How to avoid rip off Morocco
Souk And Ye Shall Find
Rule No 3 Nothing is free in the medina, even looking often has a price.
Agree a price upfront for services rendered. Still searching for Marrakech's tanneries, the derbs became shabbier and decrepit. Scarface requested a bunch of mint for our delicate nasal passages, he wrinkled his badly stitched rugby ball face, “for the pigeon shit. He wasn’t wrong. Soon we entered the kingdom of the Arabic and Berber tanneries, we were confronted with a biblical scene of squalor, guano crusted concrete barrels, hovels occupied by prematurely aging men, grime creeping up their legs and arms like a rancid case of mildew, stray cats and dogs with a feral disposition and the stench of ammonia bleeding into every available space. A couple of heated conversations between Scarface and the workers needed no translation. We had outstayed our welcome, which ended in the obligatory visit to his ‘uncle’s’ leather shop. Freshly guilted and served up like lambs to the slaughter we resisted the temptation of a sympathy purchase, having previously stocked up on a leather pouf summit. We left and crossed Scarface’s palm with silver. His ungrateful protestations once again needed no translation, unsatisfied with the amount he was going to ‘share’ with the Berber and Arabic tanners he attempted to shred us with a stare which presumably earned him his facial stripes. A short cab journey with Joe Le rip-off Taxi ended at Riad Joni, our bed for the night. Simple but a little rushed round the edges.
Rule No4 When visiting Marrakech take some respite in the new town.
The calmer laid back part of the city accommodating open air cafes on the broad boulevard of Mohammed V offering a great vantage point to people watch over a glass of milky coffee (and the honeyed pastry I’d been forced to boycott earlier). Beware though, the threat of glossy globalisation and its bland contribution is manifest in the predictable double heighted glass temples of Mango, Zara and Levis found all over this middle class arrondissement.
There’s treasure to be found in Morocco, but most of it has little financial consequence, it’s a visual and gastronomic booty with lasting memories of true value. Seek or rather souk and ye shall find.