Morocco trip journal: Shopping for my 50-dirham friend

My friend J is one of the few people I’ve known my entire life. Now that we’re responsible adults, she’s an enthusiastic supporter of my travels and I return the favour with fun stories, absurd photos, and interesting presents. This one combines all three.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Had the most fun in the souks today. This is our third day here and we’ve gotten the hang of navigating the tiny corridors and intricate transactions. Tons of Europeans arriving today for the long weekend. You can smell the fresh arrival on them as they bargain for knock-off watches and sunglasses.

Undertook some very dramatic bargaining for fridge magnets. When we completed our transaction, the shopkeeper asked if I was really Canadian and not a Berber woman. My hard-shopping crew has been asked that a lot, and we doubt it’s a compliment.

By far, the most fun was had bargaining with Abdul in the silver souks. I was looking for a gift for my friend J in the 50 dirham range, but he tried to cajole me into buying a small silver hamsa for 200 dirhams. We went back and forth for some time:

“Isn’t she a good friend? I make you a good price. 200 dirhams.”
“No Abdul, she’s a 50 dirham friend, c’est tout!”
“My children will go without food! 180 dirhams.”

I got him down to 55 dirhams, but then the real negotiation began.
“We should eat cake to celebrate! I have cakes here, let’s eat them!”
“I’m sorry Abdul, my friends are waiting for me so we can move on and buy more gifts.”
“Maybe your friends would like some nice jewelry. For you and your friends, I make a very good price. Let’s eat cake!”
“I’m sorry Abdul, I appreciate the offer, but we have to go. Can we take a picture so I can show my friend J that we finished our negotiation as friends?”
“Yes, let’s include the cake!”


L: Abdul & cake; R: Me & a silver hamsa
L: Abdul & cake; R: Me & a silver hamsa

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  1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m honoured to be in the “50 dirham friend” category… but just out of curiosity, what would constitute a “200 dirham friend”?

    I love my hamsa 🙂


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