The men of Marrakech are definitely romantics. No, “phwoar, get your tits out,” as you pass by a building site here. It is “Ya Ghazelle – Oh! Gazelle!” or, “Vous Etes Ravissante – You are ravishing!” Maybe it is due to the warm summer breezes, the roses that are planted everywhere, or the division of the sexes that makes everything just that little bit more exciting… but whatever it is, this is a very typical exchange.
Alice and the Taxi Driver (any taxi driver regardless of age or number of teeth remaining)
Alice: Peace be upon you.
TD: And upon you.
Alice: How are you?
TD: Not bad, how are you? How is everything?
Alice: Thanks be to God. How are you doing?
TD: Blessings of God be upon you, How are YOU doing?”
Alice: Thanks be to God, Lord of all the Worlds.
TD: You speak Arabic very well. Are you Lebanese? Egyptian?
Alice: Thank you. No, I am Scottish.
TD: Ahh Scotland, you are Swedish. Very. very cold there. It snows all the time.
Alice: Yes it does. (sometimes I explain where Scotland is but usually I just accept our move into Scandanavia.)
TD: Are you Muslim?
Alice: No, I am Christian.
TD: Oh, but why are you not Muslim? You have read the Quran and the Sira. Islam is the seal of religions. Will you become a Muslim?
Alice: May God bless you, we are all people of The Book, the Sons of Adam. (this is a good response for ALL occasions and questions of any kind)
TD: Are you married?
TD: WHAT??!! This is always a dangerous moment, as the taxi driver swivels round fully to face me, with a total disregard for road safety, and looks at me with a mixture of astonishment, pity and opportunity.
TD: But why are you not married? You are a GAZELLE! You are beautiful.
Alice: Well, thank you very much for the compliment.
TD: I will marry you.
Alice: Thank you + nervous laugh.
TD: No, no, no. You must be married. I will marry you. Here, take my phone number. My name is Mohammed. We should get married. I have a taxi.
By now, we have usually arrived at my destination, which is only a five minute ride away. Mohammed makes me put his phone number into my iphone, makes me promise to call him and we part the best of friends.