“Here is another ice cream for you. Free” said the ice cream vendor holding out an ice cream cone with 3 different scoops of ice creams, exactly like the ones that we dropped on the floor.
We were shocked.
We accidentally dropped the ice cream cone onto the sidewalk in front of the store. As seasoned travelers, we immediately picked up the ice cream from the floor, scooped away the parts that were dirty, and continued to lick the delicious and multi-colored ice cream. However, without us asking or realizing it, the vendor saw that we dropped it on the floor and proceeded to give us another 3 scoops of ice cream, absolutely free. So we ended up with 6 scoops of ice cream for US$1.5!
This was our first encounter with the people of Morocco. It proved not to be an exception but as one of the many acts of kindness, generosity, and friendliness that we received in our one month of traveling in Morocco.
We couldn’t communicate with words, But by actions I learned what words couldn’t say— “Try this!” “Try that. “This is for you to remember us by.” You showed me that hospitality grows from generosity, A loving heart and willing hands is all that is necessary. A wide smile connects heart to heart. A small gift bonded you and me.
I always thought conversations form the bedrock of friendships, A commons language is the key to know and get to know. But now I know that I was wrong. Hospitality requires no language, Just an open heart to give, A brave soul to try and A readiness to go.
The desert tent site was surrounded by sand dunes away from all other sites. We weren’t able to finish the multi-course Berber meals and we danced and sang the night away around the campfire. Best of all, the sky was dark allowing us to see clearly the milk way and multiple shooting stars throughout the night. Lying on the sand looking up at the sky, I felt like Abraham when God assured him that his descendants will be as numerous as the sands on the ground and stars in the sky. As any good Chinese, who took numerous photos, did all sorts of jumping, rolling, headstand photos as the sun sank beneath the sand, and of course, woke up early in the morning to say hi to the sun as it rose up from beneath the sands. Zyad also brought a snowboard for us to surf down the steep dunes just as we did 12 years ago in Peru.
At Fes, I bought a traditional Berber overall, which reminds us of Jawas in Star Wars and in the new TV series Mandalorian. My children had a lot of fun taking photos and videos of me pretending to be Jawas.
We even climbed up to the tallest sand dune in the area and I played spike ball as Jawas on the top and ran down exhilaratingly down the 50-story high dune.
Right after we arrived on a night bus, we went on a 4×4 SUV tour of a Berber village, a mineral mine, a nomadic village, and a roller coaster ride up and down and left and right on the Sahara sand dunes. We got to eat “Berber pizza” in a nomadic tent!