Africa

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Reason 513 Why I Love Morocco, especially after being abroad: There is a camaraderie, a genuine friendliness among people, even toward strangers. Just asking a question at the airport in broken Arabic gets a warm smile and friendly touch on the shoulder.

Morocco’s Southern Coast

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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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Reason 318 Why I Love Morocco: Many people I meet for the first time while walking around insist I stay with them next time I’m in town.

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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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Reason 317 Why I Love Morocco: Sometimes, when people in larger, northern cities find out you work in the south, where their families are, they call in favors and get you a 30% price reduction on new eyeglasses.

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Reason 248 Why I Love Morocco: Sometimes, when you show up early for the bus, the bus drivers take you to breakfast.

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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.

Reason 3,004 Why I Love Morocco:

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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.