Our first interaction on this trip upon arriving in Marrakech was with the driver who transferred us from the airport to hotel. When he learned we’re from the U.S., he declared, “Obama, très bien,” grinning widely and giving a universal thumbs up. The driver talked about the way Obama speaks and his worldview, in contrast to Bush (thumbs down) “qui ne fait que la guerre” (who did nothing but make war). The interaction reminded me of when I was an exchange student in high school and other students learned that I was from Chicago. They would say, “Michael Jordan, windy city, Al Capone!” (who knew Al Capone was so infamous among French secondary schoolchildren). Today a Moroccan’s first association with the U.S. is “Obama,” and he was optimistic. Anti-American sentiment around the world surged during the Bush era. What a difference a year makes. We are looking forward to following this thread as we travel.
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