Escape from Tangier.....
After two pleasant days in the hot sun exploring the upmarket Tangier Marshan district, the prospect of making the sea crossing by ferry to Spain loomed closer, a potentially daunting task coping with the usual assortment of ticket and taxi touts. There were two possibilities, walk from the hotel in Rue Magellan two kilometres to the train station, avoiding rip-off taxis, or taking the fast ferry from Tangier port to Tarifa with a free bus connection to Algeciras. On arrival in Tangier I had been targeted by aggressive beggars and rough sleepers on Avenue Mohammed V!, so the fast ferry seemed to be the way to go.
In anticipation of this decision, I decided to do a "dry run" the day before travelling, checking out impedimenta and potential touts loitering at the port, so with satchel on my back I approached a reputable ticket agent in the old train station TANGER building, the price on the ferry was reduced this year to 300 dirhams or 30 euros, the 7 am sailing was withdrawn, the next earliest one was at 9 am. I thanked the helpful agent and told him I would return early next morning to buy the ticket, as sometimes the ferry is cancelled due to inclement weather in the Gibraltar Strait.
Walking on down to the ferry terminal I saw a notice forbidding photography, hastily I slipped the Fuji back into my pocket and produced the keyring spy camera instead! There are two banks on the approach to the terminal with two ATM's, from previous experience always patrolled by hovering touts, anyone making a cash withdrawal here will attract the attention of local undesirables offering a tour of the nearby Medina for an extortionate fee. There is another ticket office opposite the banks and as I passed it, the touts immediately pounced, demanding to know if I had a ticket, to which I replied in the affirmative "andee wirka" ( I HAVE ticket) which deflected any further interest. On my way back to the hotel a young Medina tout attached himself to me until I screamed at him, resulting in his swift disappearance, scuttling away like a frightened rat!
Next morning I arrived early at the ticket agent and bought my ticket, obtaining the essential yellow immigration form, and walked down to the terminal. At the foot of the ramp leading up to the departure lounge are two Portacabins where a boarding pass must be collected on production of passport and ticket, predictably, touts were in attendance, eager to fill out my yellow immigration form (for a price) but were disappointed when I grinned and and showed them the completed form. The rest of the journey passed without incident, the ferry departed nearly one hour late (as usual!)
On the reverse journey from Spain travellers would be better advised to use the Tanger Med port and the new rail link to Tanger Ville station, avoiding Tangier's infamous city port!
- Budget Travel
went on organised tour from Malaga. The minute arrived started getting hassled, the visit to the carpet shop was a nightmare the pushy owner would not let up, was utterly disgusting. rude people, had money snatched out my hand, also sworn at because would not buy off a street vendor .Barbaric place
If your going to tangier via the ferry take a Can of Deoderant plus a lighter. Why because you will need it to blow flames and at *** Morrocan who comes up to you and trying to sell you crap or take you to crap
I threated to Call the police if they didnt stop bothering me.
I paid a guy 50 euros to show me around town and he couldnt help but take me to his friends carpet shop where the *** tryed to sell me his crap
If you are ever brought into a shop without any reason for being there
1 MOAN AND COMPLAIN THAT YOU can bring their work back home because of quarantine laws
2. Get the hell out of the shop
And if some fool at the port wants to fill out your form its best if you give him a good push and walk right in
Dont forget to support a Free Western Sahara and if any moroccan pisses you off. You tell them to get the hell out of western Sahara
Every Moroccan who goes around their country bothering people ought to be shot in the foot So clench your fist and thow a bunch
Secure your wallets, Tangier is very busy especially in the markets. People are very poor and desperate therefore you have many professional pick pocketers here. Keep wallets in your front pocket or even better in a zippered jacket pocket.
Morrocco and tangier especially is a massive al-qaueda recruitng ground and we wre told this by several locals. You need to watch your back, especially if you choose to stay where we did, up in the slums. Respect the muslim culture and try and keep your views to yourself, any excuse possible will be used against you. Unfortunately the tangier people are not very hospitable to brits especially. We were having a beer on the beach and a muslim women went beserk at us, spitting at and cursing us! Let them get on with it, you'll be back in Spain or down in senegal with a brew soon enough!
Speeding Tickets - Literally Highway Robbery!!!!
If you are driving in Morocco - The highway patrol have recently gotten radar speed detectors, and they are very keen on using them. An officer will merely walk out into the road in front of you in order to stop you.
My experience consisted of being pulled over before we were 20 minutes out of Tangier. The officer was very polite, but informed us that our infraction would cost us 400 deerhams. We were issued a ticket after payment, and as we drove away, I looked at it and noticed that the price of the ticket was printed in old letters at the top - 100 Deerham! The police tried to take us for and extra 150 deerham each!
PHOTO OF ACTUAL TICKET COMING SOON.
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At Least Do This: First of all, be very polite and courteous. It helps to give the impression that you do not have much money, even if you do..... I spent a good deal of time rummaging in my purse. When the officer asked our professions, we told him that we were students. He finally relented and reduced out fee to 200 deerhams....However, this was still a 100 percent markup on the actual ticket price!!!!
Make sure that the officer knows that you are a tourist (Yes, in many cases this is obvious, but reinforcement does not hurt. Morocco is trying very hard to grow its tourism industry at present.)
