Morocco 8: An overview
Renting cars and traffic
Traffic in Morocco is crazy. There is nothing that doesn't use the road, from trucks and busses, to cars, motorbikes, people, camels, donkeys, dogs and chicken. It is less driving by the rules than driving by ... aaahh ... open space. So, if you rent a car, chances are high that shit happens without any fault of your own. Combined with the local tradition of ripping everyone off if at all possible, this certainly means that you need a good insurance. The roads are sometimes terrible and often somewhat neglected, but usually good enough. And we were under the impression that particularly the larger ones were being quickly improved these days.
With exceptions, food in Morocco doesn't know much variety. And it certainly doesn't know hygiene, most of the time. There exist many tipps and tricks how to minimize the risk of food poisoning, but it's hard to be entirely safe. Most of it is out of your control. I don't really have advice on what to do about it, just letting you know that this will be one of your constant struggles. What you get almost everywhere are Tajines. Usually based on Couscous (at least we always got those, because they seemed to be the most easily digestible), they have some meat and vegetables and usually taste good. But not extraordinary, in my opinion. Other than that you can get typical stuff like Shawarma or "Sandwiches" ‐ buns filled with meat and veggies. In restaurants, you often get a salad with your meal. And then you can often get pizza, or fish at the coast. Sometimes soup. And all kinds of sweet stuff. But most of the time, your choice will be between Tajine or "Sandwich".
Here's a collection of Moroccan food pics:
This is by no means objective. What I'm trying to explain is the impression a tourist gets when interacting with that portion of the people that deals with tourism.
I'm sorry to say this, but the easiest way to put it is that a lot of people just don't show any form of honour or respect, unless you earn it. Yes, I can understand it to some extend, these people often are relatively poor and have to make a living. The simple truth is that most of them are very annoying, while simultaneously basing their act on your pity for them. Not cool. What do you do, when you park your car in an empty spot in a town, with no signs anywhere, and a guy comes up to you and demands money for parking? You say "no", and usually you'll be fine. But, it is anything but easy to tell when someone is making an honest claim for money that he is owed, or just trying. Usually, unless you're dealing with large corporations like supermarkets or the bus/train/rental car company, there is no such thing as a fixed price. Whether you pay 20€ or 2€ is up to your haggeling skills. But even after three weeks of being in the country, it's hard to know what a "normal" price is, for some things. Unless you're a natural. Best advice: Always make ridiculously low bids, about 10 or 20% of what you think is reasonable. The other side will probably ask 500% of what's reasonable, so then you balance each other out. Haggle for a while, until you're at 50 to 80% of what's reasonable, then just walk away. Often, they'll come after you and you'll get it! But only when you walk away. If it doesn't work, you can come back later.
Also typical: You arrive at some Kasbah, or library, or any sight, and some super friendly guy comes up to you and just starts the tour. Not a word about money. This puts you in a tight spot when he'll ask for money in the end. Know very well what you're willing to give, and stick to it. I don't care if it's "too little", the guy needs to name his price beforehand, if he wants a secure income!!
Of course, there are exceptions! I have met at least three Moroccans of whom I'm relatively sure that they were good people that treated me fairly. Sadly, you often start out with this feeling until it eventually turns sour...
Morocco in pictures
Here's a collection of the best pics we took in Morocco:
And a video
You can also watch this video directly on Youtube!