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Couple of questions please?

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London, United...
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Couple of questions please?

Hi

I have already posted a question or 2 on here and received some brilliant advise from people but thought I would post this separately.

I am going to Marrakech on the 16th by myself and just wanted to know what is the protocol if somebody is asking for money on the streets? Do you give to everybody and if so how much roughly? I read on here that it is rude to ignore them and I do not want to appear to be rude.

Also, being my first time am I easily going to be able to find myself from point A to B and if I do have to ask a local for help am I expected to tip?

I have read jewellery is a big part of Marrakech, can anyone advise if this is costume jewellery or do they have real silver too?

Think that is it for now and I am very much looking forward to my trip.

THanks

Kelly

Marrakech, Morocco
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1. Re: Couple of questions please?

There is no protocol for "zakat" - giving alms. Be aware that there are various scams (mothers sharing babies on a 'time-share' basis, the apparent invalids and disabled etc) If a Moroccan is seen giving alms then the recipient is probably genuine. It is not rude to ignore beggars and thankfully there are very few in Marrakech as the society is highly family orientated and usually take care of their own. If you feel moved to do so a 5 dirham coin is not an insult - it buys three khubz (the local bread) or two with a filling.

Some 'cheeky chappies' will ask for remuneration when asking for directions (mainly boys and younger men) and will always try to lead you to Djemma al Fna, the central medina square (despite where you may wish to go!) Far better to ask a local stall holder or shopkeeper - although they are likely to invite you in for mint tea and "just for looking"!

There is a massive range of jewellery in Marrakech from 22 ct gold, through silver items (buy through recommended outlets as a lot is silver alloy, especially of Berber manufacture), to authentic Berber ornamentation often including amber, semiprecious stones and coral (beware of buying coral items) to cheap but decorative costume jewellery.

Stockholm, Sweden
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2. Re: Couple of questions please?

Give never some money to the boys (and girls) who often ask about money and says that his father has died and now he (the boy) have to take care of the family itself, etc. Mostly it is not the true and they only try to get you to give them money which they then do spend, not for family anyway.

Marrakech, Morocco
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3. Re: Couple of questions please?

Feel free to ignore beggars, it is not rude - many of them are professional beggars rather than the true needy. If you want to give something then even 1dh is fine, 5dh is plenty.

Some people (usually kids) will often offer to lead you to whenever you are going and will then expect a tip - 5dh is enough, although they may well demand more. Note that a standard scam in Marrakech is to tell tourists that a certain road is closed and that they can show you an alternative route - just ignore these guys. As mentioned above, it is often better to ask a shopkeeper who will just point you in the right direction.

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4. Re: Couple of questions please?

I mainly found people begging in the jama al fin ah , when giving to one old lady ... 5 dirhams, soon Afew more turned up so one has no choice but to ignore and walk away ..... Say sorry, I know the word for no money is 'LA maal( they understand eventually, it's hard when they are blind ...... They are happy with whatever you can give. Do watch out in KFC in market on evening there's young boys who if they catch your eye will keep making gestures at the window for money ... The manager will kindly ask them to stop, if you ask .

London, United...
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5. Re: Couple of questions please?

Hi

Thanks for the tips (no pun intended).

I know once I am there I will be able to access the situation myself but is it fairly safe to walk around with a fairly big camera?

Thanks

Kelly

London, United...
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6. Re: Couple of questions please?

Hi

From what I am understanding there is quite a bit of fake silver and to buy from recommended outlets, not sure who those are but I am also reading that Tiznit is the place to purchase jewellery, can I easily get to this location from Essouaira as I will be in Essouaira for a day and night?

As for must buys, I am interested in spices, scarves and a leather bag but wondered if you think it could be possible to buy a leather dress or one to be made, if so what do you think the cost would be roughly if it's to be made?

Thanks

Kelly

Marrakech, Morocco
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7. Re: Couple of questions please?

TenilleM20 - "is it fairly safe to walk around with a fairly big camera?" Yes, normal commonsense rules apply when touring.

Do not buy silver jewellery from anywhere other than accredited outlets. (Berber silver is more often than not an amalgam with added tin, nickel and/or lead.) The silver market in Marrakech borders the Mellah. The Mellah is also a good place to purchase spices as the turnover is rapid and you are guaranteed that they have not been stored under less than ideal conditions for many months as in supermarket products.

Leather dresses - yes, it is possible to commission one if you have the time. Allow at least a week between choosing your design (bring a couple of photos), choice of material, colour(s) and decoration and for the final fitting. Price will depend on a number of factors including the type of hide, how many hides need to be purchased and the degree of workmanship (relating to complexity and therefore time required). Always ask for a quote if you decide to go ahead.

London, United...
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8. Re: Couple of questions please?

Hi

Thanks for this. So, for silver I should head to the Mellah? Also, will I require a taxi to get there? You mentioned buying spices from here but can I assume buying spices from the souks will also be ok?

I take on board about the time factor with the dress, so I will look around on the day I arrive for somewhere that can do this and enquire about time/money factor?

Is there a particular place to go for custome made leather goods?

Thanks for the tip on the camera.

Kelly

Marrakech, Morocco
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9. Re: Couple of questions please?

Depends where you are staying in Marrakech but the Mellah is about a 15 minute walk south from the central square, Djemma al Fna, in the medina. If staying outside of the medina you would probably need a taxi. The word souk means market and there is a spice souk (and other stores) within the Mellah. I have only been involved in commissioning leather jackets for friends - perhaps someone else can advise on dresses?

London, United...
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10. Re: Couple of questions please?

Thank you. I am a 10 min walk from the main square and a couple of mins from Bahia palace in the kasbah area so worse comes to worse I will get a taxi.

Kelly