My wife and I crossed the strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco, city of Tangier, in a ferry, one day in 2003. And that was a lot of what happened that day. It was a guided tour; our Moroccan guide was waiting for us at the port. We were about 20 people.
We were advised that locals will try aggressively to sell their stuff, and if you want to buy, you should negotiate. The guide said that buying without negotiating might be considered offensive (sic!).
And here is my first story. On a narrow and crowded street someone tried to sell me a very small drum, kind of a toy, because… I made the mistake to look into his eyes and he hooked me. He said in English “ten dollars for this”. I did not want to buy it, but still I said, “this cannot be more then one dollar”. He said ”five”. I wanted to leave and turning away to move on I said “I will not pay more then two dollars for that.” The guy sealed the deal “Done!”. What could I say? I searched my pockets and found a five dollars bill and handed it to the guy. He gave me the drum and looked for change. But we were blocking the street and the crowd pushed me away. Well, I paid five for the useless drum, I thought. But I had a big surprise 50 meters down the street. A local guy, not the one that sold me the drum, tapped my shoulder and when I returned to face him, he gave me 3 dollars, “here is your change”. It appeared all those Moroccans selling souvenirs were in full control of the street. In the picture are all we bought that day, and everyone has a story, but I will not go into more details…
Later, we were near a plaza and out of nowhere a guy put a snake on my shoulders. My wife got it on camera. Of course the snake owner asked money for that, five dollars. I did not negotiate and payed, I wanted to depart as quickly as possible.
Only 20 meters away a camel owner asked 10 dollars to let me climb on his animal and take a picture. Since I was there, why not? I tried that experience too; I was busy with the operation and did not notice when another guy put a red cap on my head. When I was down on earth again, he said, “Now the cap is yours, 10 dollars.” The reader can imagine that I wanted quickly out of that plaza and I paid.
One more little story before I go. Walking those narrow and spaghetti-like streets you may lose the group, even more so when you have a wife interested in staying a little bit more in the shops. But that was no problem. An unknown guy, always the same, saved us every time “your group is on that street” and he stretched his hand in a certain direction, “then take the second on the right.” When we were back to the ferry that fellow was around and I saw some other tourists in the group tipping him. I contributed with two dollars as well.
The tour included a dinner in a restaurant, music and local chicken dishes.
I was wondering if they bought the chicken from the street we walked only few minutes ago.
Well, it was a nice trip.