Alternative: Well, one can take the bus or train, but really there is no other alternative if you go by car. We were pulled over a total of 6 times during our drive from Tangiers to Essouira and back, and only two of those times involved even a minor speeding issue; the other stops were just to get information about us. Remember - just be very polite and respectful. Fear and anger do nothing but encourange any phony or excessive ticketing that the patrol may be inclined to inflict upon you.
PHOTO OF ACTUAL TICKET COMING SOON.
if you are interested in reading some blog posting on my moroccan experience, they can be found at:
- Road Trip
HOUNDED BY NUMEROUS VENDORS
After we left the camel area, we were brought to and let out at the Kasbah, back in the city. As we wound our way through the narrow streets we were hounded by numerous vendors trying to sell us things. Some were quite rude and honestly I was a little intimidated by it all. I was relieved when I saw the bus waiting for us at the end of the street.
- Family Travel
No worries about Mobil phones, there is plenty or areal around, the international code is +212 and to phone outside Morocco put the 00 plus the country code. Prices are more expensive than in Europe
If you plan to get something at the duty free, check that they do not try to tease you with the prices, we wanted to buy some tobacco at the ferry and they tried to charge us more, even if it was written on board! You can take up to 200 cigarettes per person (more than 18 years old)
Drink Bottled water
As in many countries in Africa be careful with what you eat or drink to avoid stomach problems, I try to buy always bottled water and avoid raw food like salads, I also try only go to places that I had been recommended by friends.
Watch out for the fake guides - continued
From previous tip......
No way mate, I said, just take us back to the port area please and we'll be off. So we went back in to the labyrinth like medina, which actually looked really interesting and well worth exploring. We saw a Berber market and some interesting shops and quiet streets. I kept checking with our guide that he was taking us back to the port but we actually ended up outside a local shop selling herbs/spices etc.
He said we should go in and have a look but I was having none of this so on we went. Back near the port we finally got rid of him. But not before he had demanded 50 Euro for showing us around. That's 50 Euro for about an hour's work, despite us not even wanting a guide. I offered 5 Euro hoping to get rid of him. He got very angry at this point and started saying he had a family to support that and he should be paid for showing us around in the rain.
We were still in an area that I didn't recognise so I didn't want to cause too much of a scene in case any of his mates jumped in but there was no way I was paying that much. Eventually we gave him 10 Euro and walked off. He actually looked quite pleased as we were leaving so I guess we were quite badly ripped off.
Watch out for the fake guides
Watch out for anyone who approaches you and offers to show you around. You'll only end up getting ripped-off, as we did.
After escaping the port area without too much hassle we were feeling more confident about seeing Tangier. Outside the port we stopped to look at our map to try and find our way to the centre of town. Bad decision!
One of the locals approached us and asked where were we going and did we need any help. I really should have said no but I asked could he tell us the way to the medina. He then said to follow him and he'd show us the way and rather stupidly we followed him. He did seem very nice at the time:(
We soon lost track of where we were as he led us further and further into the backstreets of the medina. Somewhere at the back of my mind I was worried we'd end up being mugged or something similar but by now I had no idea where we were so we had little option but to continue with him.
I had read up on Tangier beforehand so I asked him what sights were nearby. We were very close to the Kasbah museum, so we decided to go in and see it and escape from our guide for a bit. But when we were finished he was of course waiting for us at the gate. By now I realized he was planning to try and stay with us for the day and as we had negotiated nothing with him I tried to end it then. We were leaving for Fes an hour later anyway, though our guide was by now recommending all the different things he could show us in the Medina.
Keep your wits about you in the port area. As soon as we had left the ferry we were met by a number of locals offering to find us taxis, hotels etc, or to show us around their city. We politely but firmly said no and most of them seemed to leave it at that.
However, I saw another couple who had been on our boat being followed right across the port by one persistent guide. These guys can be difficult to shake off and it's best to insist you want to be left alone.
We stopped to change money just beyond the boat and a number of taxis pulled up while we were getting our Dirhams. I said no thanks but they still stayed there until we had walked off. Though this kind of hassle is not overly threatening, it's certainly feels a little unpleasant and was not the nicest way to to start off our holiday.
Beware of crossing in pedestrian crossings
Beware when crossing roads, even if it is a proper one, as they do not seem to stop, only will “try” to avoid hitting you. It has become to dangerous that even there are this kind of signs.
The worst of all is when the police is around, a car stopped because a big group of people were crossing and the police was shouting to the man because he stopped …. In a crossing! Incredible LOL
At the beginning I was annoyed with all the people talking to us and I confused with hassling, later on I realise most of them want conversation, specially after telling them that I had lived there and I had been with the Zoco nun´s (the Calcuta sisters) and stayed in Casa Ria nuns. It is true I only stayed for one week, but it was my best friend who lived there for two years while helping the nuns. But the only way to avoid them asking you to be your guides is to tell them you know where you are going. I did not wanted to spend my day looking the shops they wanted to show me LOL and after so long time I still remembered the area
With the shop attendants that stop you to enter, nothing works LOL they always have an answer (it reminds me my mother!!), if you say “I have no money” they will say “just look”, it does nto matter what you say … they will find an answer ;-) so if you really do not want anything, just do not ask for prices or look as you will finish buying something !
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