After hours wandering the tourist sites of Marrakech, my mum who I visited Marrakech with, dragged me to the markets and Souks. Now I’m a strange kind of girl – I despise shopping, I despise being harassed and I couldn’t haggle for my own life never mind a scarf. I know I’m not alone out there, so I decided to make a survival guide for those alike who are braving the Souks of Marrakech.
- Saying No
Saying No can be tough when you’re like me and don’t want to be impolite. I would much rather give a little smile and be on my way than actually having to say ‘no’. However, in Marrakech, ‘No’ is something that has to be said or you’ll be penniless before you’ve even made it to the Souk. A Polite and firm ‘No thanks’ should usually do the trick as they won’t waste their time on people who they know won’t buy their products.
2. Don’t Freak Out
I completely freaked out. On arrival to Jemaa el Fna, a lady vendor grabbed my hand and came at with me with a syringe. Can you imagine my horror?! I Completely freaked out leading to a battle of confusion.
I honestly thought she was trying to jab me with her syringe and inject me with some sort of yuk. Of course, it was only henna. On reflection, If I had just remained calm and took her hand before it got mine and asked what it was then the whole embarrassing situation wouldn’t have happened right in the middle of the square.
This experience wasn’t just subjected to myself and lots of people had it happen to them after chatting to other travellers. If you think this is something you just could not bare with (e.g. I think my lovely fiance would have died on the spot) then stick to the sides, take it all in from a tea shop, find out exactly what you want and edge your way there Or perhaps if you are a little frightened take a guide? Although, I’d do some research first!
3. If you’re with a bargain hunter, let them get the deals!
So my mum is a banging haggler, after owning her own shop, she knows how it goes down and you know what? she loves it. She has a laugh with them. Me? I’d rather give them all my money just to be left alone. So If I wanted something, I would discreetly tell her and off she would go, getting me my bargain. Now obviously if you’re with someone who can haggle then ask if their okay with this deal! and maybe treat them to a cup of Moroccan tea after.
4. Be Respectful
Be respectful and they should be respectful to you. After all, this is their jobs and their life. Something else to keep in mind is people’s different religions. At one point my mum (bless her cotton socks) went to shake the vendors hand. He then explained he couldn’t shake her hand due to his religion and could only touch close family members. I think both were a little embarrassed. HOWEVER, we then went on the next stall and the vendor shook my mum’s hand of his own will so of course, everyone is different.
5. Try and Enjoy the Chaos
Enjoy the experience. Stall after stall, Vibrant colours, Shiny objects, People yelling at you to come their way – it can seem like an ordeal but you know? you won’t be doing it for a while again so just soak up the experience! Have a laugh and breathe!
The souks are like no where I have ever been before. But within the chaos and noise, they have a strange beauty. It must be a tough life being a vendor there, with so much competition and a lot of similar items being sold and I suppose at the end of the day – they are just wanting to feed their families like we all do. I don’t really resent paying an extra quid or two than the locals would. Do you?
6. Take it all in from a tea room
After all this, if you don’t fancy the souks, you can always take it all in from one of their rooftop tea rooms/bars and watch the chaos below.
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