Sinks, Penises and Chickens
a) are savvy enough to know that you should have cleaned out the Duty Free shop in the airport when you landed,
b) are staying in a hotel/riad that is not owned by a Muslim and therefore will find you some alcohol if you DIDN’T stock up at the duty free
c) understand the secret code. The secret code is Bar versus Restaurant. If you are out and about and you are seeing signs for restaurants/cafes/bistros, etc., keep in mind that none, I repeat, none of these establishments will serve alcohol. You must search high and low for a sign that specifically says “bar”. If you are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen and many others, you will have to keep searching for that bar sign until you cross a border into a more civilized country. Get it?
Marrakesh has a fabulous bar, called the Kosybar, and, please note, that I said “a” bar. It was the only place in the city that I saw in 3 days that served alcohol, but who really needs more than one bar when the one ticks all the boxes, hmm? Even if you don’t drink, you should really visit just because it is an oasis of calm after a day of chaos in the medina. That, plus, it is filled with Westerners who all looked shell-shocked, (just like you will), after haggling in the souks and having random reptiles slung around their necks.
We had some time to kill before North Africa Guy came to pick us to take us to the airport on Day Four. The only thing I had left on my must-see list was a Moroccan Co-op type of store that I had heard about. Apparently, they carried everything one find in the souks BUT there is no haggling. Everything, supposedly, had price tags on them. Well, you can imagine that by Day Four I was looking forward to a little stress-free shopping, so off we went.
Now, Old Mr. Mason did not speak a lick of either French or English—he was old school Arabic. Luckily, Mr. Mason had a son whom he summoned after much pointing at sinks and general mayhem that always ensues with these language difficulties. The son spoke some God-forsaken amalgamation of French and Arabic, but I was finally able to glean the fact that the sinks cost around the equivalent of 125 USD. Literally, I made him repeat it 20 times because I could not believe that these beautiful sinks cost what I routinely pay for a pork tenderloin. But now the fun begins, right? Because these sinks are located on another continent in a third world country and I live one sea and three countries away from these sinks. Does this stop me from buying these sinks? Of course not. I have bought crazier things than these sinks, let me assure you.
In some madman’s version of French-Arabic, the son and I arrange to have my sinks driven by A Guy in A Truck on a ferry across the Mediterranean to Spain. He will then drive to Lyon, France where he will stop because he is scared to come to Switzerland. France, yes. Switzerland, no. To this day I still do not know the reason, but, whatever. Lyon, France it is. At some point in the future, on some given day, some Guy in A Truck is going to call me on my cell phone and tell me when and where to meet him in Lyon for the Great Sink Hand-Off. We pay Mr. Mason and his son 200 euros for our two sinks. The shipping cost of 100 euros will be paid directly to The Guy in The Truck at the time of the Hand-Off.
This is when Mr. Big starts calling in favors all over Europe to procure these two sinks. To make a long story short, it involved 9 employees of The Company in four countries and two continents, multiple hand-offs, one house, one garage, multiple car trunks, and one HOTEL! before my sinks arrived in Lausanne. It was a comedy of errors. At one point, my sinks even went to Belgium. They spent one weekend snowed in Alsace-Lorraine. They drove down through Germany. My sinks had it goin’ on.
To summarize, I would go back to Morocco again in a heartbeat. This time I would not bring any white clothing, I would buy more wine at the Duty Free and I would definitely go to the Co-op first. I would stay in a fancy hotel outside the Medina like everyone told us to do in the first place. Oh, and I would think twice before buying any more bathroom fixtures. And to the Company employee to whom I still owe 100 euros, thanks buddy, and I know I owe you some cash and I’m sorry that the packaging smelled like rotten spices and made your whole garage stink like Marrakesh. My bad.