Savory fare ladens stalls in Marrakechs Djemaa el-Fna.
Photograph by Brooks Walker
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Turning down the road toward the village of Aït Benhaddou, our
car was approached by a young boy frantically waving for us to
stop. The road is closed up ahead! he shouted. The river has
washed part of it away. I will show you the detour. Ignoring our
little Samaritans offer, we drove on. Five minutes later we were in
Aït Benhaddou. Once again, we were spared the irritation of an
uninvited guide and an inevitable detour to the nearest carpet
shop or restaurant.
Sand dunes occupy only a fraction of the Saharan
landscape. Terrain is mostly rocky plain.
by Brooks Walker
Like rain in London or messy hotdogs in New York, hustling is an
integral part of Moroccos local color. If you feel picked on,
remember that Moroccans themselves get hustled all the time.
Although authorities in major cities have been successful in
curtailing harassment of visitors, the countrys soaring
unemployment rate and the widespread perception that all tourists
are rich will probably ensure that hustling and price gouging
remain constant factors in traveling there. Some general rules for
easing the pain:
Always settle beforehand what you will pay for meals, goods,
and services if prices are not posted.
Remain polite but dismissive when people approach you to offer
unasked-for services or aggressively try to engage your attention.
A simple no thanks followed by the cold shoulder will usually
Minimize time spent in major tourist congregation points such as
entrances to souks, museums, and hotels.
Dont bring guides into shops when you want to buy something
as this usually obligates the shopkeeper to add a secret commission
to your purchases.
Practice makes perfect. The more you wander Moroccos streets
without the protective bubble of tour groups and guides, the more
you will be able to deal with local hustling like native Moroccans
dowith nonchalance and a sense of humor.
Traveling with his wife, writer Finn-Olaf Jones explored
Moroccos desert reaches. Read his story, Morocco by Camel,
in the March 2000 issue of TRAVELER.
Focus on Morocco
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