Tangier – city of scams?
The first evening we went out in Tangier we didn‘t feel at ease – so many stories all over the internet about scammers, waiting for a chance to empty your wallet in any way they can, doesn’t really help to trust local people.
Surely, we met some fake guides (who are actually quite talented – they know at least 6 different languages, including some Eastern European ones, which some westerners haven’t even heard about), some pushy salespeople, many guys selling hashish… and yet, none of them posed any threat to us, not once we had to pay for something we didn’t need or want, we didn’t even have any unpleasant conversations during our trip.
The truth is, once you realize you are not in a hostile territory, otherwise than the internet suggests, once you relax, it is quite easy to shake off all the suggestions and requests with a friendly and all-knowing smile and a simple “La shukran”. Moroccans are not bad people, many of them are just relatively poor. And when we grasped that, we met many friendly, cool, helpful locals, giving and not asking anything in return.
And now, Things to experience in Tangier:
- Whatever you do you should chill out, relax, as there is no reason to be in a hurry in Tangier. Both locals and travelers who spend more time in this city live a laid-back life, I guess a little bit lazy life even, and although it was a foreign concept to me at first, I grew fond of it. 🙂
- Eat huge and cheap (~2,5 Eur) sandwiches with everything in it – from freshly cooked meet to all kinds of salads, sauces and French fries. We liked traditional Moroccan food, of course, but we are quite crazy about good sandwiches, so it was kind of a “food highlight” for us.
- Goes without saying, stroll around and get lost in the charming, winding cobblestone streets of the Medina, or in other words, the Old Town. Marvel at the Moorish, Andalusian, European colonian architecture while at it. Smell the spices. Enjoy the bright colors.
- At one point or the other you will not resist the temptation to buy something. There is an endless list of what you can choose from: antiquary, jewelry, traditional slippers, scarfs, carpets, rugs, leather goods, teapots and glasses, beautiful hand painted pottery, spices, herbs, oils, delicious dried and fresh fruits, vegetables… anything you might wish for, really.
- Just don’t buy anything until you find a shop with fixed prices – you might be surprised how cheap everything actually is – use this knowledge to haggle in other shops. Which is another experience you will have in Morocco. I know it is difficult for some people to haggle but there’s no time like the present to gain some new skills. Otherwise, in many shops you would pay around 5 times more than the usual price.
- Watch a movie in Cinema RIF. We visited Tangier in time of cinema festival and watched some great movies with English subtitles. When was the last time you paid just 1 Euro for a ticket? Or 2,5 Euros, if there is no festival going on.
- Take some tea and some pie from the Cinema’s café after the movie, choose a table in the street and people watch. A great place to do that, I promise. 😉
- Drink some more of that sweet, delicious and strong traditional tea at Café Hafa – this time admiring the ocean view. Still cannot believe we could get a drink with a view like that just for one Euro.
- Stay at the Melting Pot Hostel – it is a place to be, rather than a place to sleep. Coolest travelers and locals seem to be hanging out there.
- Get out of the city and visit the legendary Hercules caves, which will be overviewed in my next blog post. 😉
So relax, eat, stroll around and get lost, haggle, buy something, watch a movie, people watch, drink some tea and have the best time in the colorful Tangier!