By Nora P. Goodman
By Nora P. Goodman
Portland, Oregon – Moroccans know how to get clean and the most popular way to do so is to visit a Hammam. Hammam is a public steam bath. It is very popular in Morocco. Taking a public bath is very much part of the culture and local Moroccans usually visit the Hammam once a week. Getting a good scrub is a wonderful and cultural experience. For women travelers, it offers, in particular, a good chance to meet and chat with local women.
The Hammam consist of a full scrub down, a mud paste application and an oil treatment, before stepping into the sauna. A loofah scrub ensures that all the dead skin is removed. Visitors will also get treated to a massage, a rose bath and a cold bucket of water. The cost of the Hammam experience is around $15.00-20.00 US dollars. Towels, soap and other toiletries are available for a couple of dirhams.
You won’t want to miss the beautiful Henna experience. Henna is a plant of which its leaves are made into a paste and used to dye the skin in beautiful creative designs for weddings, engagements and parties. Henna can be found almost anywhere in Morocco. The talented artist can be as young as ten years old. The cost of a Henna experience can vary anywhere from $1.00 – $5.00 US. You can also choose red or black Henna.
Drinking bottled water is encouraged for travelers to Morocco. The most reliable brands are, Sidi Harazem, Immouzer and Sidi Ali. They can be found everywhere and the cost is only 50 cents to $1.00 US.
The most popular places to visit are Rabat, Marrakesh, Fez, Agadir and Casablanca, but during the summer months these cities can reach over 100 degrees. It is advised to visit them during the spring and winter months. The best place to travel in the summer is the beautiful fishing city located along the coast called Essaouira. The weather can reach the high 80’s but is breezy and tolerable.
When shopping the best places to go are the old Medinas. These have the best prices. The shop owners don’t mind you haggling with them for a great deal. The best way to get good deals is to find a trusted local who speaks the language to mediate for you. These places are very crowded so do not set your bags or purses down for even a minute and be aware of pick-pockets.
The best way to travel locally in Morocco is by city bus or taxi. Taxi’s usually cost $8.00 – $10.00 US depending on the distance. Long distance travel is done by Air buses and trains. The Air buses sometimes don’t have reliable air conditioning. However, an air conditioned box car can be purchased as a first class ticket on the trains. Renting a car can also be an option but it is not cheap.
There will be lots of beggars in many areas especially by the Medina’s and banks. There are also many children asking for money and food.
The kaftan is the traditional Moroccan woman’s dress and is usually found in a size called “standard.” To get a smaller size you will have to pay more at a special shop.
You mustn’t leave Morocco without a camel ride; it is an awesome experience. Morocco is one of the few countries to travel that doesn’t require immunizations. Over all it is a beautiful country with lovely hospitable people.
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