Tangier Morocco (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 14, 2020
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Greenville SC
Good Morning Friends,

I'm planning a trip to Tangier Morocco. It's a place I've always wanted to go being a fan of Paul Bowles, William S Burroughs and the beatniks.
I'm curious of what I should do. Honestly I'd be content sitting on a floor cushion in an open air cafe drinking tea for 3 hours Haha I just dont know where that cafe would be. If Im gonna do that much cafe sitting and people watching I prrobably should learn the old man game. You know how every culture has a game old men all play in parks like Chess, Dominos etc. I think it's backgammon in Morocco.
Is hashish or kif really that common? I watching an Anthony Bourdain (RIP) thing where he was sitting at a cafe near the Casbah and people were just openly smoking pot. So is it mostly tolerated? And if so what are some of those places where it is permitted if they do so exist. And besides the regular precautions of smoking are there any particular things I should be aware of in looking for/buying pot there? I promise I'm not trying to make an ass of my self, not be an obnoxious American tourist, I really do with the respect and immerse myself into the culture of the area. I just happen to enjoy pot and sounds like many Moroccans do too. I also am sure there are a lot of beautiful mosques. I know that typically Mosques dont allow non muslim visitors but as someone who is a bit of a religious seeker I'm curious if I walked in respectfully and went through the proper cleansing procedure and stuff if i could attend prayers. As someone who respects Islam and would like to further explore it.
I was also wondering if there are any Christian or Jewish places of worship or graveyards. I know Morocco had a large Jewish population in the early 20th century but it's much smaller now so I was wondering if there might be old or abandoned synagogues or signs of the Jewish past.
I'm also interested in going down the coast a little ways to Asilah. Are there any other towns nearby that would be worth checking out?
I think if go and act responsibly and courteously, brush up on my French and just explore for a week I would really enjoy it.
But if there are places you have been or know of that are pretty chill please let me know!
Like a hammam (bathhouse) any comfy cafes, places to get seafood, places to eat lamb, places to find casual food vendors with snail soup and other goodies, any good hostels or cheap hotels. Or if any of yall are local and want to make an eccentric new friend!

I'd like to see more of Morocco and the Maghreb and possibly even live there but I got to start somewhere. I've just always been drawn to that part of the world.

Forgive the word salad, I'm usually have more interesting things to say but in regards to this I've just got questions lol

So hopefully this will start a conversation

Peace and blessing onto you all

Stephen LMB Peacok
(Asheville NC, Greenville SC, Charleston SC)
 
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Matt Derrick

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boy yeah, that's a lot of questions you got there. we don't get too many people on here from that region, but if you do head out there please remember to come back and post here about it so others may learn from your journeys! hopefully someone here will have some answers for you.
 

Koala

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@Tony Pro has posted a decent amount of stuff about various regions of Africa, he has a blog too!

Safe travels, and keep us updated on what you learn and how your travels go. Northern Africa is definitely one of the regions I want to explore next!
 

Hobomatt

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I was in Morocco in 2006. I wanted to see the old Jewish quarter in the town of Fez. We hired a guide for the day. He was reluctant to show us that part of the old medina because no one would give him a “tip” for bringing us there! The restaurant, pottery and tile places, and other shops all slipped him some money for bringing us! Not much left in the Jewish section, by the way...
 
OP
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matt yeah it's a lot of questions, just curious if anyone had done this before. I promise I'll actually have things to contribute on here Haha and especially when I get back.
@Koala thank you I'll check it out!
@Hobomatt that's neat! I'd love to check it out. I hear Fes is an amazing city. Even if the Jewish section is sparse. I know there's a Jewish History Museum in Casablanca that would be cool to check out but it's such a large country can't do all that in one trip

I 'ppreciate the responses yall and look forward to more
 

Tony Pro

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I love Tangier. Great mix of northern Moroccan liberalism with a crusty Moorish medinapunk aesthetic. It's a lot like a Bowles novel, but without the crushing sense of doom which is nice. You remind me of a story I heard on the Moth Radio Hour where the storyteller goes to Tangier to visit a dying Paul Bowles. "Your stories made me want to visit Morocco," he said. "That's funny," Bowles replied, "I'd have thought they would make you want to keep away." If you haven't read 'For Bread Alone' I recommend it; not much takes place in Tangier but it gives you a good feel for the Mediterranean region.

I've only stayed in one hostel in Tangier but it's great; Melting Pot Hostel is the name. I have happy memories there of cooking fresh fish from the market and eating it on the rooftop terrace. It's in the old medina. Don't trust anyone who tells you it's closed or under renovation (I guarantee you will hear that old lie); they're just trying to sell you their own hotel. Don't trust anyone who offers to guide you there. Actually don't trust any hustlers in Tangier full stop. If you need a guide, ask a street kid and pay him 10 dirham. Kids know the whole city and don't have agendas.

Yes everything you've heard about hash is true. I have heard stories about corrupt police setting up stings for tourists in order to extract bribes. Safest way is just to buy through your hostel. I don't smoke myself but I've heard the standard of quality is high.

The cafe aesthetic is strong in Tangier. Wander around aimlessly and the fates will guide you to your perfect joint. I've never seen backgammon played though.

I've been invited into plenty of village mosques, but never in cities; my instinct is it wouldn't be tolerated. Muslims don't mind if you watch them pray, however, and often the door of the mosque is left open. If you make it to Meknes you can go inside the mausoleum of Moulay Ismael which is one of the more sublime examples of Moorish architecture. I won't lie though, if architecture is your thing, it's far better preserved in southern Spain. A boat trip to Tarifa is absolutely worth it just to hitchhike around Andalucia/Cadiz for a while. After spending a while in the Muslim world it's cathartic to be able to drink wine in public and eat with your left hand.

The region I spend all my time in is south so I can't give too many tips for the north. Tetouan, Rabat, Chefchaouen are all beautiful. Better still, head to the Berber market to buy a brick of homemade cheese and m'simen pancakes, then hike your ass into the mountains and don't come back.

Read about the Rif Rebellion to better understand the culture there. NB people in the north speak Spanish, not French.
 

MetalBryan

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I was in Morocco in the late 90's and it was amazing. Visit all the mosques you can even the tourist sites. Eat some of the amazing local food! If you hire a guide be prepared to pay for them and as mentioned above they all get kickbacks from the places they "think you absolutely must see" so do the tour once for fun and then kick out on your own. It's been a long time so I don't have a ton of advice other than you should dress very conservative by default. Westerners aren't strangers, but you'll be treated better I think if you keep it business casual at least.
 

Tony Pro

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> you should dress very conservative by default.
I'm sure that was true in the '90s, but the generational gap today is vast. Tshirts and jeans are the norm now, even in the conservative south, but especially in the northern cities nobody cares how tourists dress (even if you're a woman). And remember Tangier is a European city; don't let a Tangerine hear you say otherwise.

What people definitely judge westerners on is cleanliness. We have a reputation amongst Arabs as being filthy and having filthy habits, which, I'm sorry to say given the state of the average backpacker in Morocco, is quite true.
 
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