The return of my shoes


Paul Harvey may be dead, but now you get the rest of the story on my shoes. Yesterday, I returned to the shop of Mohammad the Cobbler where my shoes were in exactly the same state they were in when Hanane and I left two days ago. As soon as we left, the work stopped. Amazingly predictable but still astounding.

I was with Hanane’s brother, also named Mohammad. He speaks some french, but I speak little and so when he and I wander around together we have conversations that are probably about two entirely different things, but he is a good guy and fun to pal around with. One thing to get used to is the affection between people of the same sex here, much different than in the USA. Mohammad who is one year older than I, happily married with a son and another child on the way, likes to hold my hand while we stroll or to stroll arm in arm with me. This is fairly normal in the Arab world, but though I try to deal with it, I just can’t and so I’ve tried to explain the reasons I don’t like holding hands with a man. My best approach has been that it distracts me from seeing stray autos that might run me down or nabbing theives that are trying to pick my pockets.

I should explain here, that while I am sure there is crime aplenty in Morocco, I think the average Moroccan is much more concerned with being stolen from than the odds warrant. Nearly all of the Moroccans I have met (with a few notable exceptions) are more likely to add a few dirhams to your pocket when you aren’t looking than to take them. So it is a people who are always expecting to be robbed, but are not likely to rob you themselves. When I first arrived in Sefrou, the warnings of Hanane and her family made me almost neurotic, but at this point, I am still aware, but not quite as paranoid as they are.

So in any event, Mohammad, my soon to be brother in law, and I visited Mohammad the cobbler, and what I think the cobbler said to me was that he was terrified of Hanane and thought she was a homicidal maniac who would kill him. He was joking of course, but the truth is already today she has said she will kill me five times and we have only been awake for a half hour or so. In an average day she says she will kill me at least 30 times, so no doubt she also told the cobbler that she would kill him. I know she said if my shoes weren’t like new, she would destroy his shop, so he was joking, but yeah, the girl I love is a bit insane…just as she has to be for me to love her.

It took about 15 minutes to finish my shoes. Not perfect, but pretty good and when I asked how much, the cobbler said, whatever you think is best! I offered him 20 dirhams expecting him to ask for more but instead he asked me for less and the grand total was about $2 u.s. He’s a nice guy and didn’t mind when I asked to take his picture. In fact he told me to take a picture of his cobbler’s license.


Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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