Sooooooooooooooo it's been a while eh? I actually got back from my month long stay in Morocco about 2 weeks ago, but with all the craziness of getting back into a routine and finding a new place and preparing to move at the end of the month... Well you get the picture...
I should back to regular blogging for the next couple of weeks anyway.
So before I share all the pics and places I visited this time around I though I would give some tips on travelling in morocco and some pros and cons of travelling with a native(i.e. the hubby).
S here we go.
-I get to visit only the spots I really want to see and spend as much time as I want there.No wasting time in tourist traps that don't interest me.
-I get to see some spots that the organized tour groups won't usually bother with or that foreigners are normally not allowed to see: for example the interiors of centuries old mosques that non Muslims are barred from seeing.
-I don't get sick too often since we are eating mostly home cooking and well know restaurants.
-Not much privacy crashing on family members' couches...
-Public transit...enough said
-Being rushed through site seeing because everyone but you has seen the spot about 20 times...
So suffice it to say that I get a very different experience than most tourists when I go. And I will be sharing some pics of all the spots we visited this time around and some spots I visited on my past trips if I can manage to dig up the older pics...
But in the mean time let me share with you some tips that I don't believe would be mentioned in any guide books.
So handy dandy tip #1:
ALWAYS carry either tissues or tissue paper in your purse/bag/backpack.
Trust me , it WILL come in handy. Most public washrooms are rarely stocked with T.P.. they will likely have a small water tap and bucket within the stall to wash your areas (it's a Muslim thing, we are supposed to rinse our behind with water to clean ourselves clean between prayer times...) And since the most common type of toilet is the whole in the ground/squat to use type- the floor is usually wet and not very clean...OH and remember to tip the attendant especially if the restrooms are super clean compared to usual.
tip # 2:
Public beaches are what I would call "full service".
Most beaches usually have a couple of guys sitting near a large pile of parasols,chairs,tables,etc. Go see these guys, they are there to rent out said items for a pittance really( about 2$ for a parasol,table and 4 chairs for the whole day) Now these aren't the only conveniences on offer. You will see some guys wandering the beach repeating stuff, usually carrying a small cooler or basket with treats in them. You can buy on the spot anything from Popsicles,water bottles,soda pop,candy,nuts,even hot coffee. (the coffee guy was wandering around with a large kettle with some charcoal in a can attached to the bottom-BEST COFFEE I'VE EVER HAD) I would avoid stuff with meat though- but prepackaged nuts and lollipops are definitely okay.
This one I'm sure most people know about- Negotiate,negotiate and bargain,bargain,bargain!
If the prices are clearly shown then don't bother. But if no prices are listed, automatically assume they have double the normal asking price since you are a tourist. So by all means don't be bashful about negotiating. I've seen my in-laws got at it so hard you swear a fight is about to break out and they threaten to leave or they say someone else has it at a lower price... It can get a little heated but in the end once the money changes hands everyone is all smiles and jokes.... So don't worry about being aggressive-just don't insult the seller. Also, even if you LOVE the item on offer, act like you don't really care whether you get that one or any other item.
Look for restaurants that are full of locals not tourists, with faded signage, and mildly off the beaten path(not too far off...)
This may seem a little counter intuitive to us North Americans to purposely look for a slightly beat up restaurant, but think about it- A lot of businesses come and go very quickly in morocco. So if the restaurant has been around long enough to get faded signage and is still full of people then it means the food is likely to be good, cheap, and won't make you sick. Hence the reason the locals all go there. And pay attention to things like the chicken in rotisseries- the raw ones should always be on the lower bars so the blood wont get onto the cooked ones and make you sick... Gotta pay attention,being sick in another country is noooo fun.
Just in case you do get sick to your stomach, or even as a precaution. You can walk into any pharmacy and simply say the name and they will know what you are talking about. It's a safe over the counter medication that won't interact with anything else really. It's really just vanilla flavored clay... You mix 1 packet with about 2-3 ounces of water and drink before every meal. It helps you not to get too dehydrated and will slow any runs that you may have. This little miracle has saved me more than once over the years.
I think this will do for now. I will be sharing some more tips that are slightly more specific to location as I go.
I hope this will help anyone planning on travelling to this beautiful country in the near future.
Till next time