Musket Manoeuvres in Essaouira's Medina.
This is not so much a warning, more like a typical Moroccan street celebration of one sort or another, but which can cause spectator congestion in the narrow Medina streets, and attract the attention of pickpockets and other street undesirables, however the ancient muskets displayed in this photo were unloaded and presented no danger !
Photography in public places.
I'm an enthusiastic amateur photographer, taking photos of tourist sites and any of my specialist interests, of which I have many, but I like to capture the street scenes in any particular location, which reveals a true insight into the local culture............
But Morocco is a police state and filming sensitive "items" can be risky, in particular filming police is illegal and can lead to fines for the unwary !
So, I am presented with something of a dilemma in pursuing my hobby, but being a determined character, I'm willing to take the odd risk to achieve my objectives.....
The following photo was taken in Essaouira's medina, I was filming a street celebration when a passer-by was unintentionally captured in my field of camera vision and responded with an aggressive glare, fortunately there was no confrontational situation, probably because of the presence of the ubiquitous secret police, who monitor such street celebrations, in case a riot develops.
- Hiking and Walking
holes in the footpath....
Heres a photo of a big hole or uncovered manhole/storm water drain along the promenade in Essaouira - luckily I was watching where I was going but the promenade turned a slight corner and it would be easy enough to be preoccupied taking photos, rollerskating, talking to someone and not see this until too late - its quite a deep hole with rubbish at the bottom and one could easily break their leg or other physical damage falling into it
I didnt notice any other holes like this along the promenade we had been walking on up to this point so there was nothing giving any lead or inkling to this sort of thing being where one would walk here.
I was walking somewhere in the medina in Taroudant once where Id walked down to take a photo of a door at the end of a side street and just in time caught my balance when my foot went onto the side of a deep hole like this - my pulse raced for a while getting over the shock of how close I was to having a fall
So the warning is to always look where you are going and dont expect people or the authoritories here to think about risk assessments or danger management!!
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
The Ganaoua festival in Essaouira is held around the third weekend in June, If you go be very watchful of pickpockets, They come from all over Morocco to mingle with the crowds, Last year was very bad as people were robbed at knife point, while there is inadequate policing. Hopefully this year will be better.
- Budget Travel
Were they fishing today?
There are stalls along the waterfront that sell you fish and then cook it for you. They get the fish from the fishermen who go out in the small boats. When the wind is too bad, these boats don't go out. This means that the fish in the stalls are not today's catch, and may not be too fresh. Our guide says he doesn't eat there if the boats have been in the harbor all day.
Essaouira - DONT LEND MONEY!!!!
A quick note to those of you who are honest and somewhat naive.... Unfortunately there are a 2 guys working together at the beach targeting female foreign tourists and in some cases "borrowing" money from them only to be told they have no interest in paying it back. I lent a considerable amount (3600 MAD) to help a guy with a kite surfing instructors course in which he didnt do. The story I got ranged from " my father was an alcoholic and spent all the money the family had" to "i crashed the rental car and am in serious trouble". His mother apologised that her son had lied and ripped me off and promised to get the money to me at months end. She has since advised she would prefer to use it to aid the building of a house in a little village near Cap Sim / Sidi Kaouki. I have been there several times, taken them for dinner, away on group trips....you would therefore imagine these particular people had some respect firstly for themselves, their families and possibly us the tourists however it would seem not. It is really sad these 2 guys in particular are giving the others a bad reputation.
- Budget Travel
- Women's Travel
Since my return home, I've read an article that states that many people visiting Essaouira succumb to stomach upsets no matter how carefully they eat and drink.
The article attributes this to the mists that occur in Essaouira that are often formed from the sea spray from the rocks below.
Apparently there is untreated sewerage being poured into the sea, which is being carried in the mist.
Well I'm not sure how many people do suffer from stomach problems here - personally I haven't, and there was a mist on the evening we arrived in Essaouira.
- Family Travel
Near Fishing harbours, you can be sure that there will be sea birds.
Near the Skala du port, there are masses !!!! all squawking and flapping, either flying over the harbour / fish market area, or perching ready to grab a morsel of fish or other scraps of food.
If there was 'Soundavision' on this site, you'd hear the theme from Hitchcocks 'The Birds'!!
Having once been the victim of a 'direct hit' from a defaecating seagull flying overhead, I naturally get a bit wary! (I now try and wear a hat, if visiting coastal ports)
Even if they don't 'hit' you, these feathered scavengers do leave their mark over walls and seating, so be careful when you sit down. They can be a bit daunting too, flapping so close overhead!
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Magic fun Afrika
I came to Essaouira to learn to kite surf with magic fun afrika, on my arrival i could not find the shop until the next day i saw the managers van, he explained all businesses have to move to make way for beach side cafès. We agreed to meet at 12pm to start my first lesson, however by 12.30 there was no sign of him, when he did show he had not brought any equiptment for me. He offered to go back to the shop but his lack of enthusiasm and unreliability had put me off spending so much money on his service. Instead I agreed at his suggestion, going the next day with him and some others to Moulay where he said the surf was better and they had another shop. The next day eagerly met up with him for the trip. The shop is under construction, and i was concerned keeping my belongings there but the manager assured me my stuff would be safe as he would be there the whole time. The surf however was rubbish; and after an hour of dodging torpedoing windsurfers I gave up and headed back to the shop. As I entered and went up the stairs I noticed my bag had been tampered with; I immediately opened it up and found my purse only to find that 600dh had been stolen. I ran down the owner explaining this, he simply shrugged and said 'ìmpossible, I ave been here the whole time', over and again I pleaded with him that I know exactly how much money I had but he refused to believe me and claimed all his workmen and staff were honest people, he barely looked at me and continued to set up a wind surfer. Furious I went to check if anything else had been taken, his colleague followed me up, he kept saying 'i believe you, but there is no way someone could have come up and taken it'. I gave up and waited to go home in disbelief; not so much that my money was stolen but the way they treated me.
Im not pointing fingers but the more I think of it the dodgier the whole thing feels.
- Water Sports
The natives don't care about hygiene referring to food. For example the homemade bread (cheap, always fresh and delicious) is sold from the earth at the local market (look at the picture).
So, better be careful if your stomach is sensitive :-). Mine wasn't. I ate almost everything and nothing bad happened to me.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Though the amount of unwanted attention that tourists receive in Essaouira is much less than in Marrakech, there is still plenty of occasions for you to unnecessarily part with your Dirhams.
When our bus arrived in Essaouira there was a group of locals there to greet us. They offered to carry our bags into the medina, to find us hotels, to show us around, etc. We ignored all these offers; if you do accept them, make sure you agree the price beforehand. On the return journey a local guy insisted on loading our bags on the bus (despite our protests) and then demanded a tip.
Also, while walking the streets with our bags, a couple of guys asked us what hotel we were staying at and then tried to convince us that our hotel was full but that they could rent us a cheap room.
I was also offered drugs by one guy on a couple of occasions. The first time he spoke to us I thought he was trying to sell us carpets (tapis) raher than hashisch.
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