Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Barter Like A Berber

“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.” – Edith Wharton
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Last month I went to Morocco, the first time I have been to North Africa and a part of the world I have always been fascinated about...

We flew from London to Marrakech and planned to spend a couple days in the city then head into the Atlas Mountains. Marrakech is a magical city that continues to unfold as you delve deeper. Rich in sound, sight and smells, this ancient city has so much to offer in terms of culture, food and history.
My favourite part of trip was the undoubtedly the souks. Mysterious, intriguing and full of surprises, the souks are a must see!

Overwhelming, chaotic, a confusing labyrinth of passage ways brimming with goods brought from all over the continent. From turtles to tagine dishes, jewelry and jars, berber makeup and bags, the souk sells everything under the sun.

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Here, you are encouraged to barter. It is considered rude not to and the stall keepers will explain that they expect you to do so.

Don't be intimidated by their aggressive sales technique. Transactions move quickly so be prepared to say no and be sure you want something before you enter into negotiations. My rule of thumb was to start at a third of their asking price. Speaking french helps but the I was highly impressed by the sheer friendliness and kindness of the people of Marrakech.

As a young white female, I never once felt threatened or unsafe. I met countless warm and generous people who really made my trip. Be polite, smile and if you can speak a few words of French/Arabic.

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Bring a bottle of water with you as although the souks are generally covered, they are still very warm in the summer. This is not somewhere to come for a quick shop, be prepared to get lost and enjoy wandering round this maze of enchanting alleys.

Have you been to Marrakech? What is your experience of the souks?

3 comments:

  1. Single white female addicted to retail.

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  2. I'm going to Marrakech in September with 2 friends & also to NYC next April with my hubby so I'm so glad I fell across your brilliant blog!

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    1. Thanks Sarah! Glad you're enjoying :)

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