Observations

Mauritania

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Reason 612 Why I Love (Rural) Morocco: To quote more than a few shop owners, who more often than not just hang a sheet or lean a broom across the front of their shop when they go home for lunch, “There are no thieves here.”

Morocco’s Southern Coast

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Reason 404 Why I Love Morocco: I can sit in a crowded taxi with my arm around a strange man and his hand on my knee without all the Western fears of male/male intimacy.

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Reason 1,750 Why I Love Morocco: Apparently, ambassadors, at least the Angolan one, take the well-being of their citizens and their spouses very seriously. Hamdulillah.

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Reason 1,843 Why I Love Morocco: No matter what you need, there’s always a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy.

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Moroccan street vendor selling pomegranate juice.

Reason 1,800 Why I Love Morocco: A large glass (not plastic, even though it’s a street vendor) of delicious, freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice is only $1.50.

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Reason 1,242 Why I Love Morocco:

The Marrakech medina is actually just many little medinas within one enclosure

Most neighborhoods, whether in a big city or small town, still adhere to a medina mentality, meaning most daily needs are within only a few blocks. Each small area typically has a butcher, a green grocer, a dry cleaner, a hammam, a baker (or community oven), a barber/hairdresser, at least four cafés, a pharmacy, hardware store, tailor, a dry goods shop, and endless small convenience stores. What’s not in a shop, is usually at a nomadic stand that shows up every morning. Often, there are also shops for clothing and shoes, doctors’ offices, gyms, and small restaurants.

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Ubiquitous and endlessly useful.

Reason 1,233 Why I Love Morocco: Everything is possible with WhatsApp—doctor’s appointments, car repair, hotel reservations, fish mongers, taxi pick-ups, you name it. Of course, one must obtain the numbers first, but there’s always a friend of a friend of a friend whose brother knows just the man you need.

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Isli Lake near Imilchil

Reason 1,200 Why I Love Morocco: When you’re in a tiny mountain village that’s so small it doesn’t have an ATM (the nearest one is an hour away), and you also want to buy a beautiful, handwoven carpet, but don’t have the funds for both that and the room, the hotel proprietor suggests you just send him the money for both when you get home.