It’s been a week since I arrived in Morocco and set foot on African soil to follow my dream. And what a week it was. I ate Moroccan tajine, saw goats running in the street, heard the muezzin’s call for prayer every morning at 6am, saw gorgeous beaches and met my five new moroccan friends.
I arrived around 6:30pm in Taghazout after a bumpy taxi ride in a 30-year-old Mercedes. After checking-in at the hostel, I took a look around the village. I asked where the closest ATM was as my wallet was running on empty, but it turned out there aren’t any nearby. The closest one is in the next village.
To get to the next village, you can either take the bus or a taxi. I was on my way to the bus station when I met Ahmed. A short man, in his thirties, with a big smile and a dark groomed mustache. He was leaning on his new shiny motor-scooter and offered me a ride to the bank for 50 dirham (11 dirham = 1 EUR). It seemed cheap, so I agreed. I understood later on that day that the bus ticket costs 5 dirham in one direction. Nevertheless, it was worth it, definitely! And what a ride it was. It was getting dark and the motor-scooter barely had any lights. Ahmed was speeding, the wind was strong and my hair was all over the place. I couldn’t see much of the road ahead, and maybe it was for the best.
As he was riding through the night, we talked. I told him that I’ll be staying in Taghazout for a while and I need a place. He told me he can help out and I should meet him at the same place tomorrow. Sounded like a plan!
Tuesday! I took a shower, had French breakfast and left the hostel filled with optimism and excitement in a search for a place to live. Ahmed showed me around but pretty much everything was horrible and terribly overpriced. I waved goodbye and told him I’ll see him around.
I wandered through the streets.
A tall guy stopped me and asked me if I needed help, it was Mohamed. I told him what I need, and no doubt he had places to show me. We walked through narrow paths between houses, shops and surf-rent spots, and I saw numerous places which unfortunately were not what I was looking for.
The next day I was walking by the fish market, when I heard someone calling my name. It was coming from a small cafe. Mohamed. I went inside, sat down and had an orangeade while we talked about our lives. Mohamed was 25 years old and he had a family of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He worked in the cafe and his home was upstairs. He had lived all his life in Taghazout. The only time he left the village was the time he visited one of his sisters in Casablanca — she got married there. He didn’t like the big city.
I told him I am a programmer and his eyes started shining. “So you can put photos of our houses on the Internet and tourists will come?” he asked impatiently. I answered “Yes”. He offered me a deal — if I put the photos online, I could have one of his rooms for free. It sounded like a good deal.
The room was small and dark — without windows — and I had to bow to be able to stand inside. It didn’t have a bed, but just an old mattress lying on the ground for a bed. He winked and told me he brings girls here from time to time. I told him I will think about it.
The day after, I saw him lying on the backseat of a taxi, he greeted me and asked how the search was going. I was puzzled — is he a taxi driver as well?
Meet “The Agent”
Next to a street phone there was a man, scouting for tourists. He had clean combed-backwards hair, dark sunglasses, a shirt and black pants. He looked very presentable. He introduced himself as “The Agent”. When I asked him what that meant, he answered he is a real estate agent.
After he showed me a few properties I asked him how commissions work around here — are they paid by the landlords or me? He promptly answered that I shouldn’t worry about it. I did worry about it, so I thanked him and told him I have to go. Before I left, he asked if I wanted some “chocolate”, that’s what they call the hash. He let me know that he sells the best and I should not buy the shit everyone else is selling. His was coming directly from the North, where the hash fields are. I politely declined and left.
It’s normal around here for people on the street to ask you if you want some hash. And that’s how I met Cool-Guy-With-Sunglasses. He is probably in his twenties, tall, strong and wears those American rapper’s shades. You could tell he is the hippest in the village.
He quickly showed me just one place, you could tell he had other stuff going on for him. The place was alright, somewhat clean with a very nice terrace overlooking the beach and the village square. I told him I will think about it, and come back to him in case I decide to rent it. We fist bumped and I left.
It was around 8pm the day after and I was walking down the street when I saw a motorcycle coming towards me and someone shouting “Heeyyy Filip”. It was Cool-Guy-With-Sunglasses riding it, he asked how it was going. Just before he left he checked proactively if I wanted some hash. They never get tired of hearing “No”, that’s what I call real hustlers.
I was walking on the beach and looking up at the village checking what houses I haven’t checked yet when I saw a guy waving at me. I came closer and that’s how I met Foed.
I came to know that most people live with their parents until they get married, but Foed was not one of them — he was independent. So when I asked him where he lived, he pointed straight to a tent in front of the house of his parents. I smiled.
He told me he will show me a very nice place, which sounded promising, but not before he took a shower and had some breakfast. He invited me to sit down and made me some Moroccan tea. In the meantime he poured water on top of himself from a big water bottle and had some bread.
The spot was 15 minutes away, so we had the chance to talk on our way there. Foed was a smart guy, 22 years old, his English was flawless. He wanted to live in the USA one day. I told him he should give the Green Card Lottery a shot. It turned out he had a Belgian girlfriend once, but that story didn’t have a happy end. He said she drank a lot of alcohol and smoked tons of hash, he couldn’t imagine his life with such a person.
We finally arrived. We knocked on the door and woke up the guy who was living there. They were good friends. The place was somewhat big, but it smelled like dogs — he had 5 dogs. I wanted to talk about the price, so I asked them. The owner said he is not able to think straight yet as he just woke up, so he should have some hash first. They prepared a bong and puffed away. I had to decline, I was there to do business after all.
They smoked a few bongs, we drank strong tea and watched surfers ride really big waves on TV. In the end they told me I’m chill and gave me the best price I’ve heard in the last few days.
I told them I will think about it, thanked them and left. It was a good deal, but I was going to have a hard time concentrating on my work with hash-head roommates and dogs barking all around me. I had to pass.
After walking the streets of Taghazout for five days, meeting lots of interesting faces, having the Moroccan stomach (going to the bathroom all the time), I finally found a place. It’s small but private, I have a double bed, small kitchen and a cosy terrace with the most amazing beach view. It also comes with stunning sunsets every evening! I’m ready to start coding. I’m happy.