Local punished for good deed

In the letter “Car and Driver in Morocco” (July ’07, pg. 34), the writer mentioned that his driver was not a licensed guide and could not be seen behaving as one. That brought to mind a trip my husband, Steven, and I made to Morocco in April 2001.

We were staying at a hotel a few blocks from the medina and, throwing caution to the wind, we decided we could maneuver the medina without a guide. We did, however, remember that all the travel books said not to pick up a guide who is not licensed.

We were barely inside the gates when a very drunken Moroccan man wanted to be our guide and would not stop following us. He was very obnoxious.

I left it up to Steven — at 6'5" and 235 pounds — to deal with the man, as he was more aptly equipped. I pretended to window-shop.

As the man was getting more abusive, Steven finally said in a loud voice, “No! Go away. We do not need your services.”

The man then said to my husband, “You don’t come to my country and tell me to go away. I will cut you with my knife.”

I ducked into a store and asked the proprietor if he had a side door he could let us out of because the man outside would not leave us alone. He said, “Absolutely,” and said he would lead us out of the medina.

As he was doing this, the police came up to him, asked for his papers, then took his papers and identification away from him, saying he was operating as a tourist guide illegally. They wouldn’t even listen to him, that he owned a store and we were lost and he was just showing us out.

We felt so badly for this kind soul. We tried to pay him several times for his effort, but he would not hear of it, saying that if he did something good for someone, something good would happen to him. But first he had to go back to the police and pay some money to get his papers back.

Remember, in Morocco only use licensed drivers and guides.


Las Vegas, NV