I need to finish up my Moroccan tales, readership is at a dangerously low level. Dissatisfaction is high, moral low. "We want Paris not Morocco!" I hear you, your silence is deafening. Well, this final tale of Morocco begins in Paris, and really that last post was all in Paris and yet no one cared. I few anonymous comments from the New Zealander mafia- the dreaded "Kiwi Boys" threatening to rearrange my furniture. Other than that I couldn’t get a rise out of you.
As we were waiting on the runway for our plane turn to take off, I noticed much movement in the center median. And there I saw thousands of bunny rabbits frolicking. Frolicking- I tell you. I immediately looked to the side of the runway to find the bunny carnage splattered, but there were none. Of course, if a plane hits a bunny taking off or landing I doubt there would be much left. You’d think the loud noise might damage those big ears. Maybe Bridget Bardot could fund supplying the big yellow earmuffs for the bunnies.
So the take off to Morocco was magical- everything involving bunnies is good. The landing back in Paris was a different story as I had been vomiting in my seat for ¾ of the flight. I used 4 barf bags. I'm not bragging or anything, but it was 4. I admired the gay flying waiter’s commitment to being friendly, every time I handed him a “used bag” he accepted it with a smile. If I had been flying Delta the bitch would have probably pistol-whipped me and planted an explosive device in my carry-on. I looked out for the bunnies but my eyes were blurry and couldn't see anything but my own frightening reflection.
As I’ve mentioned about 6 times, Hassan met us at the Marrakech airport. It is important to me to immediately say the wrong thing. This lets me know that I’m alive.
“So, you're Arab?” I say as we shake hands.
Hassan bristled at the mere mention of the word. “No, I am not Arab. He said with a look that would be repeated from the lady that was sitting in front of me on the flight back.
“I am Berber”
As I write this I am picturing Yul Brenner in the King and I with his fists on his hips and his legs planted firmly. “I am Berber”
The conversation continues in the 4x4. Moroccan culture is new to me, so I wasn’t certain if I had really put my foot in it as I like too.
“So you’re saying Berbers aren’t Arabs?”
Hassan clutched the steering wheel and breathed deeply, undoubtedly a Celine Dion song was playing in his mind to calm his soul.
“No a Berber is a Berber – they are not Arabs. Berbers are the original people of this land.”
I started to interrupt.
“You will see!” he snapped. “You will see as we drive through Marrakech what the Arabs are about. And then you will see what the Berbers are about.”
He was right about seeing what the Berbers were about. We only stayed in Berber hotels, ate in Berber restaurants and traveled through Berber towns. There was one town that he felt he needed to clarify. “These people here, all these people” He said motion to the 3 women on the street. “They used to be Jews, now they are Berber.” It was unclear what that meant and he wasn’t providing any more information. “This is my band.” He said as he put a CD on. “The singer he is crazy.” We listen to the hour-long improv drum solo as he beat upon the steering wheel to the sound of him beating on drums. I put my iPod on and looked out the window and thought about the Berbers that had one time been Jewish.
“There are no scorpions in the desert he has to tell me for the 10th time.”
“I find that very hard to believe” I persist. “In all the Sahara desert there are no scorpions?”
Other tourists at the cafe listen in, this, after all, affects us all.
“There is no water in the desert. Therefore there are no scorpions or snakes.”
“I watch Discovery channel and I’m certain they’ve discussed snakes and scorpions in the Sahara. I was told that I should shake my shoes out because scorpions will climb in to escape the sun.”
Who told you that?” demanded Hassan. “An Arab? Arabs know nothing of the desert. We are the original desert people. There are no scorpions.”
The crowd seemed to be siding with me on this one.
“You know, scorpions.” I did a little hand gesture to show a scorpion striking.
Hassan considered for a moment. “Ah yes, we do have those.”