Come away with me to Canada.
After teaching abroad in London, UK; Marrakech, Morocco; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; I went back to Australia for a visit and a push of the personal 'refresh' button in my home country. But the adventure did not stop there. Now, I am in Ontario, Canada, on a new adventure.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Disrespectful tourists and the Waterman
Jeff and I sat at our favourite cheap eat in the Jmaa El Fna (main square in the medina), watching the tourists and locals walk and ride by. I love to sit there and people watch from the table with the unobstructed street view of the square, but which also says ‘don’t approach me’. I love to watch the veiled women hold their photo albums of hennaed hands to the western women as they walk by, to see the well dressed young men unsuccessfully selling balloons, wooden snakes, watches, glasses and recycled cola bottles filled with Argan oil.
On one particular day a colourful Berber Waterman caught my eye. He was being swallowed by his outfit of mammoth red and green hat and faded red tunic. His weathered skin and dark moustache made him look very grandfatherly. He was trying to talk to the tourists who walked by, camera in hands. No one wanted any water. No one wanted a chat. So I was feeling sorry for the Waterman, thinking I would soon go over for a glass of water. Then two blonde women approached him, lifted their cameras, and took a portrait shot. He held out his hand for some obligatory coins and the women rudely shook their heads, ignored him and walked away. Not a smile, no permission asked for the photo, no courtesy.
So I went and asked the Waterman for a photograph. He smiled politely showing his browned and missing teeth. He lifted his tongue and made that high pitched ‘lalalalala’ noise and Jeff snapped away. He was also very grateful for the coins that landed in his hand.