Sunday, 10 February 2013

A camel called Ray

I really wish I had a photo of the funniest Berber we've met but I haven't so I'll just set the scene...
We'd been hanging out, lounging around and drinking mint tea on the beach about a mile south of Essaouira.
We were heading back to the Medina, weaving and dodging the beach sellers offering us genuine Rolex watches and rayban sunglasses at knock down prices when we met Mr Berber. We'd developed a good dodge. Whenever a seller approached us, we'd part and walk either side of him. He didn't know if he should persuade Himself to buy for me or chase me as the likely decision maker on purchases and by the time he'd worked it out we'd gone and the next tourist/ victim was coming along.
So we did the swerve on Mr Berber who immediately spun round and called "Heyyyy, where you go?!" His reaction was so surprised I started laughing and turned back to say we weren't buying today. That was all he needed to start a conversation. Pointing to some distant palms he told us that was his Berber village where he lived with his 2 wives and 9 sons. Of course we looked sympathetically at him about the two wives and he looked sad too. "Yes, I marry the first one and she very pretty, very slim. Then too much cous cous and..." He puffed out his cheeks and made a fat gesture. "So, I get another wife. She very nice, very pretty but then the cous cous..." By now we were laughing and he asked us if we were English, we said we were and he looked surprised. "You English? But you laugh, English not laugh, English are miserable!" Then talking to Himself, Mr Berber asked "Your lady, she very pretty, she your secretary or your wife?" Then he pulled out a raggedy wallet, "Look, look here, is a picture of my camel." I blinked and asked why he carried a picture of his camel and he explained he worked for the local hotel and they made him carry a camel passport to show he was official, not just a street hawker. "My camel is beautiful, he is called Ray and he has big blue eyes." By now I was more than happy to sit back and enjoy the show. "See how he smiles? I give him chewing gum and it makes him smile, he loves chewing gum." Then he very gently tried to persuade us to buy some jewellery but we moved off thanking him for his time and he waved cheerily to show his pic of his camel to the next tourists....

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