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  #1  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Morocco Basic Questions

Hi all

We will be in Morocco for 5 weeks next March/April. Sorry about the basic questions but this will be our first trip outside of Europe and the USA.

When in Morocco, my wife will wear long sleeved blouses and either trousers or a long skirt. She has long aubern hair. Wll this need to be tied up in a headscarf or completely covered?

We cannot make up our minds whether to camp and 'hotel' or just hotel. We are experienced campers but have had some info that there are plenty of cheap and decent hotels, and others who say don't use the hotels as so many of them are awful, just camp. What's the reality?

She also wonders about hanging out her 'smalls' to dry if we are camping. Will this offend or cause a problem? (stange question perhaps but I can see her point)


Is there good mobile phone coverage? We are tri-band Nokia.

What are the three most important things for us to do/remember/not do?

Thanks in advance

Jim
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  #2  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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As long as your wife wears respectable clothes the hair should not be an issue, although take a headscarf in case you want to visit any religious sites.
Long trousers are a good idea for you too. No Moroccan will say anything to you for wearing shorts but in Morocco it's a bit weird for a grown man to wear shorts!
Hotels in Morocco are quite good except at the real budget end. It's funny, just a couple of quid more can get you out of a stinking hovel and into somewhere quite nice.
Mobile phone coverage is better in Maroc than in the UK in my experience.
Things to remember are:
Stay calm no matter what the provocation (within reason!), it's easier and more effective than losing the rag! I found the best reaction to the hard sell was "Nah, you're allright thanks bud." with a big grin and a relaxed air. If they think you've been there a while they give up quicker. This is not your first trip, it's your third, and you've been there a week.
Remember, they're just trying to make a living, but don't let anyone treat you or your wife without respect.
Try the bread, it's great!

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!

Last edited by Matt Cartney; 7 Sep 2006 at 16:06.
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  #3  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Hi,

Buy a guide book and have a read - the Rough Guide is better than the new Lonely Planet which is pretty poor.

Jeans and a t-shirt is fine for both you and your wife - in the bigger cities there's plenty of woman with tight long sleeved tops on and hoardes of other tourists in various states of undress.

But a few miles out in a small village the change in attitudes is often very big - so a long sleeved t-shirt is better, but it's not essentail to do anything with womans hair at all. It would be considered an strange oddity I suspect, but would also mean a warmer welcome.

Sadly, shorts aren't a good idea anywhere.

Morocco has almost 10 millions weirdo whities turning up ever year, so nobody is going to do anything to you, they have seen it all before, it's just about passing through and not upsetting anybody.

You can do what you like in the campsites, it's all European pensioners in camper vans mostly ;-)

In March it will still be quite cold - cheap hotels in places like Meknes and Tanger will be freezing (I couldn't sleep) so camping is better than the £3 a night type places - but each hotel is different. But, do you have a vehicle of any kind? If so, camping is best, if not, go for hotels.

Have fun and look out for a green landy when your there ;-)
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  #4  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Being calm is the main thing, specially in the borders.
Be prepare to wait 2/3 hours.
Always ask permissiom to take a photograph, people, monuments etc
Carry a few cheap goods like ballpens, old t.shits, candys. The kids wiil love it
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  #5  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by fcharly
Being calm is the main thing, specially in the borders.
Be prepare to wait 2/3 hours.
Always ask permissiom to take a photograph, people, monuments etc
Carry a few cheap goods like ballpens, old t.shits, candys. The kids wiil love it
sorry - 'old t.shirts
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  #6  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Thumbs down L.P. worth F.A.

