Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Say No and Mean It

We are in Meknes, Morocco tonight and had a tiring day today. 

For those who know that I am "counting my steps," today was a 10,000 (or more) steps day. 

We first made our way on foot through a labrynth path through the souk (market stalls)in Fes. We saw everything from live chickens ready to be slaughtered on the spot to a cart full of fresh aromatic strawberries and raspberries to gold and silver trim for kaftans for rich Moroccan ladies to mule drawn rustic carts transporting goods through the 4 foot wide souk passageways. And not one pickpocket during the two hour walk!

Then we climbed up to the Roman ruins in Volubilis.
I have no idea who these folks are, but the guy with the camera followed our group around taking photos of all of us. Our guide said he was the "paparazzi." We didn't ask more questions. Even when he followed us to a mosque in Meknes. You know how I can't stand "paparazzi."

Lovely tile (ruins) floors in the ancient Roman baths in Volubilis. Shame they are not covered and protected from the elements.

Another shot of the ruins (and folks I do not know).

The main street of this ancient city of 60,000 inhabitants. 

Now the "saying No" story:
Everything I have read has warned me to just say "No" to any Moroccan who tries to sell me anything I do not want. Well, so far that simple word has worked with no problem. But today in Meknes, "No" was not enough. 

This afternoon late, my hub and I entered a souvenir shop on a city square. I was freezing, since I had forgotten to wear my sweater when I left the bus. So browsing in a shop seemed like a way to keep warm. The shopkeeper immediately began a conversation about his goods, an uncle who married an American and lived in Ohio, and how special his embroidered rugs were. 

When I asked the price of a nice large red one hanging on the wall, he told us that our tour guide would take us to a textile factory and the price would be way more expensive than what he was asking for his rug. When I said that the rug was nice but that it was too big to carry home in my suitcase, he said he could roll it up very tightly and small to transport. Then his "uncle" appeared out of nowhere and blocked our exit of the shop. The uncle proceeded to lower the price (several times), but I said, "No, I don't have time for this and it is too large." Then the uncle said I was being as stubborn as a "Berber." I said NO again and tried to leave the shop. Finally I said, "We are going to be late for our tour bus!" I said, "No!" Then the uncle let us pass but grabbed a ladder to remove the rug. We escaped the shop, and I am sure the uncle and his nephew were amazed that this old Berber (barbarian) American lady just turned down their great deal on that red rug.


Then my hub asked me if I had really wanted that rug. 
Of course not! I just wanted to keep warm and get an idea of what to expect at the textile factory with our tour group tomorrow!!!


Anonymous said...

Ah...lesson number one...if you aren't planning on buying something don't go in the shop.

Janie Junebug said...



A Quiet Corner said...

Wow! What an incredible experience...a lot of effort jst to say NO!...:)JP