Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Not To Wear - A PCV's Take On Tourists

After being in Morocco for a year it has been interesting watching tourists come here and spend their vacation here. After a while I started noticing some trends. Sometimes I am shocked by some things that I see and other times I laugh. These things will help you blend in a little better even though you never really will blend in. I still stick out like a sore thumb but I feel like I am getting noticed far less than I used to. I feel like I have preface this by saying that I don't believe every tourist does this just say few but I still think it is worth sharing. I plead with you be sensitive to the culture and use your common sense.

What Not To Wear - A PCV's Take On Tourists

Fanny Packs - Beside these being completely out of style nothing says tourist more than a fanny pack. If you like the convenience of one of these than that's your deal but what do you need to take with you when you walk-about the city? Is it so much that you need to take a huge sack on your stomach. Just put what you need in your pockets. It really makes you stand out much less.

Speedo's - Men when you are on the beach do not wear these. This might be popular on European beaches but it is shocking to me to see men wear these on the beach. Plus I don't want to see your man piece. It's gross. It makes it even worse when you have a man who is 100 pounds over weight wearing one of these. No one wants to see this especially a conservative Muslim community.

Djellabas Or Caftans - In Marrakesh I have seen tourists wearing djellabas/ Caftans. This within itself isn't the issue. The issue is when people don't wear them correctly. Did you know that djellabas/ Caftans are meant to go over clothes much like a long coat would. It is super embarrassing when you see that they have nothing underneath these things. I have seen Morocans in a fit of laughter because of it and I have to admit that I just shook my head. But to be honest it is very rare (unless you are wearing them to big holidays or weddings) to see someone wearing them out on the town that are tourists. The people of Morocco are becoming more and more modern. This means you can dress this way too but just use common sense.

Short Skirts, Or Shirts That Show Cleavage - This is mostly for the ladies. I see so many women that wear these things and they get so much unwanted attention that it's crazy. Harassment can be pretty bad on most days but if they see someone with these kind of clothes most Moroccan men don't know what do with themselves. Do your part to not get this attention by using your head to dress more conservatively.  The locals will appreciate it. Also I have heard people say, "Well some Moroccans wear swanky clothes why can't I?" My response to that is, "You can." but keep in mind that you stand out already and this is mostly true only in big cities. Trust me it might feel good to be noticed for the first night but when men start saying things like, "How much(implying for sex)?" or " I want to have sex with you" you might start think otherwise about what you are wearing. If Moroccan women get comments like that they know how to handle themselves or at least tolerate it (even though it's sad to see any harassment, women should be able to express themselves without being ogled at or spoken to like property!) but tourists are normally not use to that level of harassment and it might be too much.

Extras: Huge cameras, camping clothes, etc.

What do you think? Anything else that I missed and should be mentioned?  


  1. One thing you missed:
    If you're a foreigner and PETA activist, don't feed the cats or dogs out of your hand. A tourist stopped in my site for lunch, but then she started chasing (yes, literally chasing) cats and dogs trying to feed them from her sandwich. Not only will you look like a martian, but the feral animals are not clean and you're likely to get bitten (especially with the dogs). Onlookers truly thought she had a mental issue. You should have seen the faces... priceless.

    That wasn't really what not to wear, but still... just don't do it! :)

  2. Love this comment! I am putting together another one of these for just random things you just shouldn't do. I will make sure that is on the list!