best of craigslist > SF bay area > Meet me in Casablanca ...
Originally Posted: 2005-04-28 7:48am

Meet me in Casablanca ...

You and I could have a great time touring Morocco together. A great time. I’ll be there for a month or two, and it would be fun to have you come along for part of the trip. Imagine coming home after a few weeks wandering the cities and countryside, with a wealth of colorful stories to share with family and friends. We’ll have visited the casbahs and souks, strolled through the medinas of towns large and small; we might even know by the end what those words mean. Well, there’s also the possibility you’ll come home with horror stories about your travel partner, who was an utter bore or maybe a borderline psychopath. Given the breadth of humanity traversing craigslist cyberspace, how’s one to know whether such a trip would turn out well or not?

Egad [idiomatic exclamation designed to lend a cross-cultural air] … it’s your lucky day, because you have just happened upon the quick and foolproof Morocco-Trip-Compatibility-Quiz. Scan down the page, keeping track of your score as you go, and by the time you reach the bottom your suitability (and mine) will be apparent. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. All rights reserved. Offer void in Wisconsin or where prohibited by law.

1. When I saw Casablanca in the title and clicked on the link I was thinking …
(a) Oh man, I’ve always wanted to go there! (10 points for right desire)
(b) Hey, I liked it last time … maybe I should go back there again. (0 points for being uncreative with your travel plans)
(c) Hmm .. isn’t Morocco spelled with two r’s and one c? (subtract 8 points, half for being a budding pedant and the other half for being wrong)
(d) I’m sorry, I got off to a bad start. Can I go back and pick (a) now? (sure, I’m flexible)

2. When traveling in a developing country I prefer to …
(a) Stay at the Hilton so I know both my room and my food will be clean. (27 point penalty for purportedly wanting to travel, but without actually wanting to be where you went)
(b) Stay in rustic lodgings so I experience the country better. (14 points for being willing to engage with the surroundings)
(c) Stay mostly in rustic lodgings, but spring for a nice hotel every so often so I can have a shower. (4 extra points for wanting to be clean, for a total of 18 points)
(d) Stay in rustic lodgings, and sneak into the fancy hotel now and then to use their swimming pool to get clean. (25 points for being resourceful … subtract 7 if you’d only do this because you can’t afford the alternative, but add 7 for a mischievous streak if you can afford the hotel but just think it’s more fun this way)

3. In the afternoon in a new town I would choose to …
(a) Take the air-conditioned-bus guided city tour. (subtract 16 points for being too dependent on packaged goods)
(b) Go shopping at the mall. (subtract 18 points for doing what you could do at home)
(c) See all the museums I could fit in. (0 points … any points awarded on account of your thirst for knowledge are cancelled by the harried tourist routine)
(d) Hang out in the town square and try to blend in while people-watching; try some food from a street vendor; get lost in the warrens of the old city. (12 points for being laid back and not letting the guide book drive you from one spot to another)

4. In the evening I would want to …
(a) Watch the sunset from a hill overlooking the city. (5 points)
(b) Stroll through the neighborhoods and observe the changing patterns of life. (5 points)
(c) Sit at a sidewalk café and have a decent meal. (5 points)
(d) Find a disco or club where I could go dancing or get drunk. (subtract 14 points)

5. I’m starting to get interested. Boy I sure hope the person who posted this is …
(a) Stunningly good looking. (10 point penalty for being shallow)
(b) Rich and willing to pay my way. (10 point penalty for being greedy and unrealistic)
(c) Single and available. (10 point penalty for having the wrong agenda)
(d) A really nice person, responsible, reliable, sincere, safe, intelligent, good company and fun to be with. (give yourself 23 points, and 12 more if you’re the same plus 3 if you’re creative and 3 more if you’re a little quirky … but forfeit all the points if quirky is just a euphemism for scary)

6. Parlez-vous français? …
(a) Umm, I think so. (umm, no you don’t. 0 points.)
(b) It doesn’t matter … they’ll speak English anyway. (well maybe they do, but subtract 10 points anyway for ethnocentricity)
(c) Oui. (Come on, even I can do that. 2 points only)
(d) J'ai étudié le français pendant plusieurs années dans le lycée. (Now we’re cookin’ with gas. 15 points)
(e) Ja, und ich kann auch ziemlich gut Deutsch. (And now you’re just showing off; 10 points off and three minutes in the penalty box.)

