We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Comments from recent trip

PA
Level Contributor
117 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Comments from recent trip

My husband and I recently completed our trip in morocco - went to casablanca, marakesh, fes, ait ben haddou, merzouga, boulmane dades with the great help of tripadvisor users:) It was overall a very interesting place to visit and we are glad we made the trip; took many beautiful pictures of the amazing landscapes.

I will say however, there is one thing I wish i knew more about and wanted to pass on the advice. We got ourselves into a lot of situations where people would just pursue us trying to sell things, very aggressively. It was quite annoying and we ended up paying for things we didn't want, over paying or the combination of the two. I don't know how many others have experienced this but it really irritated me on multiple occasions the way we were preyed upon.

Example 1 - we arrived in marrakesh, parked our car and were in the process of unloading our luggage. We were approached by four young guys that literally took the luggage out of our hands and offered to lead us to our riad. They seemed really nice and I was like wow, what hospitality. The riad was maybe 1 minute away from the parking lot. You had to know where you were going through the little alleys but it was super super close. We got to the hotel and we tipped them 40 durhams which I know think was ridiculously generous. They proceeded to demand more, were becoming quite aggressive in the hotel lobby, refused to leave, told us that that was nothing in terms of tip, and had to be kicked out by the hotel manager who then essentially told us that that was way more than they should have been payed. I felt really angered by being taken for a ride like that and in general turned off by such an atmosphere.

Example #2 - this was a little later in our trip. We were driving from merzouga to fes and stopped in midelt for a quick bite to eat. We were exhausted from the long ride in the heat and just wanted to literally grap some food. We stopped to get gas in the city and asked gas station attendant if he recommended any restaurants in the area. Quickly, out of nowhere, this man appeared and inserted himself in the conversation, introduced himself in a very friendly way and asked us where we were from, how long we were visiting, and told us that he would show us our way to a really nice restaurant. I was really suspicious since I already had a feeling that aggressive people that just jump into situations where they see tourists and act all friendly are really just after your money somehow. My husband let him in our car as he said the restaurant was close by and he wanted to show us. He took us to restaurant and stayed with us, talking a bit about himself and then said I want to show you my store afterwards. I want to show you my carpets, etc etc. I was in a rush to get to fes but trying to be polite since he showed us the restaurant we agreed. He arranged for the waiter to come, took control of the situation and then left and came back before we were done our meal. My husband wanted to get up to get some money from bank but he pulled out his wallet, offered to pay since we could just pay him back later. Slowly, we were getting more obligated towards this guy and I knew it was going to be bad. He led us to his store and one by one pulled out all his carpets, exlaining the story behind them, etc etc. We had no intention of buying a carpet, all I ever wanted was to stop for a meal!! We were totally intertwined in this situation, where I felt obligated to sit and listen to him out of politeness but a part of me was gettting worried that we were going to be obligatde to purchase something. Then he said I am going to one by one put the carpets away and as a part of the berber tradition I want you to tell me yes or no (in terms of purchasing) which is hilarious given the fact that I never had any intention of buying a rug. We told him this and literally had to insist until it registered in his mind that we werent going to buy a rug. He started to become agitated and was like can you look at the jewelry, maybe you can buy some jewelry just to help out. So we indulged him and looked around. I asked him how much one of the plates was, mostly out of politeness but a part of me thought if it was cheap enough we could buy it and get the heck out of there. And also pay him the money we owed for lunch (with the whole purchase). That started a whole long big negotiation where he gave us an absolutely ridiculous price for a place ($150 USD) and then essentially pressured us into giving a counter offer. In the end we ended up walking out with a $40 plate, which I had no intention of buying, but literally was our only exit strategy and the thing that amazed me looking back on it was how carefully he strategized and manipulated us into the whole thing. I didn't give the details for sake of brevity of how he negotiated and the exact things he said, but he literally was a tourist predator. I was just so happy to get out of his store. Anyway, interested to hear others comments and hear anyone elses similar experiences? For people planning on traveling to morocco, be aware of these types of situations....

marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
10,038 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Comments from recent trip

Hi,

An interesting post. The only answer and advice to other travellers really is "just say no". No-one can force you to buy something you don't want and you should not allow someone to take you to a restaurant you don't want to go to.

