. Tangier is one of the gateways to Morocco, so it is not a place that you want to spent any significant amount of time in. It is just a place where you need to pass through to get to other places in Morocco. Right when we walked out of the door of the customs building, a guy came up to us asking if we wanted to book a tour and what hotel we are staying at. I just replied "no thanks, we're ok." The guy continued to say he works for a tourist agency and he can get us to where ever we need to go. Nine times out of ten in Morocco, if someone approaches you on the street and offers to take you anywhere, he (never she) is going to get a commission on whatever huge price you get charged. We knew our hostel was like a ten minute walk, so I said another "no thanks" and kept walking. These street hasslers are persistent in Tangier, but he briefly got distracted by another tourist and we slipped by him. Next up to bat were the taxi drivers. Most of them were outside their cars, so they could walk up to you. However, some of the drivers stay in their cars and get their multilingual friends to attract their customers...for some comission of course. But you can get by the taxis if you walk at a brisk pace and just keep going. Then came the third and fourth waves of attack, the accomodation guys and their little kid companions. The kids were sent in first. They said some random things that we didn't understand and in a couple of different languages. Then they started walking beside us pointing up the hill to the stairs where we were headed. The accomodation guys came closer and said to me, "the hotel is this way, which hotel are you staying at?" Since I was leading, and I'm the man, the hasslers would almost always only talk to me. So this time, before I said anything back, I decided to try a trick we read about
. I was going to try and respond to the guy in an exotic foreign language. Since the only "exotic" language I knew a bit of was German, I tried that. After replying "ich verstaine nicht (I don't understand)" a couple times, the guy became frustrated and left. We got past a couple other guys who asked us the same thing, and we finally made it to our hostel in the old Medina. All this and we haven't even gone shopping around the Medina yet!!
It was quite the culture shock heading into Tangier from Europe. We never felt totally free to walk where we wanted to, or talk to who we wanted to, but this was our first place in Morocco. It only got better from here.
Read all the guide books, and the web blogs, and get as much advice as you want from people who have been there, but nothing can quite prepare you for the culture shock experienced from going to the African Islamic tourist nation of Morocco! We had no problems getting our ferry tickets once we got off the bus from Seville. The ferry ride from Tarifa, Spain, to Tangier, Morocco, was only about forty minutes after we had gotten out of the port. On the ferry we followed what everyone else was doing and got into a queue to have our custom sheets checked and our passports stamped. Then we got to Tangier, and continued to follow everyone off the boat to a security check. The check was mainly for the bags as a lot of people were beeping going through the metal detector, but no one really cared. Now starts the hassling. Jess had prepared us well with all the reading material she found about the hasslers and the clever tricks they come up with to take your money. We also read about a few tricks of our own that we could try