After a roughly fourteen hour journey, two flights, and a four hour layover in Paris, our group of 12 (including Dr. Amster and I) had finally arrived in the Islamic North African country of Morocco.
When one enters a new country with a different culture than their own, it’s best to keep an open mind. However, this thought put me in a situation I was not expecting.
As we arrived at the Mohammed V International Airport, in Casablanca, Morocco, we had a chance to finally interact with the people of Morocco. While waiting in line at customs, I made eye contact with a gentleman who was further in the line than I was. Me, being a friendly individual, said Salaam and possibly have invited the lad to chat. I soon found out this individual didn’t speak english – a language barrier that I am now used to. Due to this, I went back to staring at the custom officers awaiting my release from this dreadful line.
This lad, however, had other plans in mind. The next time I turned to my right, this individual went in for a handshake. I obliged, only to realize this wasn’t going to be a normal handshake. The gentleman left his side of the line and was now next to me and my group. Discombobulated with what was going on, the lad tried to shake Jen’s hand (which was denied), only to shake mine again. He then cut in front of me (as I was almost next in line to get my passport stamped by a customs officer) to leave the customs area a little faster. Only then did I realize what had just occurred, how I had been duped, and how little I could have done to stop him.
I guess this was my welcome to Morocco!