Good Buy Precedes Goodbye
Capital Funding Corporation was a San Francisco company four of us founded in the 1960s to market life insurance and securities. It was time for the annual sales awards to top producers and we were staying at a beautiful Spanish seaside resort town at Costa del Sol.
Our group decided to take a break from the sandy beach and take a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to shop in Marrakesh on the northwestern coast of Africa. Founded in 1052, Marrakesh is an old, fortified city on the Mediterranean, one of Morocco’s most important former imperial cities. We were headed for the medina to experience its plethora of vendors and their stalls. We arrived at the dock a little after noon, and two of the wives, Sally and Shirley, broke off from the rest of the group for their own version of shopping. Others headed straight for the local bar, and the rest wandered around town.
A snake charmer draped a snake over the shoulder of one of the men and the ladies shied away. There was the usual camel with photographer. The camel knelt, a tourist stepped aboard, the camel stood up and the picture was taken. Several of the group took pictures home with them, but Sally didn’t like the smelly camel with its dirty nose rubbing against her, and she and Shirley left to explore the medina some more.
The women enjoyed shopping for jewelry, clothing, purses, hats and other locally made items. The men got a kick out of the bottles of cheap spirits, the camel and other tourist attractions they did not see back home. On the way back to the dock, all discussed their new possessions.
There were more vendors on the dock, waiting for the tourists. Sally found a blouse she wanted and asked its price. A tall, dark local dressed in brown robes and sandals held up six fingers.
The language he used, a mixture of Middle East languages, was not helpful and Sally was not getting far with hand signals. They exchanged numbers with their fingers and finally got down to three. The blouse was hers when she handed him three U.S. dollars and she put the blouse in her shopping bag.
As Sally and Shirley turned to head up the ramp, he asked, in perfect English, “Where are you from?” Sally, taken aback, said “San Francisco!”
He smiled and said, “I went to San Francisco State.” They talked until the ferry whistle blew. As Sally boarded the ferry, they waved goodbye to each other.