Are you Jewish?" I asked. "No, I just love Isreal". He replayed. I looked at his screen and it is a password/login screen for the Isreal Defense Force. He asked me if I would write Isreal for him to see if I could arrange for a visa. I told him no. He then wanted to know if I could help him get access to Isrealīs security information. I explained to him that I am American and I donīt know anything about Isreal. I donīt speak Hebrew, and even if I did, that I donīt know him. So, no.. Iīm not going to help you. He then got quite frustrated, and started getting red in the face. He kept asking/begging for my help an I kept on refusing. This wannnbe terrorist was a pain in my ass. He finally went to the bathroom and I jumped up and ran for it. I didnīt want him to see where I was staying. Iīm sure I was over reacting, but it was an interesting exchange.

For the next few days, things were much calmer. Kelly still wasnīt feeling so hot, so she took it easy at the room while I went exploring. I found a liquor store down the street which I was very excited about. FYI: Moroccan wine tastes like crap. I found most of the people to be very nice. I took some really nice photos of them and had some really good conversations with many people in the Medina. One of the best conversations was with a guy who I had just watched kill about 50 chickens. This guy was a poultry killin machine. Kelly and I also had a few of the local crazies adopt us. One of them was this frail old man, who would always find us as soon as we would come out of our hotel. He then would follow us around pointing at things and explaining them in Arabic. It was like he was our crazy tour guide. He was kind of cute actually, in a really senile/crazy kind of way.

When it came time to leave Teutoun and Morocco, we were ready to go. We didnīt know exactly how ready until we got to the bus station. Showing up at the bus station in a place like Morocco without a plan is a mistake. We were planning to take a bus to Ceuta which is only about 20Kīs away and is actually part of Spain. Once in Ceuta, we were planning on taking the ferry back to Europe. Well, upon getting to the bus station a man in a bus company uniform approaches us and tries to convince us to take a taxi. He is very pushy and claims that 150 Dirham is the going rate. I tried to ignore him a few times and told him that 150 was too much. Eventually after much cajoling on his part, we started following him toward a cab. Kelly, being smarter than me, decided that this wasnīt a good deal and that we should look into a bus. I said fine, and told the man that we were going to take the bus. He got very upset and started screaming something about a small mind. I thought he was insulting me, so I started yelling back and giving him the international go to hell symbol. What I didnīt realize until later, was that he was actually insulting Kelly. I would have broken that skinny little bastard in half if I would have realized that. It's probably just as well that I didnīt. I'm too pretty for jail, Moroccan or otherwise.

So we go downstairs and get on a bus. A man comes by and asks for money for the tickets. I had him a 100 Dirham note. He says that he'll be back with change. He's gone for about 30 seconds when I realize that heīs a god damn thief. So I give chase, but that slippery fucker is long gone. I told the bus driver and he was pissed. The people around me showed us nothing but sympathy and even offered to buy our tickets as they thought we got all of our money stolen. This was remarkably kind and generous, especially when you consider that these people on the bus are really poor. So, I guess you have good and bad people in the world. It's too bad that the assholes are often the ones that stick with you. The bus ride was short but interesting. This vendor stood in the middle of the bus with a ghetto blaster blaring a sermon by some Immam. So after about 10 minutes of listening to this, he would turn it off and make his sales pitch. Then he would blare more of it on the boom box. He must have been rocking some Islamic Oral Roberts type shit, because the folks around us bought a ton of CDīs from this guy.

When we got to the border town, we about started a riot by hiring a taxi driver that wasnīt waiting in the cue. We were supposed to go to the front of the cab line, but this driver approached us, offered a good price to the border, and we got in the cab. Only after we got in and buckled up did we realize what a mess we had caused. The other drivers were screaming at the driver and making threatening motions at him as well. He told them where to go, and then got in the car and took off like a bat out of hell. This was about the last straw, weīve had a bad morning. Weīd been insulted, robbed, and now we're in a gypsy cab with a shitty driver with something to prove. I canīt remember a time in recent memory when Iīve been more angry.

So we get to the border and these worthless touts are trying to hand us immigration forms for the cross over into Spain. I decline their offers a few times. As one particularly insistent guy follows us toward the border crossing, I completely lose my grip. "NOOOOOO!!!" Then a stream of obscenities that would have made a pirate blush came out of my mouth. I called him and all of the other touts standing around every name I could think of and basicly dared them to do any thing about it. I had hit my gypsy breaking point and this douche bag was catching it full force. The guards at the gate found this to be pretty funny, and let us pass with out any further ado.

I liked Morocco. I didnīt love it. I would not go back, unless it was to the Sahara or to buy carpets or something. The shop keepers kept asking me to say nice things about their country when I went home as they need good publicity. While there are a lot of nice things about Morocco, unfortunately, we left with a very nasty taste in our mouth. So, I wonīt be doing any "Go to Morroco" commericals any time soon... unless they pay me a lot.
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Comments

meeno
meeno on

lol
Your post about Morocco is hilarious! I'm Moroccan, and i completely sympathise with you. And you know what? I wouldn't have had a better experience if i tried to do what you did in Tetouan. Unfortunately, and due to reasons i wouldn't bore you with, some parts of Morocco have been neglected for some years by our government, and the poor people in them have gotten used to some really bad stuff. But they struggle on, and i personally feel for them instead of hate them for it. And just to prove to you that even a Moroccan would experience the same thing travelling through Tetouan, or Tangier for that matter, I once hit one of those guys who try to sell you tickets in the port or give you immigration papers with my car!! YES and i speak the same language and come from the same country. lol. they're poor and they try everything they can to make a deal. And you have to keep in mind that most of what sounded like shouting to you, is only them being loud and passionate about their sale. lol. Concerning the guy at the internet cafe, i really i'm amazed and i would have reacted worst than you did. I think he just escaped from some mental facility, nothing more!! As you said yourself, Morocco is quiet full of contradictions (the thief and the poor people trying to help!) but we love it and we wouldn't wanna live anywhere else. and just a last advice, come to Marrakesh or Rabat next time and avoid small towns such as Tetouan. Take care whoever you are.

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