The Henna Ladies
"Henna ladies" (as I like to call them) are ubiquitous in Morocco. Often they will aggressively grab your hand in an effort to start the hennaing process before you can say "no" or strike a price. I found that the best way to deal with this is to have your hands hennaed at the very first opportunity (either back home or when you first land in Morocco). When a Henna Lady grabs your hand and sees that someone has beaten her to you, she'll back off immediatel ... it's easier than saying no over & over again.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MINDHow...
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
How much tipping?
The currency of Morocco is the dirham (MAD), which is sub-divided into 100 centimes.
Unless a service charge is added, tipping is expected and around 10-15% of the bill is customary in higher-class restaurants. When dining in traditional restaurants and cafés, a few dirhams may be left as a tip.
Bellboys and porters may be tipped five or ten dirhams per bag, and chamber service five or ten dirhams per night's stay. Taxi journeys can be rounded up to the nearest dirham.
How to dress?
The dominant religion of Morocco is Islam, which advocates certain dress ethics that differ between sexes. As a general rule, it is appropriate to dress modestly.
Traditionally, Arab women cover their faces with veils, though this custom is changing. However, women should not wear anything that may be considered too revealing. Shoulders, arms, and legs should be covered up. Loose clothing is recommended as it disguises the figure.
Gentlemen are advised to wear long trousers (unless playing a sport or relaxing by the hotel swimming pool). When in public, a shirt should be worn that fully covers the shoulders
The official language of Morocco is Arabic; however, Berber dialects are often spoken, especially in more rural locations. French is the preferred language for business, in government, and in education, but English and Spanish are also commonly used throughout the country for business.
Visitors must remove their shoes before entering a mosque, and clothing should be modest.
It is unacceptable to take photographs of any woman whose face is covered by a veil.
Women are allowed to sit at the terrace of cafés but they still rather go inside.
Thank you for visiting - Hope you had FUN !
Long live Soviet-Moroccan friendship!
The highlight of old Cliffie's social adventures in Casablanca was the night he gatecrashed a reception at the Soviet Consulate. When the outer ring of Moroccan police asked for his invitation, he patted his pockets wildly and babbled in Bulgarian until the bemused policemen assumed that he was a forgetful Russian who had left his invitation at home. Strolling into the compound, he switched from Russian dress mode - jacket on and ill fitting - to Italian mode - jacket draped casually over the shoulders - and prepared to brave the inner ring of Russian security men. This time he flapped his arms and spoke rapidly in Italian - if not with Florentine perfection, at least with racy Neapolitan fluency - and the security men, who assumed he must have shown an invitation to get past the police, thought he was some junior Italian diplomat and let him in. Alas, old Cliffie's cover was finally blown when the Cultural Attaché - suave, inquiring and probably KGB - sussed him out as he was trying to juggle a plate of caviar canapés and a glass of vodka. Fortunately, the Attaché seemed to find talking to a representative of the decadent capitalist west more interesting than chatting to the ancient crones who had fled Russia as children at the time of the revolution. Several toasts were proposed and much vodka consumed.
Aïd el Kebir
Many of old Cliffie's glimpses of Moroccan life that few tourists experience were thanks to a Moroccan friend - Saad by name but not by nature - who introduced him to his family and friends. Invited to Saad's family home for the important Moslem festival of Aïd el Kebir - commemorating Abraham's obedience to God - old Cliffie was pushed to the front when the official slaughterer came to kill the sheep tethered in the courtyard. Blood splattered over his legs as the sheep was ritually killed. The matriarch of the family rushed to supervise the skinning, dismemberment and evisceration of the animal - and half an hour later a plate of tender heart kebabs was served.
I've written down some more...
I've written down some more tips which you may find interesting...
If you can, try and carry a few colorful postcards/ photos from home and give your new found FRIENDS in
Morocco a glimpse of where you live! I said - FRIENDS - and not those guys that you met at the bar last night, ya know? :-))
This is strictly for the ladies: IF you wish to discourage unwanted MALE advances and attention
here in Morocco, I can't think of a better ploy than to bring along say, a Chinese language magazine! Or if you're from the USA or Europe, just buy any other language magazines you can lay your hands on so long
as it's NOT in FRENCH, ya know? :-) Then when someone tries to pick you up, PRETEND that you don't
understand a word of English and FRENCH! And continue reading your magazine! Believe me, Moroccan men find Caucasian and Oriental women VERY fascinating and will not hesitate to tail you.
