Well This Souks

Morocco is Opposite Land to me. You think it was cheap but it was expensive. You think they speak Arabic but randomly it’s French too. You think their mint tea is going to be the best but it’s gross flavoured with tones of sugar. You think it is spelt Morroco but it’s Morocco. Like I said, Opposite Land.

So we stayed in a lovely isolated hotel whereupon we booked a souk tour guide since the info desk lady insisted we get one since it isn’t Google mapped accurately. (I JUST checked and surprise, surprise it looks like Google has it covered). As you probably guessed by my italicized word I was a bit peeved about all this.

I wrote a poem to summarize our souk experience in Marrakesh.

Merchants meandered around their stalls. Handmade items adorned their makeshift walls.

“Come inside! I have some nice scarves for you to wear!” “We’re just passing through, trying to get to the main square.”

“We have many slippers upstairs for you to try!” “No thank you, we are not here to buy.”

We keep walking, staring straight ahead. “No!” was what we already said.

“Would you like to buy some slippers? How about some zippers?” 

When out of the blue, a local stops you. “You are going the wrong way.” He will give you directions but you’ll have to pay.

How he knows where we’re going is beyond me, so we turned around the small alley to flee.

Once away from it all we sat down to rest, this was what it was like, who would have guessed?

So for sure go there if you enjoy:

  • getting hassled to buy merchandise
  • being told the wrong directions on purpose by random locals who will also charge you money for the false information
  • being told you are not allowed to go down streets since it’s forbidden
  • paying for a souk guide only to have him take you to his friend’s shops and trap you inside until you look around and buy something (or outright refuse). Then getting left at an overpriced restaurant that you don’t know is overpriced until after you eat the meal since there are no prices on the menu and you trusted your tour guide to give you a good recommendation
  • giving tips since there are so many tourists in Marrakesh the waiters all expect generous tips and get angry when you don’t

It should be called MorocCAN’T since the locals won’t let you do anything.

Now I have had my fair share of merchants hassling me to buy things in India and other countries but the souks of Marrakesh took it to the next level. It was not lighthearted, it was forceful. I have never felt so unwelcome in any city before. Outside Marrakesh, I had a good time. The country is really awesome but our awful first impression didn’t sit well with us. Just like all those tangine chickens we had…

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