On Day 2 of our Moroccan safari, somewhere between Boumalne Dades and Tinghir, Brooke and I found ourselves walking through a lush forest with a Berber guide. I’m horrible and can’t remember his name… let’s just call him Justin. Justin Berber.
He pointed at so many plants and asked us if we knew what they were. Brooke and I just laughed at our stupidity and said “No” each time. As he went on to explaining the diverse greenery around us, we nodded our heads with a resounding “Ahhhhhh, that’s what that is!”. This entire time, I’m thinking we are about to be kidnapped and sold as slaves. In a minute now, someone is going to jump out of these palm trees and onion bushes (yes, onions grow in bushes in my story) and snatch us up.
It didn’t happen. But hey, Never Say Never. Get it? Ha. Hahhaaa. Hahaaaaaaaaaa. Justin Bieber.
ANYWAY, I think if you asked Brooke, she might say the next worse thing happened to us. We were escorted unknowingly to a Berber Rug store. I thought it was really neat. I was having a ball, asking the salesman ridiculous questions.
“Is baby camel hair easy to get?”
“How do you feel about employing such old women to make these rugs?”
“Can I have more tea?”
I’m just kidding. I didn’t ask any of those questions. But it seemed as soon as we arrived at this salesman’s house in the middle of nowhere Tinghir, he was ready to SELL SELL SELL. He offered us tiny stools to sit on while an old lady sat on the floor brushing wool in preparation for making a rug.
I gave up my stool for a little bit so I could sit with her and get my hands on that hair!
The salesman started pulling out all different kinds of rugs. Red ones, blue ones, green ones, tan ones. Ones made with camel fur, baby camel fur, sheeps wool. He was explaining all of the symbols. And any time Brooke or I showed the tiniest bit of interest in a rug, he would put it aside in a “They Might Buy Me” pile. I think this is why Brooke was uncomfortable. She hadn’t planned on buying a rug (neither had I) and this guy was really really REALLY trying to sell us each a rug.
We had no idea how much these rugs were going to cost. I wanted to have a private conversation with Brooke about it, but it didn’t seem possible in this man’s tiny home with his grandmother slaving away on the floor weaving a new rug right before our eyes. So I just sat quietly, sipping my tea while making faces at Brooke like “How do we get out of here?!” “How much do you think these cost?!” “Do you think that’s his grandmother?!” “Where did Justin Berber go?!”
Once the salesman was finished with his speech, he flat out asked us which rug we would like to own. Both Brooke and I were very hesitant to answer because there was NO WAY we would be able to afford any of these beautiful rugs. But as the salesman kept insisting we play his little game, I fessed up and pointed at a lovely blue rug made of baby camel hair. I immediately felt like I should have kept my mouth shut. Mr. Salesman asked how much I would be wiling to pay for it. I refused to answer because I didn’t want to offend him or his grandmother! I just absolutely knew there was no way I could give him the money he expected for the rug. After about 10 long painful minutes of not answering his question, we somehow arrived at $300. I smiled politely and said, “I’m really sorry, but there is no way I can pay that much. It is a lovely rug, but I can’t afford it.”
To which he replied, “Make me an offer.”
To which I jokingly said, “I can really only afford to spend about $90 here. I wasn’t even planning on buying a rug during this trip!”
To which he replied, “Ok, $90.”
To which I peed in my pants and said “WHAAAAAT?!”
Basically the same process happened with Brooke. She got a gorgeous beige rug with some Moroccan / Berber symbols woven into it.
He wrapped up my new gorgeous blue Berber rug.
I paid with my American Express card.
And Brooke and I continued our on-foot tour with Justin Berber around Tinghir.