[QUOTE=roamingyak.org]Hi,

Buy a guide book and have a read - the Rough Guide is better than the new Lonely Planet which is pretty poor.
QUOTE]

Haven't L.P. gone down the crapper recently, quality wise, I mean? They either used to be much better or I was less demanding, not sure which.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #7  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by fcharly
Being calm is the main thing, specially in the borders.
Be prepare to wait 2/3 hours.
Always ask permissiom to take a photograph, people, monuments etc
Carry a few cheap goods like ballpens, old t.shits, candys. The kids wiil love it
So YOU'RE the reason I get pestered by bloody kids every time I go to Morocco running after me going:

"Hey, hey, hey, one bonbon, one bonbon, one bonbon, one school pen, one school pen, one school pen, one school pen, hey, one school pen, one school pen, one school pen, hey, hey, one bonbon, one bonbon, one bonbon, one school pen, one school pen, ... " ad feckin' infi-feckin'-nitum!

Matt
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http://scotlandnepal.blogspot.com/

*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 7 Sep 2006
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I agree - if you want to give things to kids - give their schools book and pens or find a local charity/teacher etc and ask what would be useful. They often sell the pens and so it's a way for kids to make money rather than going to school (which costs quite a lot of money for parents with not much). Also you have a better chance of being treated as a person the next time instead of seen as a walking gift dispenser.

I did buy a few cheap footballs when some kids were kicking balls of old ropes around, but either threw it over a wall to them or asked an adult to give it to them.


Yeah, the new LP has cut out a lot of info on the remoter areas (not that it had much anyway) and their website doesn't show WS as being occupied or disputed in anyway. The Footprint guide was quite good - the writer even spoke Arabic!

Last edited by roamingyak.org; 7 Sep 2006 at 18:53.
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  #9  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingyak.org
I did buy a few cheap footballs when some kids were kicking balls of old ropes around, but threw it over a wall to them...
I love that - mystery gifts from the sky!

Yep, to second (third) what's been said don't fling meaningless gifts around. Tempting as it might be, it's better to help out indirectly and/or support the local businesses with your trade. A generation of beggars is no use to anyone.

You'll love it, great country, great people, great food... (shame about the government).

Accomodation-wise, like Matt said, stay out of the bottom-rung flea pits and once in a while, if budget allows, try out some of the Riad type hotels - Riad Al Medina* in Essaouria is excellent if you're in need of a treat. Packing a light tent will give you useful options.

*they've even got multi-media presentation: http://goafrica.about.com/gi/dynamic...2FindexEN.html
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Last edited by Richard K; 8 Sep 2006 at 01:14.
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Old 8 Sep 2006
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"Yep, to second (third) what's been said don't fling meaningless gifts around. Tempting as it might be, it's better to help out indirectly and/or support the local businesses with your trade. A generation of beggars is no use to anyone. "

I agree - it's hard to judge, if we should at all, but there is geniune poverty in Morocco, and around Mosques there are often old ladies begging, so they are worthy of a contribution, and if you get onto any of the less touristed pistes, taking some bags of food to give away or present as presents when you have tea is always welcomed - fruit, veggies, dates and nuts always go down well.

I always found it's best to discreetly give it to the parents rather than to the kids.
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Old 8 Sep 2006
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Good point. There is a mile of difference between scattering cheap stylos to mobs of kids so you can feel like Father Christmas and giving alms in the context of the culture. In North Africa it's a case of watch what the locals do, small coins to the elderly or disabled is often normal.

If we spend time with people we tend to give small presents, but usually after tea, help or hospitality. Similar protocol as when visiting friends in the UK (but maybe don't bring a 6 pack...) Needles and thread is great one, little £1 penknives, food, tea etc.
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Old 9 Sep 2006
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back to the 'cheap goods to the kids' matter

Dear Travellers

Don't pretend to be Santa
it's a question of attitude, and for me is NEVER a ' throw peanuts to the monkeys in the zoo' attitude.

it's always a HAND TO HAND thing. Always with RESPECT, always with a SMILE.
Frankly I don't really care if the locals wants to sell, or permute the 'cheap goods' for some food or milk or even for a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of booze.

Dear Travellers
Hapiness comes to us in many, many forms
In a form of a beautiful girl, a marvellous landscape , or the perfect trip...
... sometimes disguised as a cheap ballpen or a old t-shirt.
Think about it
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