Next stop: Marrakech. The arrival in late afternoon, with 2 brief history lessons and camel encounters along the way, had the TF longing for independence. Checking in at a 5-star hotel with chef-prepared food made everyone very happy. The next morning, it was back on the bus heading for Marrakech’s Jemma El Fna, another giant bazaar full of artworks, crafts, and Joe’s favorite: carpets. Being an open market, the group separated with a meeting place at 4PM. The Australians went shopping, the elderly English couple looked for a tea house with chairs and a bathroom. The barristers, the judge, and his sister hung out together while the Mexicans went looking for Cerveza. Catherine tagged along with the interpreter and the stocky Arab while the Argentines were motor mouthing away, which pissed off all the Arab men. Joe was greeted by “carne” who wrapped a snake around Joe’s neck for a photo. The picture cost $10, not for the photo but merely to release the snake. Joe’s picture showed a forced smile accented with his clenched fists after yesterday’s fiasco. Enough of this shopping mall shit, Joe headed for a tower crane off in the distance. Being in construction, he went to watch them work. Arab architecture is magnificent, and their stucco trade is superb. Afterwards, as they all met up, it was off to Casablanca for the night. Another stop enroute served dates and sweetened mint tea. Sugar buzzes may explain Arab behavior. The lawyers from Columbia questioned Joe as to why he always bought a can of Coke for the stocky Arab who spoke no English whenever the bus stopped. Joe replied, “you are in a 3rd world country. Every time we stop, he gets out 1st and looks all around. That man is your bodyguard and is paid to protect you.” At the next stop, the husky Arab had 4 more Cokes in front of him as the word got out among the Spanish groups. Joe chuckled and went over to the Columbians and asked, “why would you 2 go visit a country where you do not know the language?”

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