Hitchhiking trip to Morocco [Morocco 1/7]

“I think I would prefer not to try hitchhiking there. Supposedly, it is not safe, and Philip said that the transport is not that expensive…” – I said before our trip to Black Land. After arrival, however, our plans changed. As it turned out later, the biggest threat to the hitchhiker in Morocco is death. With overdose. Of food. Why? We invite you to read the relation of a 2 week trip to this unusual country.


.Beginning

We land in Marrakesh late, after 22 o’clock. We have to get to the outskirts of town whereour host from Couchsurfing, Ahmed, lives. We get on a bus that takes us around the center, from where we take a taxi. The first attempts to bargain make no result – the course is nocturnal, and the taxi driver knows that besides him we have no other options. The street that leads to the neighbourhood of our host is a local bazaar with fruits, vegetables and bread during the day. When we go through it for the first time at night, we are struck by the “charm” of Morocco: dark and gloomy, heaps of rubbish everywhere, some boys are bouncing ball, homeless donkeys, cats, dogs and horses, one even looks dead! First thought? We’re gonna die here! The taxi driver can’t find the address, but he calls Ahmed, who explains where he should drive. Ahmed leaves for us and the taxi driver waits for us to pick him up. In the relief that we do not have to wander between these “romantic” streets, we give the taxi driver a tip, even though we initially wanted to bargain. Then we really thought he had saved our lives. In the apartment we meet 3 roommates of Ahmed, unfortunately, only Ahmed speaks English. The boys are very nice, but you can’t ignore the incredible dirt in the apartment. Why is it like that? About that later.

In the morning our dark bazaar doesn’t look so terrible anymore. Although unattended horses eating the remains of the trash can make a rather grim impression, but we no longer feel like we are going to die here.

 

U nas po śmietnikach buszują koty, a w Maroko konie
There are cats in the trash cans in Poland, in Morocco there are horses

We catch a cab that takes us under the walls of the medina, the old town. Ahmed informed us how much we should pay. Our white faces however do not facilitate negotiation, tourist = money, and business is business. Taxi drivers do not want to turn on the taximeter, they only agree on a specific amount at the beginning. They often propose three times what we should pay, and when we say our price – they laugh and leave. But we always managed to find a more or less fair taxi driver who brought us safely to our destination, for a reasonable amount. It is worth stressing safely, because traffic can be described as one great chaos. Loud scooters and cyclists are sneaking between the rushing cars, overtaking grandpas on donkeys or horse-drawn carriages, and traffic rules do not seem to exist.

In Marrakech we visit the palaces of El Badi and El Bahia. In the first one we meet our compatriots on a winter vacation!

 

Gniazdo z widokiem
Undoubtely this is a Polish stork!

We also go to Menara Gardens, which advertise Morocco on many postcards. It turns out that apart from this one place, where all the postcards come from there is nothing extraordinary. We do not recommend them. Besides, the beautiful view of the Atlas mountains can also be admired in other parts of the city (the aforementioned stork). What we recommend is to simply wander around the medina. Drygaś before departure told us: You can see the city in 1-2 days. But you can also spend a week still wondering how it all looks like. And he was right. At the first shoot we show pyramids from spices.

Te piramidy chyba są oszukane...
How do they make that?

Then, the winding streets of the medina. When going to the souk, the local bazaar, you can feel overwhelmed. From everywhere “your friend” is calling you wanting to sell you something. After stopping at some booth to see something,  immediately sellers start monologue about how their product is gorgeous, and the price is so low, wow. Don’t even try to answer their question “What is your price?” because they won’t let you go, and they can (supposedly) even curse such a curious tourist, who only looks at the goods without desire to buy them. You also need to beware of the “guides” who want money for their “valuable” services (i.e. taking you to a hidden, empty and very expensive restaurant). Having got rid of such a “valuable” guide we get to the place where we eat our first tajine. Tajine is a traditional Moroccan dish made of clay, and also the name of a dish prepared in it. Spiced meat and vegetables are placed in the bottom part and covered with a heavy lid. The whole is left on low fire for 1-4 hours, comes out deliciously.

Souk
One of the widest souk streets

Jemaa El Fna Square is a mandatory point. This is where we meet drummers, guys with cobras and other snakes, birds, chaos, dressed monkeys, dancers, merchants, chaos, food stalls, henna tattoos, noise, chaos and confusion. We do not support such ventures, monkeys on the chain in the diaper looked rather sad, snakes propably were on some drugs not to bite tourists , birds similarly. Well … like country like circus.

Węże
Snakes. You can take a photo with them around your neck, however we choose “remote” option

Before leaving Marrakesh we get familiar with the bazaar, which scared us so much the first evening. We buy delicious oranges and bananas, and we also discover a stand with different cakes, buns, and amazing walnuts and chocolate muffins for 0,1€! The prices here are definitely for the locals, in contrary to the tourist prices in the center. Last day we buy a cup of cupcakes and we rush forward.


About how we changed our attitude to hitchhiking in Morocco and how we managed to realize one of the compulsory points of the trip, you read in the next post [click].