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THE READER'S PAGE

Ways of Rug Merchants

October 22, 2000

Thank you for publishing "Some Postcards From a Moroccan Carpet Ride" (The Wander Year, Oct. 8), which could have been a page from my travel journal.

In Fes and Marrakech I had similar experiences with carpet sellers, including an individual who also was named Aziz. The pressure to purchase was enormous, and the charming, gracious sellers quickly became angry and rude when we failed to buy.

Later I learned that the guide who took us to the carpet, pottery and other shops received a commission for every purchase we made. I also found out that prices in the shops where we were steered by Aziz were much higher than the ones we encountered in the souk by ourselves.

DALE LEWIS

Santa Barbara

*

Your article could almost have been written by my companion and me after our most recent trip. We were on the train from Casablanca to Fes. The man in the compartment quickly left, to be replaced by another with better English, a charmer filled with helpful hints and recommendations.

Although we were to meet him the next morning, my suspicions were too strong, so we went elsewhere. When we were getting out of a taxi, a man at the curb said, "Why are you here? Your friend is waiting at the post office for you." For the next two days, we were followed, approached and "befriended" repeatedly.

JAMES E. AHRENS

Hacienda Heights

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