Your experience of culture shock in Morocco
In Zagora, for example, a side-street restaurant served us a tagine big enough for two people for less than half the price of a one-person tagine being served around the corner on the main street. Requests for tips or baksheesh can be common in tourist areas. If someone offers to show you around a historical site or lead you to an address you should have some small change ready as a tip. You may also be approached in cities like Marrakech by people who want to lead you to the tanneries on the edge of the city walls. The Moroccan government has cracked down on this in recent years and all guides are supposed to be licensed.
We found the best way to deal with this was to stop and greet the children with a handshake or a joke but not to actually give anything as it only encourages more begging.
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Some cyclists report kids throwing stones, especially in the Draa Valley. I was there. Then the worst. The depression and isolation. I went to sleep as soon as possible. If I did go out I had to have someone with me.
How can I forget binging on Kit Kats for several weeks straight. Together MarocBaba and I are learning what works and how to move past it. For me, getting away and having new experiences is a big help. Of course, trying new restaurants and taking longer trips is a great way to boost my spirits!
I also know having regular interactions with people outside of my immediate family is important. The more language I learn and freedom I have the easier life becomes. Be the first to find out when it's available!
Culture shock: Celebrating Eid in Morocco
I want to send you a big virtual hug and thank you for being so honest. Life is not always perfect anywhere. When I look at your body of work through your website I am very impressed. You have a strong and adventurous spirit! Please continue to keep your posts honest and objective as this is what people need to hear. Good luck and best wishes.
I think what you wrote there is true. I have been through all the stages you have described in your mail. The people are genuinely nice ; even the difficult ones were easy to handle for me. Finally, handling bureaucracy there was a walk in the park compared to the British bureaucracy. I am still going back and forth between the UK and Morocco both for business and pleasure. Ah yes — we hate to admit that the expat life is a double-edged sword. But you have opened up your mind and your whole world.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization (No-Nonsense Guides).
- CultureShock! Morocco on Apple Books.
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So nice to read your article Amanda, I realize moving to Morocco was easier for me then moving to Stockholm about 25 years ago. And I know now why! All the steps you discribe here were new for me then and I wanted to resist and show I could handle it. And that makes it a lot easier!
How long does the honeymoon period last — I must still be in it. I have found that every single day, so far, that a good and or great thing happens out of the blue.
Morocco: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Morocco)
I am constantly getting wonderful surprises — big and small. Some people never go through culture shock, and some people never get through it. We became so concerned over the years, that we developed a method to empower expats to live their lives wherever they are, rather than merely existing. Thankfully several companies already use this kind of method; but for most expats, stuck in the long cycle and circle of what you describe, it offers a lot of empowerment for individuals and families! However, a two-day training session is of very limited use — due to that recurrent fact that life continues, and you have to do your shopping, take the kids to school, get your visas renewed, have the car fixed etc.
So to cut a long story short, what we recommend, is a minimum three-day cultural integration course, which covers everything from daily living to the psychological stuff, and then regular follow-up and contact on a coaching basis — basically someone being there as a guide to keep you sane and healthy, whilst providing realistic pragmatic coaching as a regular coach would but with all the scientific and background knowledge of expat and intercultural issues. This post gives me some things to consider.
I appreciate the raw emotion and comments. There are a lot of things to consider. I highly suggest going for 6 months or a year open ended. I am so glad that we did that. Amanda, you are so brave, and am so grateful for your posts sharing your honest ups and downs in learning the ways of life in Merrakech. So glad you have the support of MarocBaba and are pushing through the blue times and appreciate the differences that give life its zest.
Going on my 14th year as an expat in the Middle East, I can say that these feelings never entirely go away. They come and go, maybe not as intense but still there. Also, it seems that other American expats around seem very well adjusted and I wonder, what is wrong with me? Then make plans to do something unique to the place you live. I have found the moroccan people to be very hospitable and warm and friendly, they dont have much in the way of money or assets but they will gladly share what they have. I have had the young lotharios trying it on - of course I tell them to go away - but have built up friendships in the way I built friendships in any other place by good conversation and trust.
I have not been 'ripped off' or asked for money by these people. Please dont generalise and speak ill of a whole nation. I am just about to arrive for another visit and already have had various friends offer to pick me up at the airport and sending out invitations to dinner etc. Precaution is a lot better than cure!!
I am an American. I fly from Casablanca to NYC several times an year and talk to a lot of people who had a great time in Morocco, I have never heard them complain about the beggars or street vendors. I have rubbed up against tourist in many countries and have seen the best and worst of them. Most are delighted with their adventure, have an appreciation for other cultures and don't mind a few unpleasantries. A few however have nothing good to say. Never mind beggars, I had someone approach me offering the kind of thing I wouldn't think those of the same gender will ever offer me.
I wasn't dressed in a particular way or acting in a certain manner to attract this sort of attention, so that was truly a culture shock which I've yet to recover from. Beggars: You can walk through any big city in the world and find aggressive begging, Its not something that only happens in Morocco, Ive seen more aggressive beggars in London that just about anywhere else. Morocco has its share of beggars as do most countries. For first time tourists to Morocco, its not like a couple of weeks in Spain or the South of France, Morocco is a whole different way of life, that's part of the charm of coming here, its something different.
As with any tourist destination take a day or so to know the place, ask other people staying at your hotel where to go and what to avoid. Don't go flashing money around or you will loose it. Don't pay the first price asked, and do not be afraid to barter, offer them half the price they asked for as a starting price, and then come to a agreement from there. Keep in mind they want to sell to you, if you feel the price isn't right walk away.
Just use common sense and you will be fine. Reading through some of these posts you would think Morocco is a frightening place full of beggars,thief's and hookers. The reality is it is no worse than any other tourist destination, there are unscrupulous people ready to take advantage of you, you have to take care, keep your personal stuff phones, cameras secure and you will be OK. And finally if you hate Morocco so much that you feel you must post negative comments every day about the Moroccan people and country, you can always make use of the airport and leave.
There is no law keeping you here, or for that matter making you visit, i don't understand why you would keep coming back. Or why you would keep on writing about it, move on life is too short.
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Ive been living in Casablanca for 16 months and i agee that its common for guys here to try and trick foreigners and try to use them for something strange but, its not everyone. I have male moroccan men friends, quite a lot of them, and most of them never tried anything dodgy.
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