Friday, February 1, 2013

Ten reasons why Morocco makes me frown

1) Greeting Parrots 

Walking down the street in Marrakesh and Fes, we are always greeted with Japanese, mandarin and even Korean. Moroccans are language genius, anyone can say a few words in the tourist foreign language, but the worst part is, they are saying it reflexively but not really making connection nor conversation - more like parrots.

2) Photos with a price 
Shopkeepers and even small children in village will invite you to take pictures, then ask for money. Or in some cases, children will just say 'Hello, give me money!' I was so stressed and even had a nightmare of being surrounded by children asking for money.

3) Voluntary guides all around 
If you ask for direction in the medina of Fes and Marrakesh, your friendly guide will take you there and ask for tips. Sometimes, people just proactively ask where you are going and expect something in return.

4) Human ATM
Moroccans, especially in those touristy cities, have their brilliant way to make tourist, or at least me, feel like a human ATM, such as asking for tips all the time, charging more than locals etc.

5) No go zones
While strolling along the medina in Fes, we encountered many Moroccans, young or old, telling us that the street is closed and no entry. Many a time, they are trying to take us to tannery visit or make our way to their shop or lead us away from their competitor's shop! Just don't trust every words they say!

6) Beware of tour guides 
Beware of desert tour stouts in the souk of Marrakesh. We are cursed in the street  for shopping around to seek information but not joining the trip and pay right away.

7) Be a bargain queen
It is tiring to bargain for everything and anything, from transportation, tours, shopping to eating.

8) The holy call
It gave me a headache to hear 'pray to Allah' announcement five times a day, but you will get used to it and may love the peacefulness of it after a while.

9) To trust or not to trust? This is the question.
It is sad that its difficult to trust anyone we met in Morocco, especially when we start our trip in the touristy Marrakesh, but we managed to meet a few good men. However, it was really tiring to be suspicious all the time.

10) Hello! Where is woman's right?
Women are very dependent on men and they are the only ones in the family who do all the housework. A man who cook and clean at home is quite unheard of. Even when I took picture with a group of girls and women, the wives need to ask their husbands' permission!  Well, the Muslim might say they tried their best to protect women.

Despite all these, I still love Morocco! See more in my next blog.

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