This week I saw a blog on HostelBookers listing the 35 Suprising Stories of Free Stuff You’ve Got While Travelling and it reminded me of the incredible acts of kindness I received whilst travelling Morocco last June with some friends from University. The acts included free tickets to a local football match, an invitation to meet a Moroccan family, and an invite to a family dinner the next day.
We had begun our trip in Fez, after one of the group had found cheap flights to there a month or so back and we had all spontaneously jumped on them, tired of final year University deadlines and dissertations and keen for a blowout at the end of the year. Fez was a beautiful old town, but I found the locals were keener to receive us a tourists than as people and we were constantly trying to avoid hustlers whilst winding through the medina. So on we moved to Marrakech, and what we experienced there was a whole new world.
After an incredible night spent in the desert sleeping under the stars, and a beautiful rooftop meal in the centre of Marrakech, a few guys in the group decided it would be cool to see a local football match. It was in fact a match being played by the national Moroccan team (although by the minimal size of the crowd I wouldn’t think it was an important game!) and we found that tickets were hard to come by! After sneaking past the police control without tickets, we found ourselves in front of the stadium with no hopes of being able to buy them at the door.
All of a sudden – and without warning – a man ushered us to the car park and asked us if we were English. We confirmed his suspicions, and all of a sudden he handed over tickets for all of us! I have to admit that after the hustling nature of Fez I was hesitant to accept them, but one friend pointed out that if the tickets were fake we’d simply be turned away at the entrance, so I swallowed my nervousness and headed for the ticket entrance… 5 minutes later we were in, for FREE!
It was so fun to be at a national game in their capital city! But the free tickets were only the start of a great night full of acts of kindness! Whilst queueing to get in with our gifted tickets we bumped in to two local boys who the guys in our group got chatting to. They ended up helping us find seats and once the game was over invited us back to their home to meet their family. Who could refuse – despite the fact that one of our guys had to be go in the boot with one of the Moroccan guys as there wasn’t enough room in the car!
Once back at their home, which was a beautifully decorated and artistic apartment, we met the most beautiful family. The boy’s mother, three sisters, aunt, and grandmother were all there asking us about our trip and force-feeding us the most delicious tea, before insisting that we return the next day for lunch. Unfortunately I was too shy to take pictures in another’s home, but believe me when I saw that lunch was the most lavish and Moroccan experience of the whole trip, with a large slow-cooked lamb that you ate with your fingers and bread, before the aunt came round washing all our hands and serving us even more tea!
Overall, it was an incredible experience and one that shows the beauty in the hearts of so many people worldwide.