7. If I had to catch a bus from Casablanca to Fes I would first …
(a) Get the bus schedule and find the times. (5 points for being organized)
(b) Just show up and wait until the next one comes. (0 points … 5 for being relaxed and spontaneous, but –5 for being a flake)
(c) Hey Casablanca … I saw that movie. (7 point penalty for having ADD)
(d) I don’t do buses. (12 point penalty for being a prima donna)

8. When the time for the bus was coming I would …
(a) Show up at the station two hours early. (subtract 5 points for being too careful; you probably also lay out your clothes the night before and stop your car when the light turns yellow)
(b) Get to the bus stop ten minutes early. (9 points for being sensible)
(c) Still be doing my hair. (subtract 5 points for being vain and disorganized; don’t confuse lack of promptness with having an artistic spirit … ‘taint the same thing)
(d) Have discovered a musician in the souk, and, captivated by his music, have sidelined the earlier plan in favor of this nascent adventure. (16 points for adaptability and spontaneity)

9. After the musician was done, I would …
(a) Give him some coins and walk away. (0 points for being like everyone else)
(b) Just walk away. (4 point penalty for being cheap as well)
(c) Talk to him for a few minutes. (7 points for being outgoing and willing to take a risk)
(d) Set up on the opposite corner and sing a few songs myself, just to see how people will react. (14 points for being brave and creative, and proactively making experiences happen)

10. If I missed the bus from Casablanca to Fes I would …
(a) Blame my travel partner and mope around the rest of the day. (subtract 18 points for being childish and petulant)
(b) Have absolutely no idea what to do next. (subtract 7 points for being useless)
(c) Just catch the next one. (5 points for going with the flow),
(d) Go a different direction instead. (12 points for willingness to improvise)

11. When planning the next days activity I would …
(a) Always defer to my travel partner. (5 point penalty for being spineless)
(b) Insist on having my own way. (15 point penalty for being selfish)
(c) Contribute my suggestions, and take turns leading and following. (9 points for being engaged without taking over)
(d) (Award yourself 5 bonus points if you noticed the missing apostrophe in the lead sentence; deduct 10 points if it suddenly and inexplicably made you feel superior; deduct 5 more if you made a mental note to mention the error in your email reply; deduct 25 if the opportunity to point out the error was going to be the only reason for your reply.)

12. When it rains I prefer to …
(a) Go inside and wait until it stops. (subtract 5 points for being boring)
(b) Run around like a child and sing. (give yourself 10 points for being playful and unselfconscious)
(c) I generally go inside, but I always secretly wish I had gone out and run around singing. (add 5 points for being honest, and having the latent ability to be fun)
(d) Hey you didn’t say it was going to rain. (take away 5 points for being whiny and 2 more for missing the point)

13. I think a better title for this post would have been …
(a) hey peeps .. wanna join kewl morocco trip? (10 points off for being fifteen)
(b) Yo (8 points off for being Neanderthal. Monosyllabism does not augur well for our having engaging conversations. On the other hand, if you’ve read this far, haven’t taken offense, and are receptive to constructive criticism, I suppose you can have two points back for being open-minded.)
(c) No, your title was the best anyway. (give yourself 7 points for being supportive, even if insincere)
(d) It doesn’t matter. Let’s get our maps out and start planning this trip. (16 points for keeping your eye on the ball.)

14. If I don’t score well on this quiz I’ll …
(a) Be really bummed. (10 points off for taking life too seriously)
(b) Just figure the poster is a jerk. (10 points off for taking yourself too seriously)
(c) Figure it’s not the right trip for me. (15 points for good sense)
(d) Go back and do it again to try and score higher. (8 points off for being unable to distinguish between real life and videogames)

15. If I do score well on this quiz I’ll …
(a) Just go on to the next craigslist posting. (Ok, give all your points back … that was truly a waste of time.)
(b) Read about the trip at the bottom of the posting and see if it’s something I might really want to do, then send an email to check it out further. (hooray for you … award yourself bonus points at your own discretion)
(c) Call my travel agent and book a flight. (minus 27 points for being way way too impulsive)
(d) Click on “best of” so the message gets wider circulation, and this guy has a better chance of finding someone to travel with. He deserves to find a compatible partner, and I wish him all the best. (25 bonus points for being both perceptive and generous)

Now add up your score. If you got a two digit number, and particularly if it’s positive, you might want to read the last paragraph and then drop me a line.

For those who are hung up on the details, it looks like this: I’ll be in Morocco first for several weeks of language instruction (French) in Casablanca and Fes. That would be around Septemberish of this year, or Marchish of next, (that’s when the weather is most pleasant) but I’m flexible. You don’t need to be along for that if you’re not interested, but you’d be welcome. After that, it’s 3-4 weeks touring the countryside, and it sure would be more fun to do that with some company. Someone who knows how to improvise, who wouldn’t mind missing a bus or two, sometimes dances in the rain and regrets it when he/she doesn’t, and who might be embarrassed to sing in a Moroccan souk but would do it anyway just for the experience. If you’re adventurous enough to want to go, but not so that you’d go alone … if you’re adventurous enough to find a travel partner on craigslist, but not so that you’d do it without exchanging a bunch of emails and having face-to-face meetings first … if you’re adventurous enough to drop what you’re doing for the chance to see an amazing country with someone new, then you probably have enough gumption to put an email together, wouldn’t you think? Wouldn’t you?




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