Posted by razzbuffnik on February 13th, 2008
Since I will be writing quite a lot about Morocco, and in particular Tarazout in the future, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some of the “characters” that will be mentioned.
This is a picture of my landlord when I stayed in Tarazout for about a month and a half during Ramadan. He was a small coffee shop owner and his name was Louasin (I not really sure if this is spelled correctly).
Louasin was typical of many Moroccans that I met. A sleazy hypocrite. My guess is that travellers don’t usually get to meet very many of the nicer people in Morocco as they don’t tend to get invited into the local’s homes. Why would they? I imagine that it’s what it’s like for visitors to here in Australia. In Morocco one just tends to meet the street people who prey on foreigners. The whole time I was in Morocco, which was close to three months, I often found myself thinking about what it was like to be a herbivore on the African savannah, away from the protection of the herd on their own, with predators constantly circling looking for any opportunity to make their move.
Nearly every day during the month of Ramadan (when Moslems are not supposed to drink liquids or eat during the day) Louasin used to come over to the house that I was renting from him to either try and sell me hash or just hang out and smoke it himself. Since he smoked hash (which is prohibited to Moslems) I presumed that he wasn’t religious, so I was surprised one day when I offered him some food, while he was smoking dope, he refused it saying that he was a good Moslem who didn’t eat during Ramadan.
One day I came back to my room and Louasin had let himself into my room and was sitting on the bed with a local woman dressed in very tight fitting western clothing. As soon as I walked in he got up and with an embarrassed smirk, introduced me to his “friend” and then left the room without her or any other explanation. So there I was in my room with this strange woman that I couldn’t communicate with. It was pretty obvious that she was a prostitute and Louasin was her pimp. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, as I tried not to seem rude in rejecting what she had on offer, I walked the woman to the door and sent her away.
On another occasion Louasin was waiting in my room (I don’t think he understood the concept of privacy) with four or five girls who were exceedingly friendly and most desirous of my company. As they would say here in Australia, “they were all over me like a rash”. I’m pretty sure that they had quite the party in mind for me, but their smiling faces with their “come hither eyes” quickly changed to shocked scowls as I asked them to leave. One of them even demanded money from me to pay for her bus fare back to Agadir (a large town about 25kms away). I tried to explain that she should take that issue up with Louasin. I guess I can’t blame Louasin and I didn’t think of him as being a evil person for trying to make some extra money but I found it irritating to hear him crap on every now and again about how he was a good Moslem when he was a dope smoking and dealing pimp.
One of the conclusions that I came to after my stay in Morocco (after many, many attempts) was that friendship for friendship’s sake is a bit of a first world concept. In places like Morocco there aren’t any social welfare safety nets for people and if you are poor and desperate, morality is quickly jettisoned and replaced with expedient ruthlessness. I found that the people I met in Morocco didn’t form relationships without profit in mind. So when a desperate person without much hope or prospects sees what they perceive as a walking bag of money in the form of a foreign tourist they try to make “friends” with that object of plenty. I don’t really blame the Moroccans I met for their rapacity, I just didn’t like being constantly subjected to their deceitful wheedling ways.
My stay in Tarazout was very eventful (not in a good way) and I’ll be writing much more about it in the future.