Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marrakesh - I Am So Over It

Marrakesh is my least favorite city in Morocco. Why? Because it seems that every taxi driver is completely ridiculous. That is not the only reason I have many which I will go into later but for now let’s discuss this.

There a few ways to get into the city. If you are coming out of country you would fly in, or you might take a taxi or bus in. There are issues with all of these when you get there. Outside the airport, bus station, and/or taxi station there are petite taxi’s which are all waiting on the same thing: people which they can over charge. The problem is that the city is way to big to walk around without getting a small taxi. You have to have one to get from the airport to the square or where ever you are coming from.

Conversations with taxi drivers are typically is something like this:

Back story: I am coming from the CTM bus station and it should be 10-15 DH to get to the square where my hotel is.

Taxi Driver: Do you need a taxi?

Me: Yes but how much?

Taxi Driver: Where do you want to go?

Me: To the square?

Taxi Driver: 120 DH

Me: That is very expensive! Why is it so expensive? Use the counter(meter).

Taxi Driver: It doesn’t work….. okay 70 DH.

Me: No seriously, I know the price. 15 DH is a good price.

Taxi Driver: (laughing at this point) You will never get a taxi for that.

Me: I did yesterday coming from the same place.

Taxi Driver: Well there is a lot of sun today. My last price is 50 DH.

Me: Bye

Then I choose to walk out to the street get a better price, which I almost always do. What I don’t understand is how they can do this. Every time I have ever asked if their meter works it never does. I have even told the taxi driver to try to make it work and they pushed every button on the meter but the power button acting like I am a gullible foreigner.

Yesterday I was in Agadir, probably one of my favorite towns in country (they always use their meters), I was talking to a taxi driver there and he said the next time that someone tries to pull that stuff again that I should tell the police about the situation because they could get their license taken away for trying to do that to someone.

I know they don’t do this to everyone. I am obviously foreign but the fact that I am getting ripped off just because I am is not right. I have never on first try had a taxi driver in the city use their meter.  Just because of this it puts a big sour taste in my mouth and I will try hard not to go back.

It’s not just that but it other things there that bother me as well. I have seen too many fake touristy things that I can’t stand any more: snake charmers, men in Berber dress dancing around for no reason, monkeys, henna women, etc. This stuff isn’t real Morocco, not even close. It bothers me to think that people believe that this is genuine people of Morocco living their day to day lives trying to share their culture with others. Actually it is quite the opposite, these men and women are playing on stereotypes that most foreigners believe is real: people wear fezes, people charm snakes for fun, etc.

People who are trying to supply a product in Marrakesh are so pushy. Try walking in the square for a few feet and you will hear things like “Hello come to my shop I have something beautiful to show you.” Or I have heard people walking in the square and the next thing they know a monkey has jumped on their shoulder and the owner now demands 100 DH. Two times in two nights I had two different people say f-you after they didn’t get what they want. One was a beggar like the age of 9 and I refused many times to give him money and the other was a man touching my sister on the back and then started touching my wife and I stepped in the middle and then he put his fingers up like a gun to my forehead and said that I was a bad man and that I needed to f-off then he acted like he pulled the trigger to blow me away.

This is a lot to say that I just don’t feel welcome there. I don’t say this after one visit. I say this after over 5-6 visits. I wanted to give Marrakesh a chance but I am over it now. If you come here don’t spend more than 1 day in the city. I don’t think it’s worth your time or money.I speak Arabic and still get bad prices and people acting like I am a fool.

Remember this is only my opinion about Marrakesh and not my site or any other city. These are some pretty hefty generalizations which someone might disagree.That's fine. I am sure that there are many people in the city that are honest and trustworthy but most of the people which I have dealt with there have not been. There are many cities in Morocco that are beautiful and have wonderful people and I am glad for that. If it were like this everywhere I have went I don't know if I could take it. I could write more but it is already a long post and I think you get the idea.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.


  1. It always makes me sad to hear people have this experience, because it's not how I see Kech at all...

    Sorry for being a stalker, I'm a former volunteer from the Kech area, and I live here now - in Gueliz. I think there's something to be said from not being in the Jma Elfna area, it's much better.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I am sure that things are different outside the square area but I just think of most of the tourists that never go outside of it. Little respect is all I am asking for from the locals :)

    I am sure if I spent more time outside the square I would like it much more. I am glad that's not how you see it! I am sure Kesh is just not for everyone. I didn't mean to bash a whole city, just the touristy areas.

  3. Marrakech is more peaceful during the off-season when it's mostly Moroccans and fewer tourists. I have had a young beggar, a kid of maybe 11 or 12 come up and ask for $20 like I was his daddy. Taxi drivers are stubborn when it is hot and they know people are miserable and just wanting to get to where they are going, they will argue with Moroccans on the price too, it may take 10 tries to get a decent price for a trip. The last time I was there my luggage was delayed and it was July, I know exactly how you feel after 4 days in July two years ago I haven't wanted to go back to Marrakech, at least never again in the summer. I visit other cities, Essaouira and Assilah are my favorites.

  4. I want to visit Essaouira. It is a favorite among PCV's. I am excited to visit and will do it soon since it is almost summer and I am looking for a way to get out of site.