Observations

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Reason 410 Why I Love Morocco: An hour-long session with the barber for a trim and a straight-razor shave, where the most extreme care is taken about even the smallest detail, runs me $1.50. Plus, as an added bonus, I come out looking über-handsome.

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.”

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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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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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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 sweet mint tea

Moroccan sweet mint tea

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