Lunch on the porch of the Johnsons

Learning the art of the barter starts with having a sense of humor. You need to go in with a smile and speak of outrageous prices — even try to sell your (girl)friends in exchange for a negotiated number of handwoven rugs.

I could describe the labyrinthine soil paths winding back into the bowels of the Grand Medina. I could tell you about pungent spice stalls, glimmering jewelry, and silver light fixtures that cast their intricately patterned glow on colorful rugs woven by ancient Berber tribes.

The open-air Berber marketplace is a completely foreign and entirely authentic world.

For miles around, the dunes rolled like red-tinged waves in the sea. I had ridden a camel to the spot where I would gaze at a million stars that night, smiling at the fact I was finally somewhere I had dreamed about under the same stars thousands of miles away.

I could tell you about pungent spice stalls, glimmering jewelry, and silver light fixtures that cast their intricately patterned glow on colorful rugs woven by ancient Berber tribes.

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