My husband and I almost went to Tunisia. We really did. If it hadn’t of been for the inconvenience of getting there from the south of Spain along with the frustration and contempt of how easy and cheap Tunis is to get to from England, we would have gone.
For a moment in time, I had wished I were rich enough to own a private jet so I could go where I wanted, when I wanted without difficulty. That place just might have been Tunis. For a while I have wished to visit Carthage, romanticizing it, trying to imagine it in its day of glory.
But instead, we went to Morocco. Going to Morocco is not really a holiday; it is a journey. A life experience you pay for and sketch-plan before you go, doing a fair bit of research. That research will forewarn you that you will get hustled and annoyed by the locals, all competing for your penny.
The Hustle and Haggle in Morocco
Some places are worse than others, like Tangier. Forget finding much of a bargain there; the shopkeepers don’t haggle there like they do in the south. In fact, they look a bit offended if you try. The souks in Tangier, and the medina, aren’t as welcoming as those in Fes, Marrakech and some of the smaller towns, either.
People are helpful, but you will have to pay for their help. It is hard to resist a gorgeous rug from the rug venders, too, or a big, blingy mirror. I would have liked to buy some of the distinct, Moroccan furniture, but it is hard when you are traveling by backpack on buses.
We did manage to haggle some silly prices on private taxis rides via grands taxis with our best Spanish, which most Moroccans seemed to understand. We got caught up in the new trend when visiting Morocco, too. But we weren’t completely suckered.
Morocco’s Must-see Sahara
If you are planning a trip to Morocco, you will want to jump on the bandwagon of heading to the Sahara Desert. While it was on my wish list, I hadn’t actually considered going on this last trip, due to time restraints. Morocco is bigger than you think, and it takes a huge chunk of time getting from one place of interest to another.
As we were planning on renting a car to get around, the owner of a riad in Fes convinced us otherwise. He arranged a five-day trip for us. While I didn’t, in the end, visit most of the places on my list and wished I had gone ahead and rented a car, if you would rather have someone do the driving for you, going with a local is advised.
I think all of the riad and dar owners in Fes are related and have discussed a fail-proof plan of taking tourists’ money and sending them off to the wilderness. They have connections with the desert kasbah’s and crazy drivers who join in the conspiracy.
Unsuspecting Travellers are Carted Off on a Whirlwind trip to the Sahara from Fes
I don’t know how they do it, but they manage to convince young, unsuspecting travellers to take an 11-hour overnight bus trip to the southeast where they are picked up from a small town in a 4×4 and transported through the Sahara for a half an hour to an area of kasbahs. These naïve and innocent ones are not hard to spot. They are the ones with huge backpacks and red eyes walking about.
They spend a few hours in the day recovering before they are escorted via camel two hours to a Berber bivouac in the sand where they spend the night under the stars, again, getting no sleep. Then they come back early the following morning, wait around a few hours, then catch the overnight bus to Marrakech. Three nights without sleep. No thanks!
It is utterly crazy!
And everyone is falling for it! Including us. To find out what happens next, watch this space for Part 2!
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author of 20 books and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet including over 1500 articles as a featured writer for Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…