(P.S. If you do read and speak Chinese or any other foreign languages...all the better. In this case, you don't even have to pretend!).
Drinking Water: The water...
The water is NOT SAFE TO DRINK here in Morocco. So... don't even DRINK the FRUIT JUICES here (because once something has been mixed with water, it's 'contaminated').... One of my greedy girlfriends drank a glass of orange juice from our hotel's restaurant and she suffered from severe stomache for the rest of the day. Sigh...
In a restaurant, ask for a bottle of mineral water UNOPENED. Have them open it at your table and you can be sure you won't get local water ... bottled. :-)
Most people know how to ask for unopened bottled water when traveling in areas where the drinking water is
not safe, but they may not realize that it's all too easy to get sick from ingesting water while showering,
even if trying to keep one's mouth closed.
The solution? Always keep mouthwash in your mouth while showering. It will help you remember to keep your mouth closed and the antibacterial agent in it will help purify any water that gets in anyway (e.g. through your nose).
For me, I used mineral water (costing 10 dirhams per large bottle... very cheap!) to brush my teeth and to wash my face. I don't want to take any chances because I don't want to fall ill in a foreign land.
P.S. The water is safe to the locals who are used to it. This doesn't matter if you're a resident of Morocco or the UK: remember, to the residents living in the country, the water is safe.... but not to the travelers! Our tummy's not accustomed to it yet. All water contains different sets of microbes and
mineral deposits, even in the US. If you aren't used to a country's drinking water, then you may get
sick just because it is different.
Be safe, buy bottled water cheap at the supermarket.
Please also DON'T trust the locals in a developing country to tell you that their water is safe to drink. Again, for them, it is safe to drink. For you, it probably isn't. The price is small compared to what could be a disastrous effect on your trip by
drinking the local water. When in doubt, play it safe!
Photo Below: A Moroccan Hammam.
Finally, DO give some serious...
Finally, DO give some serious thought to how you dress. I apologize if I sound like some broken record... but I just want to get my point across, ya know? Very important. How you dress will either send out the RIGHT vibe or the WRONG vibe to the opposite sex. :-)
In the Western world, you'll encounter few, if any, clothing restrictions but it still makes sense to dress conservatively.... unless if you're Britney Spears or Madonna. Then you can get away with anything!
Avoid wearing provocative, form-fitting clothing, especially if you don't fully understand the culture you are in e,g, MOROCCO. Do you know that in the Pacific Islands, for example, a woman's thighs are considered an erotic part of her body and should not be exposed in public. In India, a female's upper arms are considered sensual areas and must never be exposed in public. The same theory applies for Morocco.
Leave your valuables at home. Instead, take along beautiful costume jewelery that might serve as a conversation piece with those you meet along the way. Or get your hands/palm painted with henna... a very popular thing to do amongst the women in Morocco. I had mine done there too. :-))
If you travel into developing countries and male-dominated societies like MOROCCO, pleeeeeease make every effort to dress modestly. For example, a one-piece swimsuit is always a safer choice than a red pokka-dotted bikini, ya know? In some countries, local women might swim entirely clothed, in accordance with their religious beliefs. So, don't go skinny-dipping in your hotel pool/ sea without first checking the local customs and rules. I really don't wish to see your face appearing in tomorrow's CNN news detailing the date of your execution. :-)
In some places, customs based on religious and moral beliefs strongly influence the way a woman dresses. A female traveler should always carry a scarf in case she needs to cover her head! An advice I've always taken to heart....
If you run into someone like...
If you run into someone like this, you'll know that you spent too much time in the desert, have had your mint tea spiked or your whole trip to TANGIER was just a dream and you are now just sequencing into another.
Typical common sense precautions prevail. Your are in a country which takes their religion very seriously. All of us should observe their customs and respect them. Having spent only one day here, I am not the best person to ask. Query VT members who live there, you will get a more valid answer.
More to the point, addressing the ladies, don't even think of dressing like this! On the beach, okay.
You wil see them they are selling water,they will ask for money if you you wanna take a picture with them...
You can always sneak and picture without they see you to avoid paying them in the end.
Have a mint tea is very popular in the city,at afternoon you will see many locals go to caffee to drink te mint tea and chat.