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Things about Morocco

Things about Morocco

Tell us about Moroccan typicalities…

One particular thing is the colour of the taxis. In each city, the colour of urban taxis changes: in Rabat, they are blue, in Casablanca red, in Tangier teal and in Marrakech yellow.

Another thing that is typical of this country is having to negotiate prices. For someone like me who is not used to it, it is always a difficult task because here you can negotiate the price of anything: food, flowers, jewellery, clothing, in real estate agencies and so on and so forth! You always have to start with the idea that the seller is offering you an initial price that is certainly exaggerated for the product, leaving himself a wide margin for negotiation.
I, who am not gifted at all, begin my negotiations by offering half the price and hoping for a good end result! What helps is either speaking Moroccan dialect or, in my case, having features that could be those of a Moroccan!

When it comes to cuisine, Morocco also has its own traditions and specialities…
Couscous, of course, is on the podium. In Morocco, you can only find it in restaurants on Fridays, the day of collective prayer.

My favourite dish:

however, is rfissa: a dish cooked with bread similar to piadina, chicken and lentils. It is usually prepared following the birth of a child!

One thing I have had to learn, despite myself, is to eat with my hands. To eat tajine (the name comes from the name of the earthenware dish in which it is cooked and served and can be fish, vegetables, meat, etc.), for example, cutlery is not even placed on the table but is replaced by pieces of bread.

What impressed you most about Morocco?

The thing that struck me most is the variety of landscapes: Morocco is really rich: mountains, countryside, sea (adored by surfers!), desert, imperial cities… This country really has something for everyone!

As for the way of life, one thing that struck me was the custom of eating together. In fact, one thing that is common to the way of eating the dishes mentioned above (couscous, rfissa and tajine) is the fact that they are eaten in a company and all from the same plate. Once you are seated at the table, you eat the part of the dish that is in front of you. If your side of couscous is missing, for example, pumpkin, unlike the side of the person next to you, taking a side would be rude!

Another thing: clothing.

I’m not talking so much about traditional Moroccan clothes, but the fact that going out wearing pyjamas under a jellaba (traditional Moroccan tunic) is absolutely normal. “Why do you have to change to go shopping?”

Finally, I would say that I was definitely impressed with the road traffic and the way people drive. There are so many one-way streets in Morocco, but they are not signposted. So, either you are familiar with them or it is very easy to take a road against the grain.
Roundabouts would also require a preliminary course to understand. There are different types: the only one I recognise but do not understand is the roundabout with the traffic lights. You have to wait for the light to turn green to enter the roundabout but then you have to stop in the middle to wait for the cars on the opposite side, also with the green light, to pass. This makes the roundabout more of a traffic jam than a traffic clearance point!

Do you think that sooner or later you will return to your homeland?

What I am almost certain of is that I will not spend the rest of my life in Morocco. It is a country I like very much but not one I would like to grow old in, especially as a woman.
When I decided to try an experience here there was definitely a great desire to leave, but a factor that contributed to my decision was the fact that I was faced with a series of “no” or “no answers” to all the applications sent in the ten months.

Do you have any advice for people who would like to travel to Morocco? And for those who would like to live there?

For a trip, Morocco offers a lot, both in terms of types and budget. It is possible to have a comfortable holiday as well as a trip immersed in the local and more traditional culture. Although public transport is much cheaper than in Europe, I prefer to travel by car or with a local travel agency and I recommend Morocco Tour Operator, it is one of the best travel agencies I absolutely recommend sampling local products, preferably in places that are not very touristy and well-known. Although I remain faithful to Italian cuisine, Morocco also has its own very good culinary specialities. I also recommend planning your trip well in advance and not wanting to overdo it. Many tourist agencies propose a tour of Morocco in five days but, in my opinion, it is more time spent on the various routes than on sightseeing. “Less is more”.

I advise those who intend to move here to arm themselves with a lot of patience.

Living here is great, but it often puts your nerves to the test. Something easy can turn out to be inexplicably complicated. It is also a country full of contradictions. I was lucky enough to meet Moroccan friends of my own age from the very first days and they taught me how to live here. There are many foreigners living in Morocco: perhaps getting to know some of them will help you to get to know the city at first and then not to be discouraged!

As far as communication is concerned, I mainly manage the association’s social networks and press relations. As for advocacy, in addition to the association’s own advocacy actions, I coordinate a network of Civil Society Organisations in Morocco that deal with the protection and promotion of children’s rights, which work on different categories of vulnerability (family protection, violence, disability, education…); advocacy is done both at national and international level.

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