- Added on: September 19th, 2009
I found that hostels and restaurants who hired people (or goons) to harass you on the street to get you to go to specific hostels or restaurants were actually, some of the worst restaurants and hostels in whatever city I was in. I learned quickly, the best hostels and even budget hostels, and restaurants don't need to resort to this. In Tangier, the people were the worst, and even aggressive! If people walk up to you in Tangier for a hostel, don't do business with them, they are very shady. I know from experience, they will follow you around, much more than other cities! One guy kept coming up to me saying "Where you staying my friend." and even said "That hostel doesn't exist anymore, I checked online." Interesting, since I was there that night. But also SHADY!!
Also, many times, a Moroccan who seems friendly, will walk up to you if you look lost and, without fail, he will say these exact words "Where are you going my friend?" or "Where do you want to go my friend." Always "my friend." I fell for this two or three times because I give strangers the benefit of the doubt when there is little risk of anything bad happening. One such story and the LAST: I said I was looking for an internet cafe and the guy said he would lead me to one, "with pleasure". We had a nice talk and I mentioned that I was a poor student, in the conversation, it came up naturally. As I entered the internet cafe he said "10 dirham please." I refused and he insisted. I said, "what, you can't do a good deed for five minutes, for free." He asked again. I said, "look man, this is my last day in Morocco and I have very little dirham left (true) and I told you, I am a poor student (true). He said, "I am not leaving until you give me ten dirham" and followed me to my computer and proceeded to watch me until I stopped what I was doing. I refused again and said "Give me some privacy." It got to the point where he said "You make me want to do bad things to you." I said "I will call the cops!" A lady must have understood what was going on and thankfully, started yelling at him in Arabic! He glared at me and said "I'll be waiting for you outside." Spooky. So for the rest of the day, if a Moroccan came up to me, and was the least bit persistent, I was extremely rude. So sorry to the legit people I must have hurt, I was scared. Sadly, you have to be careful with whom you ask for directions, and who you choose to lead you. Another boy in Marrakesh asked for ten dirham as well for a short walk and got pretty pissed when I offered 2 dirham. I guess the best response to "where you going." is to say where and say, but I am poor and have no money to offer. Than they can decide if they still want to help you. Sad, but it will help you avoid my story perhaps.
Anyways, one guy I was rude to in Tangier saw me later and stepped in front of me, "Friend, you ignored me earlier, I just want to talk." I said "look, I had an awful experience, just leave." He ended up being persistent in a peaceful way, that struck me just right. He ended up taking me for tea and we had an awesome talk and he said he was deeply embarrassed in regards to how some of the hostel workers in Tangier operate. He totally understood my intial reaction to him and he said "F---ing hostel workers sometimes" and offered to take me to the police to complain.
So be careful for shady businesses and people offering help! Some people will try anything to extort even a few dirham from you and WILL resort to aggressiveness if you don't give in.
One guy tried to charge me ten dirham for using the bathroom. But I took a walk in, one look at the shit stained walls and floor and got out right away. Poor even by third world standards and I am tolerant of nasty bathrooms. I said, I was in there a second, and you know it, and left when I saw the condition of the bathroom. He tried to insist, but sometimes, you have to remain firm in your stance and he finally gave up. 10 dirham even for a nice bathroom in Morocco is insane!
On the whole, Morocco is a safe country. Don't get me wrong, those are just a few warnings.