Disappearance of the Traveling Pants

July 16, 2007 2 Comments »

My favorite pants...where are they now??

My favorite pants...where are they now??

While I was traveling in Essaouria, Morocco I had a funny experience with my traveling pants may they rest in peace.

During my travels with a limited wardrobe, you start to have your favorite travel clothes. Mine are a pair of cotton pants. I love these pants…they are the best…you’ve seen tons of pictures with me in these pants. They are a dark color (hide the dirt), they are baggy (great for my ever-expanding waistline and ass), they have pockets (wonderful for holding toilet paper, lens caps, and purel), and they can actually be dressed up and rather stylish looking if need be…I love these pants. I was devastated a few weeks ago when the zipper broke. There was no way I was giving up these pants though – so I started wearing them by safety pinning the zipper shut…yes – it looked ghetto, but it worked. I even got pretty good at undoing the safety pin quickly in times of desperate bathroom need!

In Essaouria, Morocco I decided to ask our local guide if he could take me to a tailor to get the zipper fixed. He took me to a local tailor in the medina and talked to the guy…perfect – I was to pick them up later that afternoon. However, when I went back that afternoon, the tailor tried to explain to me (he didn’t speak English – so the shop owner next door had to come do the translating) that he no longer had my favorite pants. Instead, he accidentally gave them to someone else.

Blank stare by me.

The repaired pants were in a black plastic bag. When another person came to pick up their repaired pants – the tailor accidentally gave him the wrong black plastic bag and the person left thinking they were his pants.
My mind was spinning, this really couldn’t be…not my favorite pants.
The tailor said that he knew the man, but had no way to get a hold of him. He thought that the man would surely bring back my pants the next day when he realized that he had the wrong ones.
Breath, breath, breath.

My normal NYC reaction would have been to ‘go off’ on this person. I actually started to get visibly mad, and then reminded myself that I had to be patient…this wasn’t NY – this was Africa, in a little local medina. So I said, “inshallah” and told him I would be back the next evening in hopes of picking up my pants.
The next evening came and I went back to the shop. The tailor didn’t have a positive look on his face. However, he handed me a plastic bag, when I opened it, I saw a pair of pants that were the color of my favorite pants – but were clearly not my pants.

The traveling pants in Vietnam-see the locals love them too!

The traveling pants in Vietnam-see the locals love them too!

I said – “These aren’t my pants.” – clearly starting to get angry and frustrated again. The neighboring shop owner came back over to do the translation. He explained that the man had not brought my pants back yet and the tailor felt so bad about it that he actually went out and purchased me a new pair of pants that looked similar. Ok – now I was humbled. This tailor probably made very little money in his closet sized shop…the fact that he went out and purchased me a new pair of pants was actually very touching. I knew that he felt very badly – and me getting angry wasn’t going to solve anything. I looked at the pants, thanked him, but tried to explain that I would try to come back yet tomorrow and see if my pants were returned instead. Regardless, he made me take the pants he purchased with me. I looked at them, but I knew there was no way that they would fit…he thought I was a ‘small’…which is flattering I guess…but I’m definitely NOT a ‘small’! I took them knowing I would bring them back tomorrow.

Day 3, I arrived at the tailor, the neighbor shop owner comes over – no pants…crap. I thanked him for the other pants, and told him they are too small and returned them to him (in hopes that he may be able to get his money back or barter them for something else), and I leave…leaving my favorite pants in Morocco. There is a light at the end of this tunnel though…a small chance that my Intrepid leader will get them back over the next few days and be able to send them to me in Egypt…but I don’t have high hopes! Regardless, it was a good exercise in patience I suppose. Yet I’m still not too happy that some Moroccan man is wearing my favorite pair of pants right now!

There will be other pants….but I will never forget the originals!

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