Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just one touch

After spending about 20 hours close to facilities (Gastroenteritis: 1, Erin: 0), I needed to get out for some fresh air. We were in Essaouira, a fortressed city on Morocco's Atlantic coast, complete with beach and wind (more of the second).

view from the Essaouira ramparts

We headed out along the beach, walking to where the river empties into the waves to the south. After saying no to many men selling type II spice cake, and avoiding being beheaded by beginner kite surfers coming to shore, we hit the area of the beach where Moroccans peddle camel rides.

Hello, Madame? French? English? German? You want to ride my camel?

No, thank you.

Yes, you want to ride my camel.

La, shukran.

He is a special camel, nicest to ride. I will not push....but, just touch my camel. Touch the head. Just a little touch. It is the nicest camel to touch the head of. Touching my camel will make you have a nice time, and if you touch you will want to ride.

(Now my interest, especially in the words of this conversation, are peaked.)

I promise, my camel is nice and is the best camel to touch. Just touch the head. Please. Just Touch. Touching is the most fun thing that you can do here in Morocco. Just one touch.

Shake my head and smile.

Okay. But you would like to touch. I know this without any doubts. You will enjoy it more than you know.

He said these words with the most determination in his certainty than anyone I have seen over the age of 4. And, even though I had no interest in touching camels at the time, my mind started an argument with the invisible camel man on my shoulder. Maybe I would like just one touch, who knows.

Touch my camel's head. Like this (demonstrating). Just one touch. I promise it will change your life...

I think what impressed me the most was his belief in his product. He would've won the 110% award in salesmanship school. If he didn't really believe that just a touch of his camel would want me to take a ride over the sand dunes into the sunset, then he was the best imposter I've met. I didn't touch the head of a camel (no matter how delightfully dirty that sounds), but his certainty was impressive. It has been a long time since I have been as certain as this man was about the head of his camel than I have been about...well, anything.

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