I missed being in an Arab/Muslim country. Raquel had never been to one. A trip to Morocco would be perfect for an introduction to the Arab/Muslim world and it would be a perfect way for me to get my ‘Arab-world’ fix after going cold turkey for so long.
Though in all honesty I was slightly worried going to Morocco for a couple of reasons. The first reason being a fear of what I call the ‘Egypt-factor’… Let me explain, before going to Egypt (Cairo to be specific), I was excited about the prospect of seeing this country and learning about its long history, so much so, that I over-hyped the trip. When I finally did go, I was massive let down… Most of the Egyptians (I came across) involved in the tourist industry are simply looking for a way of making you part with your money. Some of the sites lose all sort of mysticism due to its locations (Great Pyramids of Giza are almost surrounded by Cairo), however my real let down was the people, most people you would ask for help, wanted money in exchange for any kind of assistance. I had met a few people who had gone to Morocco and given similar ‘reviews’ of the country and people.
Another reason for my concern was about how ‘couple’ friendly Morocco was. I mean I’m no fool and realized I was going to an Islamic country however some countries are a lot more strict on their public displays of affection rules than others. Considering I only get to see Raquel every two months it would be a real bummer if I wasn’t even allowed to hold hands while walking the street.
My final reason for concern. Well, I hate to sound like a scare monger, but security was a bit of a concern. Marrakesh had been rocked by an explosion blamed on extremist rebels in the country and the tourism industry suffered in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Add to that, the Arab spring and the revolutionary wave in North Africa, I didn’t want to be stuck in anti-government protests or violent suppression of protests.
Well, fortunately I was proved wrong or overdramatic in all three cases. Moroccans are a friendly bunch of people and during our four days in the country we only had one instance where someone asked us for money for a tour we didn’t know we were on. Everyone who gave us directions in the confusing medina wasn’t looking for a quick buck and that was refreshing. Furthermore, Morocco, was certainly couple friendly and as long as you don’t over-do things you won’t get into trouble. Security-wise I also never felt in danger, hostility or even tension between the people we spoke to
All in all, this trip to Morocco was very good and I was really sad we couldn’t spend more time in the country to see it more extensively, especially since Raquel really wanted to spend a night in the desert (simply because I go on about it so much!) but I guess we can leave that for another trip when we have more time at our disposal, or maybe I can even take her to Libya one day!