Observations

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Reason 12 Why I Love Angola: Nearly everyone is consistently, impressively, immaculately dressed. Seriously, these are some of the most stylish people I’ve ever seen and they don’t shy from vibrant colors.

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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.

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My first tajine, which I made to mark the start of Ramadan 2015. It had potatoes, zucchini, onions, tomatoes and olives.

Reason 1,049 Why Love Morocco: The tajine. Not the meal, but the cookware. I’m so integrated at this point that I don’t know how I’ve live my adult years without one. I use it every day. It’s a pressure cooker, a crock-pot, a deep-fryer, popcorn maker, and “microwave” all in one. It’s truly a wonder.

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Typical dentist sign

Reason 999 Why I Love Morocco: A professional, quality teeth cleaning done by the dentist himself is only $40 and a new ceramic crown is a mere $400. Even better, my insurance should cover most of it.

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Moroccan butcher in Agadir

Reason 933 Why I love Morocco: Despite the rapid move toward modernization, especially in the massive metropolis of Casablanca, there remains a culture of trust and goodwill that permeates informal relationships.

The latest of innumerable examples: My local butcher, who’s known me only a week or so, sent me away with my purchase, even though I’d forgotten my money, and told me I could pay when I able. Incha’Allah.

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Moroccan sweet mint tea

Moroccan sweet mint tea

Reason 902 Why I Love Morocco: Befriending the neighborhood mint seller means a standing invitation for tea.

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Small grammatical errors should be forgiven when one's writing in his or her tertiary or quaternary language.

Small grammatical errors should be forgiven when one’s writing in his or her tertiary or quaternary language.

Reason 888 Why I Love Morocco: Almost everyone speaks at least two languages, most speak three, many speak four, and it’s not unusual to find someone who can speak as many as six or seven with reasonable fluency. Yet, to a person, all are equally, incredibly humble about this amazing talent..

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Hard at work

Hard at work

Reason 742 Why I love Morocco: It’s difficult to find an audience for complaining. The general consensus is “everything is as it should be.”

The other day, it was 110°F/45°C. As I went about doing my errands suffering and complaining to locals about the temperature, every response was, “Thank God for the heat.”