In Search Of: Hashish

Posted by len on November 8th, 2006

One of the pieces of lore that got into my head before coming over to Morocco was that everyone smoked hashish nearly all the time and that like it or not I was going to be stoned out of my skull nearly every night as a result of my innocent and chaste cultural curiosity. I even think some of my friends back in LA still believe this to be true, with articles like the one you’re now reading being produced in the few cracks of time each day that I’m not dragging on an ornate iron pipe and smiling like the Chesire cat.
Well, this article is to serve as the definitive statement that hashish is so elusive that it has entered into the ‘in search of’ category here in Fez, Morocco. The following is a succinct account of our exposure thus far to what Moroccans call Kif.
Hookah, the Big Lie: Perhaps we just chose the wrong city but Fez appears to have virtually outlawed the hookah pipe. You see them in stores here and there but I’ve only seen one in use, once, deep in the medina, and it certainly smelled like the fruity light tobacco we remember from California. According to a guy in Meknes, a nearby city, restaurants need to get some kind of registration to allow hookah pipe smoking. Perhaps Morocco is experiencing a sort of cultural backlash from a hedonistic hookah-smoking era that ended a few days before we arrived.
The Smokescreen: Though positive sighting of hashish is rare, Moroccans smoke a lot. This could be part of the difficulty with my observational strategy. Just before dusk, men start filling the thousands of chairs spilling onto the sidewalks and corners all around the city. Most of them are smoking and drinking a cafe noire (straight espresso with sugar). Close by every cafe are one or two people peddling cigarettes, by the smoke, out of cases labeled Marlboro or Winston. I’ve strained to confirm that the cigarettes cradled between men’s fingers are in fact legal tobacco cigarettes. So far I have only seen what appears to be the tell-tale white-to-tan transition colors of typical cigs.
1st Sighting: The first actual positive sighting of hashish was about a week ago. We needed to telephone Sue’s parents so we walked down the street to a pay phone along the road (sad, huh?). Just a bit away from the road next to a cafe was a quieter area with a phone. While Sue gets her parents on the line I peek into the cafe to see what it’s like. A group of four men, most older than me by a large margin, notices me and makes the rare outreach and calls me over with “bon soire!”. I think the next bit, in English, was something like: “Hi. Join us. Have a smoke. Cannabis!” He hands me the cigarette he’s holding, which does look a lot like a typical manufactured cigarette though not that different than what I’ve heard marijuana cigarettes look like back home. [I hand it back to him and thank him for showing it to me]. We chat some and he even buys me a mint tea (a very typical Moroccan cafe item). Note: descriptions in brackets [ ] may or may not have actually occurred exactly as presented.
2nd Sighting: Just this past weekend found us on a train to Meknes, a city about a 50 minute train ride west of Fez. We were in a first class cabin with one other person, a rather lanky 20 something Moroccan man. Nearing the end of the trip he pulls something out of his luggage from the storage area above our heads. He then opens the door to the main corridor, where the conductor wanders, and with one furtive eye on the corridor starts measuring out dried plant matter onto some papers on his lap. Keep in mind that as this is happening we’re just glancing over wondering what the heck this guy is up to. After a few minutes he disappears, presumably to the bathroom or one of the standing sections between cars ( the only places you can go besides the corridor). Shortly after he leaves we notice a perfume-like scent wafting through our cabin that he just left. It was then that the whole picture came together, finishing with his trying to cover his tracks.

9 Responses to “In Search Of: Hashish”

  1. dan Says:

    you forgot to also add brackets around :

    a typical manufactured cigarette though not that different than what [I’ve heard marijuana cigarettes look like back home.] 😉

    I know someone from here who went to egypt, and sure enough got stoned with their guide after they rode horses out to the desert. sounded like hash was readily available, so you haven’t debunked the myth, yet. keep on chasing the dragon*!

    * means: searching for/being addicted to opiates

  2. jim Says:

    Did your [conversation with the other persons about their] experience with hashish reveal a different sort of high than with [your conversations with other people in the us about] pot?

  3. Cathy Says:

    Brogan keeps pushing his teacher to have his entire 3rd grade class check out your website. I told his teacher to check it out. Fortunately, my school district hasn’t blocked access to it…yet.

  4. len Says:

    Er. Yeah, I was kind of thinking of that later. Do I need to keep the language nice? No references to the hedonistic life we’re REALLY living over here?

  5. Cathy Says:

    I think that the style of writing you have used so far has been good. I would be eager to have your mom and ATF brother add their comments.

    I think that I will just print out some pictures to show his class.

  6. JD Says:

    I heard that hashish and hot sauce work really well in a hookah :) Have to say I really enjoy reading about your travels so far. Keep up the good work!

  7. George Says:

    Good to hear that you are stoned out of your mind most of the time in Morocco. I heard it goes well with Hot Sauce. Rock on-

  8. George Says:

    Oh, uh, maybe you can {edit} my comment above– I did not know this was an elementary school sponsored site. :)

  9. enrique Says:

    < a href = “ unfitting@triangles.treadmill“>.< / a >…

    tnx for info!…

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