106th Stopped Pick-Pocket: Marrakesh Market Hand Shake!

Editors Note: This is your third confirmed stop in Morocco and first in Marrakesh!

Dear Clothing Arts,

Marrakesh is a very fast paced city when you think about shopping in the souks and walking Jemaa el-Fna (market square). At night the market becomes alive and packed with people exploring the food and juice stalls, watching exotic street performers, listening to musicians, and getting tattoos from the tattoo artists. With this, there are also people targeting tourists, not only to pressure them to eat at their food stalls but also trying to pickpocket them. Going to the market square with my friend was quite an overwhelming experience.

When we first got there, we started walking on the outsides of the square to get our bearings and soak it all in from afar. Taking one big lap around, we see possible stalls we want to check out in the middle of the market. This was a big mistake as touts and promoters of certain food stalls would come up to us and encourage us to look at their menu. They would physically put their hands on us to try to guide us to their open seats. I pretended to be Barry Sanders as I juked and spin-moved away from them.

Finally, at the end of a row, we were cornered by a few touts. One of them grabbed my hand to shake and placed his other hand on my shoulder to hold me there. As he squeezed my hand as hard as he could, I started to laugh. I’m laughing because I know this is a setup and I feel someone try to open up my flap closure on my right front pocket. As I look down, I see a hand from behind me disappear. I’ve just thwarted a pickpocket attempt of my iPhone and I tell my friend to get the hell out of there. We pull some swim moves and get out of the mess to the safety of a rooftop terrace to survey the square. Looking down, I’m grateful to have the pick-pocket proof pants, as I always keep my wallet (left pocket) and iPhone (right pocket) on the inside pocket protected by the zipper, plus, the outside zipper AND the flap closure. Triple security always ensures the pickpockets lose.

- Stephen E. from New York, USA