Excuse me, but I noticed that you were looking at a carpet a moment ago. You were wise to walk away from that one. I have carpets of much finer quality! You see how this alley curves into the distance? There, my friend, far from all the noise and light, you will find the finest woven goods in all of North Africa, and other wonders that cannot be counted in 10 lifetimes. Please, please, follow me, and I will show you!

But you hesitate. Perhaps you are waiting for your companion? No? No one at all? I knew this. I could tell by your Boise State University T-shirt that you are an educated man who knows it is truly best to visit my country alone. That is how you get to see the real Morocco, the one you cannot find in any guidebook.

Do you smell that, my friend? Deep in this alley there is a very sudden turn into the shadows where you will find the most delicious mechoui in the world, as well as hand-painted zouak tables of unmatched perfection. But on your own you will never find these things, or find the new friends I will introduce you to. They are shy among most visitors, but the moment they see I have brought you, they will all rush out at once with greetings! Do not be alarmed by their traditional swarming embrace.

Oh, the memories we all will share! Please, I can take you to my alley now.

Ah, you are nervous then? It is understandable. But much has changed in Morocco, I can assure you. Our crime rate puts Algeria's to shame, and anyone in Morocco will tell you that there is no less dangerous place in the country than Marrakech's maze of unmarked alleys. And of all those alleys, the one I will show you is by far the most secure and peaceful. Have you grown weary of haggling with merchants in the marketplace? I promise you, in my alley, there will be no haggling.

Not only that, my friend, but this special alley is also a path through time. It can be traced directly to the Almohad Dynasty, and it is said that every curve and blind spot was designed by the great caliph Ab Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur himself. Truly, when you walk through this alley, you leave footprints in the dust of kings. Footprints made with the latest and most expensive American running shoes.

And if I may share something that is personal: My family has tended this alley for five generations. As a child, I counted its walls among my very best friends. At night, far from the distant streetlamps, I would look up and gaze at the stars between the rooftops. That is truly an unforgettable sight. Perhaps you will return to my alley later when it is dark and behold this with your own eyes.

But a word of warning, my friend. As safe as my country is—and my alley, most especially—I urge you not to contact the police in the unlikely event you find yourself in any danger. Even the smallest child knows that if he ever walks into an ambush, he should never tell his friends, family, or embassy, and especially not the dreaded police. I do not want to think of what these jackals would do to an American such as yourself.

Boise State is an American school, correct? Not Canadian? Excellent!

Come, come! I have talked long enough, and you must be so hot out here. We will go to my alley, where it is cool and there is safety and delight without end. And do not worry about finding your way out. When you are ready to leave, I will bring you back, and you will have many unforgettable stories to share.

But who knows, my friend? You might end up staying in my alley longer than you think. I meet such people all the time.