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From a Tourist's Eyes
11:05:30 AM Tuesday Oct 28, 2008

I was at some fancy shmancy event in Beverly Hills last night, and it seemed like half the guests had all been to Morocco as American and Israeli tourists, mostly to places like Marakkech, Fez, Ouarzazate, Tangier. I've always been wary of the very concept of tourism and its elitist origins, despite its perceived economic benefits, and I differentiate strongly between the concept of a traveller and that of a tourist. The two concepts are radically different. So it was kind of hard for me to stand there listening to people telling me about their great adventures, their wonderful guides (all named Mohamad by the way), the beautiful hotels they stayed at, the amazing dancers, etc, etc, etc.

One designer that spoke with me at length was particularly outrageous, but funny too. Granted she'd already had a couple of drinks too many, but clearly she was also very bored and grabbed on to me asking if I spoke Arabic and if I'd ever been to Fez. "Have you??" I asked, before realizing she couldn't wait to spend an hour talking about her amazing world travels. She described to me how her ferry from Spain to Tangier was delayed hours, and how they arrived late at night, greeted by their guide Mohamad, a "beautiful tall young man from the South" whom she instantly fell in love with, how she wanted to kiss his feet the moment she saw him (in her own words), and how he was such a wonderful guide and took them to all the best places safely and comfortably. "I never saw a single beggar or any trash on the streets anywhere," she exclaimed. I secretly wondered exactly which Morocco this genie had magically transported her to. "But then we went to see the tanneries in Fez and my God it smelled so horrible, and here were these poor little 12 year old boys up to their knees in lye, and I was so shocked! Mohammad, I said to our guide, this is so horrible, this would never be allowed in my country!!"

To which her guide's response was, "Madame, this is not your country."

I found it all rather interesting, trying to get into her mind and see things the way she did. Quite an impossible endeavor for me but interesting no less. Clearly, she lived in a bubble in her Beverly Hills mansion, and had probably never seen Watts or Compton, much less places like Skid Row in LA. Part of me wanted to tell her, actually, yes things even worse than that do happen in your country, right in your city. You've just been blinded by your own massive marble walls. And those little boys made leather that no doubt your fancy coat tonight is sewn from.

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7:57 pm    November 15, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
When I go to Morocco I hardly ever tell anyone that I am an American -(they usually want to know if I want to marry their son or brother). What is wonderful about being dark skinned and French speaking is that I am perceived as being from another African country. I get to experience Morocco on my own terms and blend in like a chameleon (sometimes it nice to be invisible).
It's sometimes funny to see White Americans floundering about, mouths gaping and pointing to sights that they would never see at Disney World and rather embarrassing at times when a huge Texan tries to say something witty with his southern American accent but comes off sounding stupid. All I can think is that at least they are trying to get out and see a different side of life. Everyone I ever ran into who has been to Morocco has enjoyed it and has had a great experience. That is a very good compliment to the country and her people.
I think people who travel just to say they've been there done that usually like to stay at fancy places where they are catered to and never have to get their boots dirty. They wouldn't be interested in picking out their own fish and cooking it on the beach with the locals and having a little shi-sha after lunch. I'm happy that I don't have to share that side of Morocco with them either.

2:39 pm    November 11, 2008

Salem message
Yesterday, while driving back home from work, I was listening to a radio program where a young movie maker: Nureddeen Lakhmari, was invited and interviewed by both the program facilitator directly and the public via phone calls. Mr. Lakhmari who spoke half Arabic half french with an American accent, (which means he may have lived in the US for sometime), was answering the questions by presenting his views, his concepts, his strategies ... about the movie industry in Morocco.

The specific movie he recently made, entitled "Casa Negra", was in the center of the discussion. This movie has been the subject of frequent discussions in the media these days, which indicates that the movie is achieving some success. I have not seen the movie yet.

One of the messages he said he wanted to send to the largest public worldwide is that "Morocco is a place where there is not only camels and donkeys, there is for sure an invaluable secular culture, a rich civilization... If you leave only foreigners (Hollywood) make movies about Morocco", he said, "you cannot get the genuine image of it. Moroccan investors need to give the young movie makers the chance to show what Morocco really is through good successful movies the make with heart and skill".


3:18 pm    October 30, 2008

hudhud message
but.. I have to say.. as a tourist anywhere, you would never know any community or place as intimately as a local native would, nor would you feel the same emotional connection to that place..
I guess it depends what on'es goal is .. to feel some sense of belonging, or just visit a new place and discover it for a short while.

6:46 pm    October 29, 2008

Adnane Ben. message
I wish I could experience the feeling of seeing Morocco for the first time from the eye of a Westener. Most foreigners to Morocco, who come with an open mind, seek adventure, the adrenaline rush, or savour their artistic thirst and intellect, most of them usually have something revealing, interesting and unique to say about our Morocco even we couldn't have expressed better. Just check out Matisse's paintings, Claudio Bravo's masterpieces, Paul Bowles novels, and on another extreme check out the amazing independent films produced by North African immigrants and diaspora in Europe.


12:07 pm    October 29, 2008

Salem message
Yeah Hudhud. If you write the book (Novel) you once "promised", many people, not only in America, but in many other places in the world, would beautifully know more about Morocco.

Thank you for your notes. Some of them are just amazing. What a style in Shakespeare language!


hudhud's notes (47)
A Year for Tlemcen..
generation news ..
where did the spaniard go?..
why khaled will always remain king..
from business English to business French....
Chicken Bastilla Alger Style..
el mektoub, el mektoub..
3D views of famous mosques and palaces..
Rest in Peace Miriam Makeba..
Walking to Guantanamo - book & photos by Richard Fleming..
From a Tourist's Eyes..
Waiting for Pasolini || En Attendant Pasolini..
La Maison Jaune || The Yellow House film by Amor Hakkar..
on the politics of blaming history.....
Samira's Garden directed by Latif Lahlou..
Dayton, Ohio mosque targeted in 'gas incident'..
eidkoum mebrouk..
Obsession with Hate..
"home is where the heart is.."..
Coming to a Sky Near You: Total Lunar Eclipse..
Reading the Koran - an Essay by Tariq Ramadan..
Amina Alaoui Lyrics..
Amina Alaoui..
Hrira Tastes Better with.....
The Ancient Texts of Timbouktou..
the Wonderful World of Weaving..
Take me to La Casbah....
Morocco In Between..
Name that Poet..
Cheikha Rimitti: 83 Years of Life.....
The Prayer of Taif..
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam..
Hotel Figueroa - Mexican Morrocana..
Roman Ruins in North Africa..
Great Mosques..
Recipe: Quince Preserves..
Andalusi terminology..
Receipe: Almond Crescents..
Al-Andalus: Words Worth Gold..
Vintage travel posters..
Khoubz eddar..

Nouria El Yacoubi From Figuig: Moroccan Champion of Karate Cannot See Her Opponent

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