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Old Jan 1, 13, 2:15 am   #1
 
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Be cautious visiting Morocco - experiences with corruption/scams

CORRUPT!

I just had a really unpleasant stay in Morocco. The country is beautiful and everything is cheap but the population and society are utterly annoying, noone should bother with them if they have a choice.

The worst part is the corrupt police. They keep stopping you and delaying you for dumb reasons until you give them a 50 dirhams bribe. Passport control is slow and inefficient. Sellers, beggars, drug dealers and prostitutes harass you all the time. This country is a perpetual pain.

If you have to go, make sure you can go off the beaten path as people are much nicer away fromtourist spots and if you can afford it take a driver and a guide and get the best lodging you can. The day-to-day nightmare of dealing with their ignorance, intolerance, poverty and dirtyness ruins your hard-earned vacation!
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Old Jan 2, 13, 12:09 pm   #2
 
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That is what the drug dealers are for. You wont see it this way afterwards
Your description is pretty much my experience in parts of New York.
Except. for the "cheap" thing of course.
Dealing with their poverty has ruined your "hard earned vacation"??!!
How dare they!
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Old Jan 2, 13, 12:15 pm   #3
 
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Better stay at home next time....
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Old Jan 2, 13, 10:59 pm   #4
 
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Typical. It's the same exact pattern anytime anyone makes any complaint about an exotic location. One person posts, "well, sounds like New York/London/Paris/Los Angeles/Peoria/etc." Such a poster has obviously never been to Morocco and/or New York.

And someone else self-righteously sniffs that the OP is obviously a naif and heathen who should just not travel. As if it's illegitimate for a FlyerTalk member to make a negative observation about the prevailing culture in a certain destination.

I have been to Morocco many times (and will be there again next week), and I agree with the OP's observations, though I enjoy it there. The chaos that the OP refers to is part of the fun in Morocco, in my opinion, but it's certainly not a destination for everyone.

And I don't think it's fair to ascribe the culture in Morocco as synonymous with "poverty." I find it more coarse and harassing than countries of similar income level. For example, Syria (before the recent uprising) had a similar GDP per capita to Morocco, and I have found on multiple visits the people there to be friendly, warm, and open -- and none of the "Sellers, beggars, drug dealers and prostitutes harass[ing] you all the time." I don't think that foreigners would have the same trouble with corrupt police in Syria, either.
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Old Jan 2, 13, 11:08 pm   #5
 
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by af fp View Post
Sellers, beggars, drug dealers and prostitutes harass you all the time.
Let me teach you an Arabic word:

La!
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Old Jan 3, 13, 3:15 am   #6
 
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I know some people like it.

But it is not for everyone. And the government should be more careful with tourists, they badly need their money.

Rant over.
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Old Jan 3, 13, 11:11 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
Let me teach you an Arabic word:

La!
Or "La shoek-rahn" if you want to be polite. (No thank you.)

I'm honestly surprised at your experience. As I've posted in other threads, my Mom & I were there two years ago, drove all over the place and only encountered one annoying tout (a guy we'd previously hired as a tour guide who then magically appeared at ever corner long after his job was finished trying to interest us in a visit to his uncle's rug shop, etc.). It was a noticeable change from our last visit in 2004 and, in theory, we'd make good targets. (Two women, one in her early 70s and the other in her early 40s.) Mom even got pulled over by a cop at one point, who did nothing more than tell her to watch her speed.
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Old Jan 4, 13, 6:16 pm   #8
 
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Cool

Shukran for reminding me, chgoeditor.

The Canadian education ministry official traveling with me also like to tell the youngsters on the street....

"Aller ŕ l'école!!"

Which usually sent them off with a sour look on their faces....

The touts usually hang out at typical tourist spots like overlooks on the routes through the mountains, etc. Mildly amusing most of the time, and not really too intrusive.
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Old Jan 6, 13, 4:00 am   #9
 
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The op here should stay home!
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Old Jan 8, 13, 4:14 pm   #10
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I had a similar feeling to the OP while in Tangier in 2004, save for the histrionics.

Though, a visit to Marrakech and Casablanca were the complete opposite. Not that Casablanca is really worth a visit (there's a rad mosque on the water, at least), but perhaps my experience could've been different if I blended in less easily the second time around.
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Old Jan 8, 13, 8:21 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
I had a similar feeling to the OP while in Tangier in 2004, save for the histrionics.

Though, a visit to Marrakech and Casablanca were the complete opposite. Not that Casablanca is really worth a visit (there's a rad mosque on the water, at least), but perhaps my experience could've been different if I blended in less easily the second time around.
I think you'd find that Tangier has changed a lot in the last 9 years. My Mom & I were there for 5 days in 2011 and walked all over the place...we were not approached one time. According to expats we spoke to, there's been a huge crackdown on the touts and they risk jail time for soliciting tourists.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 1:29 pm   #12
 
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Well, the economic climate in pretty much all N. African countries is lousy right now, so can't blame the locals too much for being annoying as they are desperate. On the other hand, try not to let it stress you out. Be polite, but sometimes a little yelling (or raising your voice) can be cathartic as well. Of course, its best to avoid unnecessary confrontations by avoiding areas with lots of touts, employ a reputable guide, or just by staying in the taxi.
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Old Jan 11, 13, 4:01 am   #13
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I've been to Morocco many times both for business and leisure- and have in general nothing but good things to say about the country.

OP I hope the rant made you feel better.

FYI the economy in Morocco at the moment is faring much better than Italy, Spain, or Greece and I suspect France as well.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 4:43 am   #14
 
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I just got back from Fes, and found the touts/hangers-on/hustlers annoying, even though I am used to it. They often hound you, follow you, touch you, lie to you ("this ATM doesn't work -- use that other one over there"; "don't go that way, there's nothing there"), etc. My usual approach of a polite-but-firm "no, thank you," doesn't generally work the first few times.

People are, of course, just trying to earn a living, and can provide value -- for example, one guy walked me all around the medina and showed me the inside of some riads for EUR 5, which he requested in advance, then I declined his offer to go carpet shopping, which he offered with the usual fanciful tale -- but one doesn't have to be an "ugly American" to find them off-putting.
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Old Jan 22, 13, 7:34 pm   #15
 
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Glad I am not the only one finding them off-putting... Good for those who know how to handle them.

Yes they were all over us and it was not fun. I know they are not faring well, and they cannot be compared to Europe anyway. But the result is still there, if you want a nice vacation, you'd better know exactly what to expect. And rely more on guides in tourist spots and avoid public places. I might have to go again (not so willingly) but I will be much better oganized, unfortunately the goal will be to avoid the locals.
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