After two long days in the medina in Fez, how could we possibly say no to a third day in a medina here in Rabat? After a busy morning at Malaika, a group of us headed to the north of the Rabat medina and worked our way down to the south entrance. This experience was very different from our original trip to the Rabat medina because of our slightly improved abilities in the language of darija.
Throughout the trip through the medina I tried to use as much darija as possible when speaking to the shopkeepers. I would start with, “salam” and then, “La bez” followed by all the other greetings that we learned in class. After this I looked around for a bit and then if I came across something I liked, I would ask, “B’shaal?” and they would say a number back in either french or darija. For some reason I found that it was becoming easier for me to understand the numbers in darija than in French, so I would haggle down using darija numbers. If the price worked out I would buy the item, but if it didn’t I would just say, “Bezzef. La, shukran” and leave the store.
What I found overall was that most of the shopkeepers were thrilled that someone like me was speaking darija with them. Although it was broken, many of them were impressed and a few even gave me a discount because of how well they thought I was at the language. In fact, upon returning to the medina later on in the week, a lot of the shop keepers actually remembered who I was and would start conversations with me in Darija! Over all I was able to practice my darija, get some good discounts, and even learn some new words from the shopkeepers. It was definitely a fun and successful albeit long day in the medina.