Henna hand painting
We were in the Café Maure in Oudaia Kasbah (that area with houses lime-washed in white and striking blue) and were enjoying the views of the river when a young woman who had just finished with a customer, came over and said that she would like to paint my hand. I said no thanks, but she said there's no obligation to pay, just a small gift will do, it will look very nice, i have nice hands, blah blah. She was saying all these things very sweetly, and I was too tired by that time to resist, so I finally agreed. It was done in no more than 10 seconds. Unfortunately by that time, i had no more coins or small dirham bills, so was forced to give 5 euros, as it was the smallest amount i had.
I realise of course that i walked into a trap with my eyes open...and 5 euros for a 10-second job (which i probably could even do, albeit with a little practice) was just too much! I've never heard of anybody being paid 1 euro/sec!
And worse for me, the paint came out very faint, and was gone after just a few times of handwashing. taught me a lesson!
Unique Suggestions: So for women travellers, keep your hands close to your body or in a fist, and don't be swayed by the sweet talking young women there.
Fun Alternatives: Just enjoy the views in the veranda, drink some tea.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Let me start by saying this place is a tourist trap but not an animal trap. As you can see from my pictures the animals seem to have all the space they need (except for the poor Hyena). The animals seem to be will fed and happy, The elephants and Hippo have all the water they want.
The other bright spot are the Barberry lions that this zoo did a good job in breeding and developing a sizable population after it disappeared from the wilderness.
The place is obviously neglected and underfunded; it needs all the support it can get. If you feel that way fine, make a donation or buy a ticket but still don't go there :-) entrance will cost you 10 DH. The zoo is open daily from 6-9. As far as the animals you'll see the usual suspects, lions, elephants and so on.
The Cafeteria is in ruins with broken glass. The place is very dusty and depressing.Getting to the place is pain in the neck, it is out of town and you have to come by taxi or your own car. I was told that Bus number 17 leaves from Bab Alhad and will drop you next to the stadium, you'll probably walk 400 meters. There are many Zoo in this planet, so go somewhere else more cheerful.
Maybe I would not have been so down on the Zoo if it wasn't for the Rough guide book who went on and on about how great the place and set me up with high expectation, only to see the very sad condition. The lonely planet guide was also guilty in that regard.
Unique Suggestions: Bring you drinks and snacks. The canteen is in ruins and not any where near providing any kind of food. There is a guarded car park for 2 dh extra
kasbah des ouadayas and chellah
avoid the so called guide especially if you're travelling alone ; in the kasbah the guy was very insistent
Unique Suggestions: don't bother to listen to the "guide"; he willtell you that the kasbah is closing and you have to rush; it isn't true. keep walking and don't pay attention to him
Guards at the Mausoleum
At the entrance to the Mausoleum you'll find Royal Guards on horseback. They may encourage you to take photos of them, pat the horse and so on. Be aware that there is a catch - you'll be expected to reward them with some cash, though they won't make this obvious until the picture's taken.
Really, it's not such a big deal, but they may suggest that you pay them a bit more than you'd expect - after taking a photo 'our guy' opened his palm to reveal a 5 euro note, clearly suggesting that this was the going rate for a photo and was a bit disappointed to get significantly less from us!
I found this funny more than anything, though it is a bit disconcerting when you actually have the official guards to the Royal Mausoleum touting for money. I'm fairly confident that the Royal Guards at Horse Guards Parade and Buckingham Palace don't ask for cash when you take a photo...
Unique Suggestions: If you really want to take a pic, be sure that you get as many photos out of him as possible! Or just say no thanks and walk on in.
- Budget Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Guides in the Kasbah des Oudaïas
Upon entering the Kasbah des Oudaïas we were approached by two young men who informed us that the kasbah was going to close in one hour, so we had to hurry through if we wanted to see it - and we believed them! Why wouldn't we? It was our first day in Morocco and we thought they were being genuine... Little did we know that this gentleman would end up being our guide! He showed us around every little alley and house that existed in the kasbah, rushed us when taking photos and seeing the views... and then when the 'tour' was over we tipped him 50 Dirhams, but he demanded 120 Dirhams! The cheek! He wasn't even an official guide and the bit about the kasbah closing was a lie because when we left it was still open...
Unique Suggestions: If you feel like you would need a guide to visit the kasbah then set a price beforehand and tell him not to rush you through your tour! The kasbah is quite a complex place full of alleys and winding streets, so having a guide isn't a bad idea, just be careful that they don't rip you off.
The local currency is dirhams...
The local currency is dirhams and the Moroccans are of course more than well aware that the dirham is worth but a fraction of the US dollar, and most European currencies. Be aware of the conversion rate and set yourself a limit as to how much you'll pay for a journey.
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