One day we made a trip to Meknes. We wanted to visit the small town which is about 60 km away from Fes and stroll through its old town. And since we like to be on the road early, we were at our destination shortly after ten. From the train station we walked towards the old town, but it is not as easy to find as in Fes. So we looked for a café where we thought the old town was, to drink a cup of tea and get a little orientation. We found one with a roof terrace 😉 After tea and consultation with Mr. Google, we went from there around a few corners into the alleys of the old town. We strolled along the stalls and practiced „not looking closely“ and „not asking for prices“. Because at the latest when you show interest in the goods, you can hardly get away without buying. The merchants are dependent on the tourists. Their purchases are often the only source of income. We got through quite a long time without shopping, but towards the end of our stroll, we came to a nice Berber, who invited us in German into his small store: „Just to look and chat“, he said on our „but we do not want to buy anything“. Getting involved in „just looking“ is usually already almost „the beginning of the end“. We talked and chatted and shared about the families, the difficult last years and about this and that and we then bought two small souvenirs. (Small gifts come always handy, we thought.) Then he showed us beautiful bed rugs and said we would get them for very cheap. Because the Swabians, (he had found out in the meantime that we are from the Black Forest aera), are thrifty people, therefore he would give them to us for the cheaper price. He would then simply demand a little more from the Americans and the British, he said. Besides, he said, we were his first customers today, and if the first customers bought well, it meant merchant’s luck for the whole day. We already knew this „way of thinking“ from Russia. In the meantime we had also found out that he has a family with three children and the last years had been especially hard for them because of the Corona restrictions. Since we could actually use bed rugs and he gave away the beautiful rugs so cheaply, we gave him a little extra with the words „this is for the kids“, not for business. As friends and with a joint farewell photo, we parted, each satisfied.
One thing we have learned: we no longer go to the markets in the morning, but only in the early afternoon. Because our heart can’t stand to be the first customer there and not buy anything… And we don’t buy the souvenirs „en gros“ (in large quantities at once) at bulk prices anymore, but take them one by one to give as many sellers as possible a chance and to cultivate friendships 😉