Abdul drove us as far as he could towards the centre but was finally obliged to stop at a gate which marked the beginning of the pedestrianised area of the Medina. The Fez souk is claimed to be one of the largest contiguous vehicle free areas in the world but it is not completely without traffic because this pedestrianised restriction relates only to motorised transport and there were plenty of push carts, bicycles and donkeys to keep an eye out for once inside the congested narrow streets.
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When I was in Morocco, the same thing happened to me almost to the point of being eerily identical. The transportation, the sales pitch and my response.
But that is not why I write.
I write to tell you that you must go easy on the Berbers, because these could well be my people.
Many Welsh people have puzzled as to how they could be Celts, since all the Celts THEY know are 6 feet tall with red hair, light complexions and green eyes! (These folk are all over, in the Republic of Ireland.)
And yet your average Welshman is short, stocky and swarthy.
And to add intrigue to the suggestion, it is fascinating that some Berber and Welsh words are similar.
This “we are not Celts but Berbers” theory gets added impetus from these pix:
Here is Berber Man:
And this webpage is one of many which deal with this theory:
You will subscribe to this view I am sure Andrew, seeing as the Berbers fined you for speeding recently in Powys!
Oh and here is the clincher photo: the great Gareth Edwards looking more like a Berber than ever!
This is a bit like the debate about the origin of the Basques and its an issue that is simply not relevant to us mongrel English with our eclectic gene mix of Celt, Angle, Saxon, Jute, German, Norman etc.
Nice story, Andrew! I’d really love to visit Fez and Marrakech someday but from your story, I should not be so curious when visiting the shops or find myself buying a truckload of carpet 😉
The shop keepers are very persistent – by the second night you are saying ‘no thank you’ in your sleep!
We also had a very similar experience when we were in Fez, which just goes to underline one of my main frustrations with visiting Morocco: no matter what you do there, you will only be a tourist. Normally when Alex and I travel we try to blend in a bit more, experience something more authentic, but I’d say pretty much the whole time we were in Morocco we were seen as nothing more than walking cash machines. I’m afraid in the end that wore me down and while there were some things I enjoyed about our time in the country, the bad experiences won out in the end. (Being told to f*** off back to our own country on our first day was another good one!)
We were invited to go home in a similarly aggressive way on a couple of occasions on our second day in Fez.