I finally have some time to sit down and tell you all about my experience at the Souks in the Old Town of Marrakech..
I had been warned by people that the bartering and general attitude of the people at the markets would be something like Egypt or Turkey, but they were wrong, so damn wrong. In Marrakech I was genuinely scared and extremely anxious..
Upon entering the Souks and walking past lots of horses and donkeys that looked like they needed to sleep for about a year 🙁 I was approached by a lady who walked up to me & grabbed my hand. She proceeded to draw henna on me without my permission and then demanded I paid her 200dirhams, I was like ‘what the f’. It happened so quickly and she was so aggressive, I paid her what I had (I lied & said I only had a small amount of money) and I kept walking. From that moment on, I kinda knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy this experience that I had actually been looking forward to throughout my holiday.
I had been told by my holiday rep that you cannot take photos of things without paying & if you do, people will chase you and hound you for money, so I’m sorry for the lack of photos. My sister and I walked around the Souks for approximately 30mins before it just got way too much, resulting in my sister having a panic attack. We were followed, touched, grabbed & pinched. I was also continuously called Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and other famous women of colour. We had children begging us for money which we could see were sent over to us to do so by their parents & we even had fully grown men shouting at us for money which as you can imagine was very scary.
I knew it was going to be a very eye opening experience but I didn’t quite imagine how vulnerable I would feel. A completely different country, with hardly anyone in the Souks being able to speak English, it was just kinda daunting. I didn’t feel welcome at all and I felt totally unsafe. Me & my sister get a lot of attention when we go abroad because of how we look and I guess we stand out, but the markets of Marrakech were just on a different level & its something I don’t want to experience again.
I imagined Marrakech to be lit up and full of character. I imagined to smell spices and mint tea but my experience was far from that. It was overwhelming and disappointing all at the same time. I went to Marrakech for culture, for something else rather than the view of my giant hot dog legs around the pool, & unfortunately I don’t think I saw what Marrakech really is.
There were snake charmers and people with monkeys which was amazing to see, but I also questioned whether the animals were looked after, and if it was damaging for them to be in Marrakech and not out in the wild? I took a picture of a monkey who was calm and pleasant, but he was chained to his owner – that just didn’t sit right with me. (I had to pay for the photo)
I know Morocco is a different country with different laws compared to the UK. I know its a completely different lifestyle and a lot of the population don’t have much money so they try and make it anyway they can, but I just didn’t like what I saw & it made me feel uncomfortable.
Although I’ve ticked Morocco off my bucket list and I am glad I got to experience it, I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.
Have any of you had a bad experience whilst on holiday? Have any of you been to Marrakech before?