Bad Tourist in Marrakesh

TALIM Marrakesh lake Back in Tangier after a week in sunny Marrakesh.  Thankfully the sun is shining in Tangier too.

Marrakesh and its sights – sprawling medina around its famous Jemaa el Fna, suburban reservoirs nestled in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains – attract a number of tourists.  And therein lies the problem.  I don't feel like a tourist.  I am a Bad Tourist.

I react like a grouch when the umpteenth souk salesman calls out "Ali Baba!" to me (someone, apparently, has told merchants that the words Ali Baba! will result in instant sales among foreign tourists).  If I'm heading for the city museum, I don't want every other tout re-directing me to "the square" (Jemaa el Fna, where all the tourists go).

It's this approach to foreigners, treating them like they are children, that finally got under my skin.  That, and the flat tire ruse.  Somebody deflated my tire (probably the security guard in the gated Palmeraie complex where we stayed), and extracted a tip for helping me put on the spare.  I have no proof, other than the tire had no puncture.  It was his way of shaking down the tourists on their last night in town.

Yes, there are lots pretty sights in Marrakesh, and I don't rule out returning there.  But the word about harrassing tourists needs reinforcing, apparently like it has been here in Tangier.

Gerald Loftus

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