NZ
Level Contributor
1,380 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Comments from recent trip

I'm sorry your holiday was marred by the actions of some touts.

Yes - it can be a problem and for first timers it is difficult to work out the correct amount to give for a small favour, and how to extricate yourself from an akward situation. Unfortunately life in Morocco can be very hard for many people, the tourist season is short, and the unscrupulous play on people they see as rich. If you can afford a holiday in Morocco you are in the minority.

Part of our problem is that we are brought up to be polite - and this situation was one where your good manners brought about an unpleasant situation.

The only way is a firm No and if they act offended - unfortunately that is too bad. You have the right to say No.

The same situation can also arise in some parts of Turkey.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
52 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Comments from recent trip

I read and re-read Example 2..

You sound a tad too indulging. Your first indulging mistake, taking a stranger into your vehicle. You knew the situation you were in, you also knew what the outcome would be. You were pretty much at your own free will to get up and leave at any time without making a purchase. He isn't a tourist predator as you will allude yourself to believe, he has an effective sales technique.

4. Re: Comments from recent trip

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 9:05 am, May 13, 2012
Marrakech, Morocco
Level Contributor
409 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Comments from recent trip

Have to agree with other replies, you just need to say no thanks politely and firmly, and there is no need to be pressured by anyone into paying for something you don't want. You need to make it clear right at the start though, and then you won't have a problem.

Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
11,811 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Comments from recent trip

These people didn't steal from you, didn't mug you, didn't help themselves to your wallet, anything they received was freely given by you.

So I'm intrigued, what would you have done if this had happened in America?

Would you really let some kids walk up off with your luggage? Would really you let a complete stranger into your car? And when he says he wants to show you his carpet shop would you really let him pick up your meal bill!?

Yes, there's some skilled manipulators in Morocco, but they don't compare to the real experts in places like Egypt or India.

idaho
Destination Expert
for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
Level Contributor
11,566 posts
529 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Comments from recent trip

should have said "no" from the beginning..never let someone, don't care who they are , or in what country, in your car...

a polite no, and being firm, usually works...you may feel badly for a moment, but wouldn't have had to buy a $40 plate or have any hassles..

don't let that ruin your thoughts about your trip. there must have been many wonderful times that you had...tell us about them.

PA
Level Contributor
117 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Comments from recent trip

I agree. It was very naive of us. Somehow the people just act so friendly that they are able to insert themselves. I think if you are in a tour group you are protected and experience less of this. Since we were traveling alone I think we were targeted in the markets more from people that wanted to sell us things. Overall it was a nice trip, I definitely would do things differently in terms of the locations and amount of time we spent in each but live and learn. I wasn't impressed with marakesh at all, didn't feel like there was much to see or do there but then when we drove up north and passed through irfan, I was like why didn't we stay here instead?? Merzouga was great but I would have taken a plane to nearest airport instead of driving and seeing all the sights along the way. The sahara was really awesome to see but all the cities along the way weren't really worth it. The gorges, etc were nice but it really just was a ton of driving.

Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
11,811 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Comments from recent trip

Generally speaking the more touristy the place, the more scammers there are who are attracted to easy pickings. It's only human nature, same in London with Oxford Street.

Ifrane and even more so Azrou is a lovely area, hardly any tourists, very low or even non-existent hassle factor. morocco-knowledgebase.net/forum/…

"it really just was a ton of driving"

To be fair we do try to tell people that. One of my comments on your previous thread was "Your memories of Morocco are likely to be heavy traffic on main roads." Although I ride a powerful motorbike I like to travel at a slow pace, spending much more time looking around.

Edited: 8:48 am, May 14, 2012
PA
Level Contributor
117 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Comments from recent trip

No i totally agree. I just wanted to post to let everyone know who is traveling there so they don't fall into any tourist traps....