Monday, July 11, 2011


          This weekend was intended for a relaxing break from school and the lack of night life in Fes. As it turned out, we realized that even bad experiences are important to have. On Friday night, 10 of us met at our friend's apartment and then made our way to the train station at 1 am to catch our 2:30 am train to Marrakech. (Here's a little background information- Moroccan women are ALWAYS in a rush. Everything is life or death and even if there is literally two inches of space, they will push through even if that means knocking you over in the process. There is no such thing as personal space and they are masters at making you feel extremely uncomfortable.) We slept on and off for the next 8 hours on the train until it arrived in Marrakech around 10:30 am. After eating a great breakfast, we headed off to find a grand taxi. In an earlier post, I described a ride in a grand taxi, so you can imagine what we were up against.
Cascades d'Ouzoud
Our Group
          We knew we were going to have to haggle with the taxi drivers to get the "real" price. After one driver offered a ridiculously high price and we refused, he told us that "we were rich Americans and should be paying him." After curtly telling him we were students and all paying for ourselves, he replied by saying "but your Daddies have a lot of money and you are all spoiled". We of course made it clear that we were disgusted and found another taxi driver that gave us a slightly lower price. The driving was so crazy that I got woozy and passed out for the two hour ride to the Cascades d'Ouzoud. 
Cliff Jumpers at the Cascades
          The Cascades were absolutely breathtaking. Our first glimpse was from the very top- literally a few yards from the actual waterfall and you could see the pools at the bottom and the boys cliff jumping. We hiked down to get a better view and 6 people in our group went to find a hotel (cement room) that passed the "no cockroach test". The Cascades is a place where Moroccans go with their families, so we were literally the only white people there. It was a great reminder that we were actually in Africa. We hung out on the muddy rocks and watched the cliff divers with jealousy. I would have dived off the cliffs, too, but it would have been extremely scandalous for a girl over the age of 3 to go swimming there. Since we arrived in the afternoon, we only had two hours until the 5 of us headed back to Marrakech on another nauseating taxi ride. 
          After arriving in Marrakech, our first priority was finding somewhere to sleep that night. We followed a road through the Medina that led to the big square and found an Equity Point hostel. We splurged for the hostel because it had clean sheets, a fan, and real toilets. It was heaven. We quickly went out again to the Djemma el Fna square that comes alive at night with snake charmers, story tellers, and delicious food. Although the food looked delicious and there were story tellers, the square was EXTREMELY touristy and we were continually harassed by the cart owners. 
Djemma el Fna
          One of the owners really wanted us to eat at his stand and we were not hungry and wanted to walk around. After refusing him several times, he followed us and yelled "you f***ing c*** Americans are such jackasses!". I was shocked. My experience in Fes has never even come close to this. The shop owners here are of course pushy, but they would NEVER cuss you out. One of the guys in our group, Michael, had to literally push the man away because he would not leave us alone. We walked in silence for a while because none of us could believe what happened. We are used to being harassed, but we were grounded by the fact that a Moroccan cussed us out for no apparent reason. We had to move on, though, and see the rest of the square while we had time. 
          There were groups of people gathered to watch 15 year old boys box, story tellers that we couldn't understand, and abusive monkey owners dragging their monkeys towards us. Not to mention the men that groped us every time we were in a crowd. After quickly deciding on a place to eat, getting ripped off by the cafe owner, and then leaving, we were harassed some more by more restaurant owners. We tried explaining that we had just eaten, but one owner yelled at us "you f***ing Americans are always in a rush." At this point we were disgusted in Marrakech and made one more stop at an orange juice stand. After choosing one, we drank our orange juice as the cart owner of the cart next to ours cussed us out because we didn't choose his stand. We returned to our hostel and had an amazing sleep. The next morning we left earlier than we planned and had an excruciatingly hot 8 hour train ride back to Fes.
The best part of the trip- train station!
          Although Marrakech was less than charming, we only saw part of it on a Saturday night. We looked like all the other tourists, and we were dead tired. If I had had more time to explore different parts of Marrakech, my opinion probably would have been different. But as it is, I am shocked and downright disgusted with the shop owners in Marrakech. I am thankful that I live in Fes and am able to get a more "normal" view of Morocco instead of the tourist-filled streets of Marrakech. 


  1. What a shame! I am shocked just reading about your experience. I can only imagine how you all must feel.

  2. The Cascades are amazing and I felt in love with the train station, too! Beautiful architecture!

    Am sorry for your experience with those rude owners... they can get really pushy and harass you till you lose all your patience! Sad!

    Maybe you can go back again to Marrakech before leaving and see some other things, too!

    P.S Believe it or not - I am stuck on the word "excruciating" these days! :D I have no idea why, but I keep repeating it! Haha! And now I read it in your post!