“Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”— Ibn Battuta.
I got up that morning, nervous with butterflies. Thinking to myself, this will be the first time I’ve ever traveled anywhere by myself, let alone out of the country, finishing up my last-minute errands. Freaking out at the rhinestones on my nails pop off. Yea, clearly I didn’t know what I was getting into. Lol
Now, I’m off to catch my flight it will be the next day before I actually make it to Morocco, I’d better rest up on the plane. The moment we took off, I knew then my life would forever be changed.
When I landed in Marrakesh, I walked off the plane onto the tarmac and was hit with the hottest heat I have ever experienced. Now I’m a southern girl, and I know what hot is, but I have not never felt this type of heat. However, once I took it in and thought wow I’m actually here my excitement took over, and the heat was a secondary.
Upon getting through the airport and trying to find my driver, I took in how beautiful the airport was. As I made my way out to find my welcome committee. I realized my driver never showed up. I’ll go into more detail on the company and what happened in my next post, “Trek through the desert.” At this point, I’m starting to feel the anxiety hit me. I quickly calmed myself and said, Ty, just catch a taxi it’s not that serious.
What I would say to you as a traveler, please make sure you have travel WiFi, sim card, or add an international plan to your phone service! I purchased a WiFi through Skyroam, which was a disaster. The device I was given did not work, and I ended up doing a daily international plan through Verizon. They did have sim cards in the airport for purchase, however, at the time, I thought Skyroam could fix the issue. I will say Skyroam did refund me my money. Unfortunately, it just added unneeded stress and anxiety to my trip.
Another thing I suggest is downloading WhatsApp for WiFi communication and Maps.Me, a downloadable map that does not need service to use it. It was absolutely life-saving while I traveled in Morocco, and it also will ensure you not getting scammed by the cab drivers taking you for a ride.
Now the Taxi from the airport was absolute an awful experience. The cab drivers WILL take advantage of you, just know this is a given. A ride that should have cost me 15.00 American dollars; instead, it cost me 40.00. Then when he dropped me off, he wanted another 15MAD, which is about 1.50 American dollars, for nothing just because the driver felt I was dumb, and he could do it. I was so frustrated I just paid for it. FYI get local money at the ATM! The exchange to me was a ripoff at the airport.
Once I got dropped off, I realize why I should have packed light. Why having nails thinking, I was cute was a bad idea. Makeup you can forget it you about to look like the crying clown because you about to literally sweat two gallons of water off your face! During my stay, I chose to stay at a Riad. A Morrocan Riad is a large traditional house built around a central courtyard that has been converted into a hotel. Riads are typically not off the street, something I clearly did not know. I had to walk down a couple of alleys to get to it. Once you get to these alleys, men are lining them to ask if you need help with your luggage. If you accept this help, please know they will demand payment thereafter. So if you can manage without help, don’t take it, keep walking, don’t even get direction or you will be paying. As for me, I needed HELP! Lol, I was lucky to see a teenage boy who I didn’t mind giving money to because he was so polite. I let him help me down the narrow cobblestone alleyway to my Riad.
I stayed at Riad L’Orchidee, https://www.riadlorchidee.com. This hotel was absolutely beautiful. I really didn’t know what to expect going down these alleys. Not to mention how inexpensive this hotel was. Let’s just say I was a little nervous, but once I got inside, I was put at ease. The Riad was quaint and had a welcoming feel. The receptionist was charming and got me taken care of pretty quickly. She then showed me to my room, and then I realized there is no elevator and began to fuss at myself because once again, I didn’t pack light! My room was a nice size, clean, and hot. There is no central air, just a wall ac unit that worked rather well. Also, I noticed there was absolutely no privacy. You could close the shutters to your windows, but there were no screens or enclosures you could hear everything outside your room, and everyone could hear you as well, so if you bring a mate silence on the hanky panky, lol that if you are married of course because it’s against the law to stay in the same room unless you are married.
Breakfast came with my reservation, as for dinner, you will have to make a reservation. Another tip for travelers is if you want to eat at your Riad, make sure you tell them before 12:pm. They prepare food only by reservation as it takes a while for them to make. Come hungry as it is a lot. For my pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan viewers, I do apologize. I temporarily started eating beef and chicken again four months before my trip to experience all of the Moroccan cultures without limitations. As for my new readers, I am a pescatarian transitioning into a vegetarian, so eating meat was a big deal for me.
Once I got showered and settled in, I began my exploration of the city. Being that I was alone, I booked experiences with Airbnb, https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences. I would recommend this to anybody. This option put me in touch with local people who were certified tour guides, and they truly made my experience a wonderful one. My first tour guide was Mohamed https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/216247418. His tour was Marrakech by night -A Moroccan mystery culture walk, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/481312. This tour was, by far, was the best tour I had ever been on. Mohamed educated me on the culture in Morocco. He prepared me for all the things I would have to endure during my trip. He Fed me a traditional cuisine that was only local to Marrakesh called Tangia not to be confused with the Tagine you see in the picture above. Also, showed me how to shop without harassment that a whole other story in its self.
Since this tour was at night, I was able to take in a lot of cultures and see the square all lit up and beautiful, truly one of the best experiences. In the video above, this is a typical night in Marrakesh. Honestly, this is a slow night because there were a lot of Moroccans out in the country on vacation for a three day holiday. This was the last day of that holiday. One thing I would urge people not to do is take pics of the monkeys in the square or even in the direction of the monkeys. The people who own them will ask for money even if you didn’t mean to do it. Not only that, the monkeys look abused. They look like they don’t want to be there, it’s kind of sad.
Another tour I took was a shopping tour. I did a shopping tour because Marrakesh shop owners are incredibly aggressive. I’m talking trap you in their store till you buy aggressive. Sounds scary, well I’m going to tell you it is. Thanks to my first tour guide, he already told me not to go in unless I know what I want to buy and do not point at anything. My shopping tour guide was Mohamed Reda, https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/216635301. His tour was Shopping Hidden Souks of Marrakesh, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/370279. This experience was also a great one. Moreover, Mohamed was very knowledgeable and knew the shopping area very well. He made sure to ask me what I was interested in purchasing and only took me to places that would have what I needed. I did not feel pressure, for the most part, to buy until I got to the rug shop. In the rug shop, they go all out, and you feel bad not to purchase because of all the catering they did for you. I’m talking about red carpet service. So if you go in there and they pull things for you, and you decide not to buy please at least tip, but I would suggest not letting them pull anything if you are window shopping. The only complaint I would have about this tour is Mohamed knew all these people quite well. So I don’t know if I was getting the best prices at the best quality. Things to me were a little expensive for Marrakesh. I don’t regret what I purchase, but let us just say I burned down the shopping tour. Lol
Overall, Marrakesh was amazing, and I would definitely go back. Yes, there were some questionable moments with the sales aggression, always wanting money for service you didn’t ask for, making sure you negotiate your cab fare before you get in, and me not pack light lol. But for the most part, I enjoyed myself, and the people were nice and friendly. I hope my post helps you and inspires you to go to this destination. Remember, to pursue your dreams because know that no matter who you are or where you are in life, you can do it!
I hope you enjoyed my first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going and would love to hear all of your feedback. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates and stay tuned for more.