Our first night in Morocco was interesting to say the least. First we got stopped by this guy who looked like a janitor pestering us to see if we had a place to stay. Next thing we knew this guy in a suit with a official travel guide badge came up to us with his wife and daughter telling us about this camp ground near his house that had hotel rooms and told us he’d get us a taxi “for no more than 6 euros” (about 6.50) Guides are not unheard of, I had even read about it in my guide book, so we agreed “just for the night” since it was getting dark. We got into the taxi and the man proceeded to pile his family in the taxi with us! He dropped his family off up the street from his hotel and came with us to the hotel (similiar to U.S. Motel grounds) where we paid the cab driver 10 euros! (He didn’t pay anything) They showed us 3 rooms and had us “pick” the best one (i.e. he picked the most expensive one 25 euros a night)
After paying for our room he insisted we meet his family for mint tea and dinner. Again, I’d read about this in my guide book and this is fairly common so I didn’t think much of it. At first we declined, but he was so persistent, and he really seemed harmless at that point, (and his wife and daughter seemed nice) that we agreed. Before we knew it we had been at his house for THREE hours where he wouldn’t let us leave until we ate dinner. He wasn’t being forceful or anything, just every time we brought up how tired we were he’d apologize and say dinner would be ready soon and would tell us stories about all these other travelers he’d met and how he met the king and prince of Morocco since he works for the government. (BTW the meal really was very good and the mint tea is something I’m now addicted to, so not all was bad.)
Then he wanted us to pay his wife 200 Durhams each (about 20 Euros each) for the meal, but neither of us had any money, so he said we could pay him the next day when he’d show us around the markets and the city. I think it was about this point that both of us realized this guy was not going to leave us alone for our entire stay and we told him that we were leaving for Casablanca in hopes that he would. Instead he pretty much set out a planned itinerary that included us going around town with him, coming back to his house for another meal, and his wife doing those temporary henna tattoos. (All the wile never even bring up how much he wanted.) Eventually, we went back to our camp ground/hotel that had a security guard at the main gate where the guy walked us to our room and told us to wait in our room until 11:30 (the time he set up with us) the next morning. Before he left he told one of the staff members something in Arabic and shook our hands goodnight at our room door.
Melissa and I were pretty freaked out at this point, and it seriously felt like if we even tried to leave he’d know and have us tracked! And wouldn’t you know it, at 10:30 the next morning we got up to walk around the hotel property (which actually was very pretty) and the guy was down he came within 3-5 minutes! We had been very briefly talking to this Italian guy and he warned us that no one should be pressuring us into paying them, all the while a staff member was keeping a close eye on us.
So, anyway this guy came down a minute or two later and began telling us that he knew we wouldn’t sleep until 11:30 and that it was better if we got an early start. I explained that we wanted some quite time and if he’d come back in an hour we could talk about what we were going to do. He then started asking us if we’d been talking to the Italian guy and pretty much just trying to get us to leave right then. Finally I just bluntly asked him if he was wanting us to pay for this “tour” (which obviously I knew he did – but he never once discussed payment or price) He acted shocked (“Well, of course!”) like we should have known that that’s what he wanted all along. Again, we originally (niaevely) thought he approached us to help us find a place to stay, and I just assumed he got a commission off of bringing us in. We declined his tour saying we would be fine on our own and he went into this big spiel about how dangerous it was and kept lowering the price for his tour. I probably would’ve accepted his offer if he’d been legit with us from the beginning, but I didn’t like the way he went about the whole deal. We eventually got him to leave us alone, but not before he told us we had to be out by 11:30 or we’d be charged for another night. (The previous day he told us we could leave our luggage until 4:00)
So to make this very long story a bit shorter we ended up leaving at 11:30 where we took a taxi to the train station (and we paid the equivelent of maybe 3 eruos!), and then took a 5 hour train ride to Casablanca (that we were told was only 2-3 hours.) Our first night in Casablanca was spent in a hostel with a German man named Marcus who spoke french and had dinner with us. All’s well that ends well I suppose.
P.S. I was told by many that Fes and Marakesh are much highly prefered cities to visit.over 6 years ago