MEDINAS - TOP 5 GENERAL NOTES
1. HUSTLE AND BUSTLE:
Now, let's talk about the medinas. Medinas are very dense Moroccan markets filled with a great deal of hustle and bustle. To say that the medinas are complete chaos is putting it lightly.
2. SHOP OWNERS:
In general, the shop owners tend to be quite aggressive which can add to the overall stress of the experience. If you even so much as seem slightly interested in what they are selling, then you are expected to buy something. And, when you do not, well... the shop owners do not take that so well.
3. GETTING LOST:
Likewise, the second you look lost (which is incredibly easy in the medinas), local street children, shop owners, and others will step in to help you. But, they expect payment. Always, know where you are going ahead of time. I can't stress this enough. Firstly, so that you don't get lost. And, secondly, so that you don't become an open target as a tourist. The worst part about being a tourist is being recognized as a tourist.
4. WOMEN VS MEN
Lastly, in general, our treatment as tourists was better when walking with our guy friends. My girlfriends and I found that walking the medinas just us women was not always an ideal circumstance. I assure you, our heads were covered, and we were clothed completely from head to toe. We were not in any way soliciting attention. Still, shop owners in the medinas grabbed us or said inappropriate things to us. We had a completely different experience to that of walking with guy friends.
5. TOURIST DRESS CODE:
This re-inforces my early point that, in my opinion, the dress code isn't the issue. At times, all it takes is being a tourist; and, in certain circumstances, it is just being a woman. Of course, this is not a generalization for the entire country. This only happened a few times in various places. This treatment was unfortunate, and I wish I didn't have to write about it, but it is important to note for women traveling to Morocco. To clarify, I never felt unsafe or in danger - not once. But, dealing with this behavior can be tough to deal with when you are trying to be respectful of the culture and you are dressed modestly. Read More regarding What to Wear in Morocco.
DEFINITELY WORTH THE EXPERIENCE:
Overall, I fell in love with the food, the colors, the architecture, the culture, and the kind people I did meet along the way. None of the information listed above is meant to be a deterrent from visiting and touring Morocco. The medinas are lively and a unique experience that you have to have while in the country. And, those few moments of a difference in social culture did not paint my entire experience with a wide brush. Morocco is still one of my favorite countries as a whole, and I highly recommend it!