How to Survive a Moroccan Medina

How to Survive a Moroccan Medina

The guidebooks all speak of the Medina as a place of grand exploration, beautiful sights and smells and inspiring moments. And well they really are all those things, they are also as frustrating a place as there is on this planet. The medina in Fez, I found in particularly difficult. It was closterphobic, dirty, and a white man like myself can hardly walk a foot without being hassled, yelled at, followed, or grabbed. Marrakesh, and the other cities, was much calmer, but this advice will serve you well there also. The saddest thing about Morocco is the fact that you are hassled so much that anyone that says hi to you starts to feel like a threat trying to exploit you. I have never been to a country where I have felt more like a walking dollar sign, and treated as such. It would be easy to have a Medina meltdown. To find a corner to cry in, to throw a punch at a local, or to just start yelling like a heathen. However, it doesn’t have to be like this, but there are some things you ought to know before you enter the medina. Below I have included a guide on how to avoid the Medina meltdown. 1. Be firm In Morocco, no doesn’t exactly mean no. Quite often it means try harder, sell more forcefully. If a salesperson, a random person “helping you” won’t leave you alone don’t be afraid to forcefully look them in the eyes and say NO! You should try your best to be polite and respectful, but if they aren’t catching the hint you have to be firm. 2. Be confident Moroccan hustlers can see someone that isn’t confident from a mile away and will take full advantage of you if you aren’t. Those who aren’t confident will likely be seen as targets in the medina because they would much rather pay someone off than struggle or argue. Walk with your head high and a smile on your face. 3. Don’t believe that someone is just “showing you around” I can’t believe how many times I heard people say, “oh this person was so nice, he has just been showing us around for 2 days out of the goodness of his heart.” Come on people, are we that stupid? I’m positive you’re not going to meet anyone on the street that is just so eager to show you around. When you finally say goodbye they are going to ask for money. You are going to give them 10 dirhams and they are going to yell at you and call you an awful person...

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