East Meets West – Part II – The rest of Morocco

2 thoughts on “East Meets West – Part II – The rest of Morocco”

  1. I got that feeling in Cambodia, too. A friend put it best: “It’s like you’re a meal on legs.” Although, considering that it would take the average Cambodian four years to earn even the cost of a plane ticket to Canada (if they didn’t eat anything for four years, that is), you can see why they’d think we’re made of money and are maliciously withholding it from them. Nobody I met, I mean nobody, will believe that there are poor people in North America.

    And there’s no way to blend in and not be visibly white, so you constantly get the weird sense that you’re really missing out on something.

  2. Some countries, particularly in the Middle East, have definitely been overtouristed and the relationship between locals and tourists is on the tense side. Both sides are to blame, really.

    I know that when I was in Egypt it was somewhat similar to what you describe in Morocco. It was impossible to walk more than 10 steps at any major tourist attraction without being pressured to buy some tacky souvenirs. You’d finally convince one person that you weren’t going to buy anything, take a few steps and then someone else would be trying to push the same items on you…rinse, repeat. As well, kids were constantly asking for pens or baksheesh (money); they didn’t have the sense of entitlement that you describe, nor demanded any outrageously high amount, but it was ever present.

    Refreshingly, there are still some places where you can experience genuine hospitality and have a relationship beyond the “local colour vs. source of money” scenario. While in Syria it was all I could do to pay for my own meals. I got invited to visit peoples’ homes quite often and offering money was clearly indicated as being insulting. That said, tourists are still a bit of a novelty there. A country like Jordan was kind of halfway between the attitude in Syria and that in Egypt. As more and more tourists flock there to see some of the spectacular sites (Petra, Wadi Rum) things will start to get worse.

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