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Some useful advices and tips for those who plan to visit Casablanca and Morocco

June 21st 2009 08:05
My travel advices on Casablanca and Morocco:
Morocco interior

Transportation:
Petits Taxis are everywhere which you will soon notice they are red and small and the big old Mercedes taxis are all white. As most people prefer to travel this way you will have to watch your back or you will be soon left out and have to look for another taxi. Taxi is used like a minibus transfer which means more people travel inside one up to the point when you can feel like a keeper in a can, So be careful always to tell the taxidriver where you are heading then you will see if he says yes or no to you, so itís a hazard but itís also fun and a cheap way to travel. I would not recomment the bus so much, the timetables are many times wrong and you might wait for hours.

If you're hiring a car in Casa, remember that the traffic can often be a nightmare and it doesn't take much to reach gridlock. Avoid driving if at all possible. The city is served by Mohammed V International Airport, Watch out from and to the airport you must use the train from Casa Voyageurs,the way between the airport and the city is about 30 minutes . If you want to get to the city center get off at Casa Voyageurs Station. The train system is very good and punctual so you can easily get to any cities.
Accommodation
There are plenty of hotels in and around Casa especially in the Old Medina and the Corniche . Problem is that the chance is high that they are full. Try www.hostelbookers.com great hotels, hostels or apartmans for great prices.

Eating out
Regardless of the size of your budget, you can find a superb place to enjoy a meal in Casa. Generally accepted as the best place to eat when in Morocco, Casablanca has a large variety of traditional, seafood and take-away eateries and if you donít look for the places owned by foreigners then you can have a nice meal out of a small budget. The moroccan food is excellent, try them in simple places, eat a good couscous on Friday especially and any type of Tagine (rouasted meat with veggies ) is just excellent. Watch out muslims do not eat any pork so donít ask for it.
Bars & Nightclubs
There are many bars and discos especially in the Corniche or in the downtown area. Just look for some good places where your feet leads you or if you are not that fit just ask any taxi driver. I rather prefer the moroccan places.
What to take care of:
Being a muslim country there are certain basic rules to take care of. The key is dressing. Is is accepted to see less dressed tourists everywhere but especially the women should rather dress a bit more covered, taking care of covering the shoulders, and wearing something rather large. Please donít wear bikinis on the street and nothing too thin especially for girl or women travellers travelling without men, otherwise they can find themselves in some uncosy situations.
People: First of all you will be surprised maybe how many people are always out on the streets. The way of life is different in Morocco, people donít hurry that much, also the unemployment rates are extremely high, most of the people live of doing business.
People in Morocco are very friendly. Of course like anywhere in the world take care who to talk to and who to make friends with in the downtown and please always behave politely. There are many policemen all around Morocco on the streets, the country is very strict in means of any criminal affairs. So if someone disturbs you look for a policemen and try to ask for help. Usually they speak English and French a bit.
Morocco

Language:
The official language is arabic, and moroccans speak it in their own way, besides there are certain berber dialects, and french is learned in the schools, although being less and less famous, and young people concentrate rather on learning english.
Politeness and respect toward islam:
Be always polite and respect the muslim religion with behaviour and also with words. As you are hosted by a muslim country I think it is the least you can do.
Currency:
Moroccan Dirham and 1 Dirham is worth roughly 0,1 EUR so the counting is easy. Morocco might be not that cheap as you might think, due to the growing numbers of visitors, it is unfortunately getting more expensive, but if you are smart you will find the places where you can get what you want for a cheaper price. Exhange in hotels
Paying with any tpye of bank or credit card:
Donít count on being able to pay with any of them, or even to get money with them. If possible donít take any credit card with you when you go out of the hotel and also inside always use the safe.
Weather and Ramadan: The weather is mild in Morocco but the winter is colder that you can imagine so if you want to go from April till june is the best time, from June it gets very hot until September which is great for those who would like to spend the majority of their freetime on the beach or by the pool. Ramadan is the month of festing stating in September and ending in october. Itís not that good to visit Morocco this time, as the foodshops are all closed and so are the restaurants too. People spend their time with praying and talking about the Holy Prophetís life and start to eat from 18.00 local time until 5.00 am as the sun goes down.
Pickpockets:
All port cities are more dangeorous then the others. You can go and ask for a tourguide in an office especially on your first day, they will tell you where to go and where not to go, beware of any people getting close to you, but donít ever act rude or discriminating, only take care of your stuff. Morocco is a very poor country and although all areas are heavily guarded by police some insults can always happen. So act smart and donít go to dark and silent streets if possible and donít wear too much expensive stuff on you unless you want to go all way long by car.
Shopping
First of all donít expect K-Markt or any of the shops you are used to. Although the countryís Tesco is called Marjane, but not many people go there to shop, so shopping is done in the little shops you will see that have just anything and everything to sell from break to tyres. The soaps , shampoos and shower gels altogether with the hair colorants are all sold in little bags, looking like the small product samples in the magazines. And watch out ladies, many shampoos are in fact coloured.
Moroccan hospitality

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