Sarra, a sweet lovely young lady appeared out of no where to help me get a cab to Dar Hoodoo. I had just arrived by train from Tangier. Dusk turned to darkness. I had had a pretty wild ride with an unwanted stranger. I had had to be on constant alert with a man who got into first class (I suspect with a second class ticket). I couldn’t sleep, read, or write with his hovering manner distracting me. I had all valuables tucked away in hidden pockets under my coat or I’m sure that I would had been pick pocketed. I was so grateful that a lady sat across from us so that I wasn’t alone with this bewildering man. All I wanted to do was sit back, relax, do some research, nap a little. I did end up taking movies of the trip. But I digress.
Just when I could have used a hand with my bag, he disappeared. but not after tugging at the back of my coat, saying it had flipped up. I hadn’t had a flipping problem before, so I suspected something else. Plus on the train he kept saying may I hold this or this thing for you? I kept saying no, no, no.I had been pick pocketed at a train station years before in France when I had a birdcage (from Sidi Bou Said, Tunesia) and baggage to maneuver. Help isn’t always help. That help had cost me $50 only because the bulk of my funds were in travelers’ checks in my money belt. (I should call this post “Digression”.)
So after this handsome man half my age had hammered and hammered at me about going on a date in Fez, I felt worn down, tired, perplexed at his persistence, and even somewhat annoyed. It’s a creepy feeling to hear a person saying things they don’t mean to distract you, the intended victim, in order to get something. I could tell that he wasn’t attracted to me. I knew he had an agenda. I just kept trying to figure out what it was he wanted, my smartphone, my money, or maybe both. I made it so obvious that I wanted to take my pictures and be alone. In hindsight, I see that he didn’t take the time to help me because he probably turned right back around to get back on the train without having to buy any ticket at all. What a con artist. And as inviting an invitation it was, I didn’t meet him at McDonald’s the next evening. Now don’t you think that approach might have needed work? So, the next day I emailed him that I wouldn’t be meeting him.You see, he badgered me till I said yes. He wouldn’t leave it alone. I felt sorry for him that he could possibly think me so naive. I knew he had no intention of meeting me; I just wanted to see out of curiosity if he had even given me a correct email. Just as I thought, it bounced back to me.
So by the time I rolled my small suitcase out the huge doors of the station, night had already taken over. Suddenly, lights from taxis swirled around the circular drive from maybe 30 cabs. Drivers pulled their cars as close to the entrance as possible, jumped out, and started yelling for me to get into their cabs. I wanted to be sure that they knew where I was going. I kept saying, amid the small amount of French I know, Dar Hoodoo, Dar Hoodoo. “Dar” means “door”. It’s sort of like “chez” in French, meaning house, like Chez Pierre might be a restaurant. Dar might be a hotel, or someone’s home.
Well, coming out shining like an Angel, Sarra said in English, “Hello. Where would you like to go?” Suddenly I rested easy. She knew exactly where I was going because, although remote within a gigantic medina, it was walking distance from her home. Amazing. Fez seemed like an exotic, but crowded city to me at that time. We rode together in the cab, talking, laughing, and looking at the bright colorful lights of the city. Ah, Morocco, how I miss your beauty and your call to prayer.