(continued from carpet kidnapping – part 1 and carpet kidnapping – )
“I have no idea. I can’t even see the end of the maze,” I said, standing on my tip-toes to try and find a high point we could focus on to walk towards.
“Madame, c’est perdu?”
I looked down to see a tiny child tugging at my sleeve.
“Lokalani, what did he say?” I said. Lokalani’s parents grew up in Vietnam and spoke fluent French.
“I don’t know, my parents never taught me French,” she said.
Great. Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Doan.
It was extremely worrisome at this point I was the one with the superior French skills.
“Oui, very perdu,” I responded. I turned to Lokalani. “Perdu means lost, right?”
Lokalani shrugged. “I think so.”
And then out of the tiny alleys of the medina appeared an entire gang of children, forming a line of defense behind the first sleeve-tugging child. They were small and covered in dust, and appeared to have spent a lot of time in the medina streets.
“Madame! Madame!” they exclaimed, surrounding Lokalani and I, trying to grab our arms and hands. I looked at Lokalani, eyebrows raised. Lokalani shrugged. I shrugged. The original sleeve-grabber took my hand and one of his follower’s took Lokalani’s. Oh great, were they leading us to another carpet store?
“I don’t think we have much choice,” Lokalani said, referring to our impending doom to rot in the street all night in the Fez medina.
I sighed and let sleeve-grabber lead me away.
For the next hour, this band of tiny children led us through the curvy pathways in the medina until we arrived at a clearing. The leader of the pack, the initial sleeve-grabber, pointed to a building about five hundred meters away. It was surrounded by buses.
The little guy had led us to the bus station.
“Wow, they really saved us,” Lokalani said.
I pulled out some small bills, attempting to distribute them among the gang of eight kids that just spared us a potentially very dangerous situation.
“No!” the sleeve-grabber exclaimed, smacking the hand of another child that reached to accept the cash.
Wow, sleeve-grabber had morals.
“Sandwich?” Lokalani suggested. If they wouldn’t take cash, perhaps we could buy them a tasty treat?
Sleeve-grabber nodded, and I turned to the sandwich cart near us to buy eight little sandwiches for our guides. We bought them some yogurt and sodas too. We sat with our new little friends for a long while, sharing sandwiches and soda, exchanging a few words in French. And after all of it, Lokalani and I said good-bye and boarded a bus at the station, waving good bye to our heros.
I feel like there should be a moral to this story. First off, perhaps do not go into the large African medinas with a Moroccan man that you met the night before in a hotel basement full of prostitutes with your Dutch Brothers. However, if you find yourself in such a situation, don’t trust sketch-ball man. Go with the kids. And don’t be surprised when they amaze you.
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