marrakech for virgins
Getting ready for a big trip requires a lot of blog reading, travel guides hunting and asking people who have been to the place.
Philippine passport holder can enjoy three months in Morocco without resorting to impersonating a desert gypsy or worse, a camel, to elude the immigration authority who will track you down the slopes of the desert.
It has been in our bucket list to fly to Marrakech for the longest time but the biggest roadblock for budget travelers like us is the airfare. Unless there’s a really dirt cheap flights to Marrakech on sale and we will start packing some Carrie Bradshaw-ish wardrobe ensemble.
Recently, a good friend went on her epic adventure in Morocco. We are really eager to listen to her stories while cringing out of jealousy. And we asked her the basics of what a Marrakech virgin would want to know before booking that flight to this rich cultural African destination… (Yes, AF-RI-CA! They may have that mid west swag and euro-attitude but they are in Africa!)
Photo by Cla Ines
What were your expectations while you were on the flight enroute to Marrakech?
My expectations were based on the photos we’ve seen and the blog we’ve read. In short: vast emptiness in the desert and chaos abound in the medinas.
Describe Marrakech in three words.
Cosmopolitan, vibrant and QUIAPO.
What is the first thing that caught your attention on your first hour in the city?
There were a lot more tourists in Marrakech than in the other Moroccan cities we went to. Most of them are in town for the weekend from Europe.
What is that one meal that you consider a “Must eat” in Marrakech? other than the men.
Other than the men? Tagine is the most well known Moroccan dish. It’s basically a stew of meat (beef, venison, chicken, fish) or vegestables slow cooked in tomatoes, herbs, and spices in a clay pot with a conical lid, which is called a tagine.
What tips will you give to first time travelers to Marrakech?
Have lots of patience. The touts can be a little too aggressive and rather off-putting specially if you’re coming in from a long haul flight or an overnight bus ride. In the market or in the Djemma El Fna square, people will approach you asking where you’re from and try to engage you in a conversation leading up to selling a product or service. Be friendly but wary: even if you say no to whatever they’re selling, they can be really persistent. Be careful about waving your hand; my friend ended up with a sparkly, glittery henna that she didn’t want, but the henna lady still insisted that she pay her.
It was really sweet of her that she even bought us something from her trip. The Assouss Argane soap from a rare plant that grows only on dead camels (I’m kidding!) and the famous Filipinos Chocolate Biscuit. Now I have all the right reasons to say that “Filipinos are damn delicious” and you should try it too. No pun intended.
Nina Fuentes of Justwandering.org is a Philippine based nocturnal travel writer and she spells love with the capital WTF. Nina is the reigning winner of Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards for Best Travel Blog!