Adventures in Morocco

Marrakech_Jemaa-el-Fna

 

It was 1972. They were young Canadians—young and naïve—traveling through Morocco at a time when that country was crawling with hippies looking for cheap drugs and cheap living. Supposedly, one could rent a room in a shack, eat, and smoke pot for as little as a dollar a day.

They weren’t hippies. They stayed in a hotel, hired a guide, and ignored the hippies’ scorn when they rode the horse drawn carriages. “At least we’re contributing to a family’s income by hiring this driver,” she said.

Walking the streets they heard a constant litany of:

“Journal, monsieur? Journal?”

“Non, merci,” he said.

Promptly followed by, “Hashie, Monsieur? Hashie?”

“Non, merci.”

“Let’s rent a motorbike and drive around,” he said.

“Let’s not,” she said when they heard that the bike shop owner wanted them to leave their passports as security.

They hired a driver to take them out to see the country side.

“Big mistake,” she said as they careened down the three lane highway, the middle lane being used for passing—from either direction.

“We’re playing bloody chicken,” he said.

Somehow they survived to fill their army canteen with freshly squeezed orange juice for the train ride to Marrakesh where they found more hippies, snake charmers, the marvels of the market, more hippies, more offers of hashie, the dying vats, great food, and more hippies.

 

 

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10 comments on “Adventures in Morocco

  1. So you weren’t a hippie Darlene? Me? I gave birth to my first daughter in 1972 after 5 years of marriage. I was only 24! That same daughter is 42 and pregnant with her first child after a much different life than I had. Times change.

    • At the time, I felt that the hippies were taking advantage of the situation. I also heard comments from local people that indicated they didn’t appreciate the rich kids from the US playing at being poor. They could always go home to the wealth of North America, but the citizens were stuck where there were.

  2. Some things sound familiar – the driving – and yet so very different – the hippies – from my visit there in 2004. I was traveling alone in a post 9/11 world right after the bombing in Madrid. While I was there a Moroccan cell had been pinpointed as one of the culprits of the horror in Spain. As a blonde female traveling alone, I was often ignored. It suited me because it afforded me the opportunity to simply observe. I like the way you presented this, Darlene.

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