Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Marrakech, Morocco

I think I will say this in every Moroccan city I do but I LOVE Marrakech. I fell in love with Morocco and everything about it. I'll talk about it more below but the souk district aka huge marketplace of Marrakech is simply amazing. Ok I gotta stop...see below. Heads up, this post is gonna be a little light because I spent most of my day wandering around the markets and didn't go anywhere else. Because of that I'm gonna include some general Moroccan Tips and To Knows.


Moroccan Tips and To Knows

  • Morocco is a Muslim country, ergo you need to respect their culture and clothing restrictions. Women must have their shoulder and knees covered at all times. I escaped really having to pay attention to this because it was January and nobody was running around in tank tops but high season is summer so plan wardrobe accordingly even if its a scarf tied around your shoulders. Keep it classy.
  • I was with a tour group that drove us from city to city and I would highly suggest this if you can. Navigating the streets of these Moroccan city looked like a feat in itself and I honestly wouldn't want to be bothered with the stress of driving and parking, let somebody else do it for you.
  • While I never felt unsafe walking around Morocco, venturing outside the Medina of Fes probably isn't the best idea. Especially if you're solo and you're a woman but that's just common sense to me. Additionally, my friend and I walked outside of Marrakech near our hotel to get food and were offered drugs twice while on a 15 minute walk. And I was also hassled by literal 10 years olds trying to feel me up and sell me flowers while walking back. Again, see my rules of travel--do nothing that can get you arrested so those kids walked away with their faces intact. And no, I'm not above hitting a child who is trying not molest me. Just be smart and know your surroundings as you should in every city
  • Carry coins on you because a lot of street vendors or performers want money if you want to take a picture. It's a minimal amount but keep some on you so you're not digging around while trying to hold your camera, etc..
  • Haggle! Every price in Morocco is negotiable except maybe at a restaurant. Seriously offer half of what they tell you and be prepared to walk away if they don't give you the price. The second you turn away they will give it to you and you're still getting ripped off even if you get it for the price you want, haha. I got two t-shirts in Marrakech at a shady upstairs room from 1/8 of the asking price because it was legit all the money I had left, no lie. I walked away and they yelled I could have it. It was my biggest win of the trip!


Souk District
The massive market of Marrakech is exactly what I imagined from seeing pictures. Sand colored buildings, large open spaces, snake charmers, henna artists, it's all here and it's all amazing. The sounds and smells and energy of this place is nothing short of magical. While I can objectively see how this place would be super overwhelming to people and not their style, I fell in love with it. It's loud and crazy and while you legit have to pay to even take a picture of something--very minimal, a few dirhams equivalent to a few US dollars. Because getting to hold a snake a la Britney Spears Slave 4 U was a serious life goal. Checkmark. And those sidewalk dentists you read about in Daughter of Smoke and Bone? They exist. I didn't get a picture because I was not paying to take of pic of that...nasty.
 
Bahia Palace
This place was so beautiful! And it gave me exactly what I came to Marrakech to do...find a beautiful door and take a picture of it pretending I was walking into Elsewhere...le sigh...all the hearts in eyes. I was waiting to take that picture for years. I mean, YEARS! I was so excited I said to my friend, I need you to take this picture, don't ask questions. It's been forever in the making, it's a book thing. Besides the doors, the gardens were beautiful and it was gorgeous to walk around.
 

Snake Charmer & Henna
As I stated above these people are all over the open space of the Souk District. For a few dirham you can take a picture with the snake charmers and if you're lucky they throw a snake at you for some pictures. Totally worth it. I didn't do henna but a few friends did and tip: get a price before you let them draw on you. This seems like common sense but a few friends had  a woman just start drawing on them after they said yes and it was way more expensive than they thought and way more expensive that other people paid. They got punked. It happens. Live and learn.

Nightlife
While Morocco might be a very conservative Muslim country, that all goes out the window when you go to a club. Attached to a hotel, we went to Theatro Marrakech and it was out of control fun. Choreographed dancing, drums, flame dancers, it was so f'ing amazing and I'm not even a club or going out person. We left at midnight to go out and the club legit did not get crowded until close to 1 am so plan accordingly if you want to go out. Nightlife starts late.

Stay tuned for Fes and Chefchaouen in the coming weeks! Both cities, like Marrakech, are definite places to add to your travel bucket list!

Don't forget to post on Instagram with the hashtag #WanderlustWednesday! It can be anything--a throwback travel photo of a place you've been, a Google image of where you want to go, an inspirational quote, a travel themed trinket you have, anything that inspires your wanderlust.

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, Marrakech looks like it was a fun city to visit! I do think I'd find it overwhelming (because it looks like it could get crazy), but I definitely want to see it for myself someday!

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  2. I've never thought about going to Marrakech but I didn't realize how many things are so similar to India. Negotiating prices is honestly one of my favorite things ever. In India I always shopped with one of my aunts who's excellent at negotiating prices! I think these kinds of experiences are so important to have when visiting any place. They add to the culture and understadning of how we're different but oh so similar.

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