Morocco is an amazing country, extremely beautiful. Most Moroccans are nice and generous, landscapes are beautiful and it is one of the few opportunities that this planet offers for time travel. Go to the Medina in Fes and you will be transported to the Middle Ages among other things because it is the largest city without cars in the world. But Morocco has some drawbacks: the main three being polluted landscapes, police crime and tourist harassment (begging or offering services that you don’t need or want). Let me start with the caveats and then move on to the pluses.

Moroccans don’t seem to mind littering which sometimes makes the tourist experience somewhat disgusting. I personally saw many Moroccans opening packaged goods and then simply throwing the packaging on the floor. There are vast areas full of plastic bags and other plastic garbage and that is sad. Secondly, and even worse, are the police. The Moroccan police are the only danger we encountered traveling around Morocco in our car brought from Spain. They are criminals in uniform. They stop you and demand bribes for no reasons and they go even further. In the case of a friend of ours, they planted drugs in his car and demanded 100 euros with the other choice being jail. Our friend was petrified and swore never to go back to Morocco. Other friends were asked for bribes four times in the journey from Tangier to Marrakesh. Now, to be fair, in our drive from Marrakesh to Fes, we were not asked for any bribes but that seems to be the exception more than the rule. Lastly there’s the issue of aggressive begging or the infamous tourist guide that shows up every time you walk around. While many complain about these characters I found that just saying no worked.

Having read this, I can understand that criminal police, pollution and tourist harassment maybe enough to stop you from visiting Morocco. I instead chose it to celebrate my 50th birthday because I do believe that the positives outweigh the negatives. For the positives you can cite remarkable restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, scenery, culture and some shopping. In order to make my point for the positives, here are some videos and pictures:

Pictures from the whole celebration

Tannerie de Fes

The Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.

Walk around Fes

Fes from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.

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Peter Rogerson on April 30, 2010  · 

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