Hmm, great title. Unfortunately I don’t really know about any myths. But I know about the impression Morocco
might leave. It might leave the impression that everyone are using drugs, everyone are selling drugs, everyone are drinking, everyone are trying to rip you off, everyone are trying to sell you something, all Moroccan men are spending their days in the cafeterias in the streets, the police is corrupt, people are dirty, there’s disease everywhere, there’s lots of poor people and so on.
Well, some of those impressions definitely are true. Some of them are false and some of them are only partly true.
There seems to be 3 main types of people among the general population living in Morocco
(in addition to government officials, army and police force). These are - working people, working sales people and selling unemployed people. As you can see, it’s my own subjective division, but I’d dare to say it’s true.
Men you can see working in cafeterias, hotels, shops or anywhere else where actual work is being done. When you hear about Morocco
and the stereotypes then this group of people is seldom included. While you see them every day, you don’t usually notice or remember them that much. Simply because they are not annoying, they do their job and usually they do it well. The next two types of people are what Morocco
is usually known for.
Working sales people
Rolex, anyone? I group all the street-salesmen here. People who are trying to sell you anything from watches to perfumes to cocaine. Or just want to clean your shoes. I’d call them all working sales people, at least in most part of Morocco. Even though I must admit that in Agadir they don’t sell themselves too aggressively.
You can see working sales people every day on the streets, you can negotiate with them and you always should if you really want to buy what they offer. Getting prices 50% down is normal, sometimes though a lot more.
Selling unemployed people
And then there are the street-thieves. You can’t consider them thieves in the most regular meaning. Rather, these are the people who aren’t really selling anything but at the same time they are trying to sell you pretty much nothing for something. As an example I could say that people who’d like to guide you out of the Marrakech Medina might fit into this group. Or people guiding you to the bus in the bus station.
Or even a better example. When we arrived in the Agadir transportation center – Inezgane. We were just looking for a taxi to Agadir, found it, paid for it and were just smoking a cigarette waiting for the taxi to leave. A guy comes to me and starts asking “Agadir? Agadir?” Well, I said “yes, Agadir, if you want to go, the taxi still has some places.” Well, eventually I understood he wanted to know if I’m looking for a taxi to Agadir and I said no, I already have one. Well, basically, by the end of our „conversation” he showed me the taxi 1 meter away from me and asked for one Dirham for guiding me to the taxi. Of course I didn’t give it to him, but just to get rid of the guy I offered him one cigarette. That’s an unemployed sales person.
And then there are women – even if I wanted to, I couldn’t really say anything about them as we didn’t really notice them on the streets. There are two reasons for that. First of all you can see a lot more men on the streets than women. Secondly very many women are still using their traditional or semi-traditional (you can still see the face) clothing which don’t attract much attention. When to think about it, yes, we saw a lot of women in western clothes as well, but considering the numeric differences of women and men on the streets you really don’t remember seeing many women. Hmm, and no, I’m not gay.