A Rug from Tangiers

rug

In 2014, we spent our last DoD school spring break on Spain’s Costa del Sol (where it rained and/or was chilly for most of the week, but that’s another story). While there, we decided to do a day trip to Morocco, a place we’d wanted to visit for a long time, but the timing had never been right.

From our location in Spain, the easiest place in Morocco to visit is Tangiers, which was great since I had taken an interest in the city in recent years (check out this link from my old blog, which explains the beat/bohemian mystique quite well).

While a few days there would certainly have been preferable, time didn’t allow–plus, our son’s tourist passport had actually expired (!), so we couldn’t take him outside the EU at the time. He had his official passport, but using it would have been something of a no-no and not a thing to try in Morocco. So, we left him (I should mention that he was 16) at our Spanish Airbnb lodgings for the day, happily alongside laptop, snacks, and bed, and drove to the port city to buy tickets and board a ferry.

We took the ferry across the strait and met up with our tour bus. Though group tours are seldom our thing, with such a short amount of time and so much to see and do, this was by far the most practical option. The obligatory camel-ride stop near the start of the bus ride didn’t interest us, but we amused ourselves from inside the bus by watching our fellow travelers awkwardly boarding these ships of the desert at the roadside stop, just to have their picture taken, be dumped just as awkwardly back onto the hot pavement, then pressured into buying a fez they will never wear again.

But we made other very interesting but touristy stops and saw some of the beautiful coastline before stopping for a wonderful, semi-authentic lunch. Later, we kept falling behind the rest of the group as we greedily took one photo after another in the maze-like Petit Socco and the old Medina. And then: we were free to SHOP for an hour or so on our own! We found some pretty cool things (including my slippers, pictured above), for pretty decent prices, and Husband definitely had fun haggling. This cashmere rug, though, was TOUGH.

I really, really wanted this particular rug, and whispered this repeatedly to Husband as he settled deeply into crazed pro-haggling mode. Following a lowball beginning, which was brushed off with simulated disgust, I was afraid we’d end up losing the rug over a $20 difference of opinion. But naturally, the friendly but shrewd shop employee was willing to work with Husband–to a point. After half an hour or so of going back and forth (and complimenting each other’s bargaining skills), while the employee also tried to steer me toward much-larger rugs and Husband tried to interest me in cheaper non-cashmere ones, I held firm and the bargainers finally came to an agreement they could both be somewhat happy with. We paid for the rug, and it was rolled up and folded into a compact version of itself, and we set off for a last-minute meet-up with our group.

After settling in Germany for a short time, the rug now lies on our living room floor in South Carolina, where it seems to feel quite at home–happy, I’d like to think, at not being left behind over a mere twenty bucks.

*To see some of the photos we took on that quick trip, go here.

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