To get to Fez, six of us jammed into a beat up Mercedes taxi headed back to Meknes (it´s the system and you just have to bear with it). Once back in Meknes, we headed to the train station which would deliver us to Fez.
While at the train station cafe 'it' happenened before we even knew what hit us.
"Hello, are you going to Fez"?, in perfect English
"And where are you from"?
He was very smooth, the story elaborate and once we arrived in Fez, after checking into our hotel, we met him and his 'uncle' near a mosque as we agreed to get lunch together. We ended up going to his father´s house, or so we were told and his cousins and aunt were fixing lunch for us.
It was a wonderful lunch in a beautiful house, but before long it was time to go, and it just so happened his other uncle, who like the first uncle also worked on his fathers farm, whose english was pretty good, was going to the Medina and could drop us off. We had a grand tour of the city, but the only place we were getting dropped off was the ceramics factory, seemingly miles from anywhere we would want to be. An interesting tour and limited pressure to buy ceramics. We got out of there relatively easy. Then more touring, finally parking near the Medina, and off to a Jewish temple, which wasn´t a temple after all, but a sale of `treasures´ left from the temple that was once there. A classic character in full white suit, gold chains and hair like it had been electrocuted led us around. When it was clear no purchase was forthcoming, it was time for none other than the carpet shop. The show was impressive, lengthy, at times repetitive and in the end, we had to offer a price for our ´favorite carpet´. Nevermind our repetition that no carpet was being purchased today, a price needed to be offered. $500 was not accepted for a $4500 carpet and we were given our walking papers.
Julia was beside herself, Tomas was trying to find his was out of the medina. Our heads were numb. As much as we had tried, we just spent 3.5 hours being hoodwinked. They were good...very, very good.
After a well deserved beer, we donned our Inspector Clouseau hats and deduced that nothing, not one thing in our new friends story was true - not the farm, not the uncle's who ran the farm, not his father's house or his fathers real estate busines, not his potential Lebanese girlfriend in Santa Monica. Nada. And the house - it was really the carpet salesman's house. His cousins and aunts - actually, the carpet salesman's wife and daughters. Very, very good - took a lot of practice!
After a good laugh, we then thought that for a nice lunch in a beautiful Moroccan house, a tour of the city, some entertainment and spending not one cent, it wasn´t as much a waste of time as originally thought.
But it´s time to get the h€!l outta Morocco! We have met many wonderful people here, but they are outnumbered by the ones trying to slyly, or not so slyly, take every last cent you own. We will not be late for our flight, that is certain!