My life on the road: Morocco

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Those first 8 or so hours after they do the lean on the artery after removing everything is the worst. You aren’t supposed to move your leg at all and it cramps up and that was worse for me than the heart pain that sent me to the hospital in the first place. But yeah, having a nurse manhandling your upper thigh (and femoral artery) for half an hour was no fun either.

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I got a pacemaker in December. I was in Morocco in February.

I had to fill out that same form. Nobody looked at it. They just threw it in a box.


Wow, glad you made it this far (not just to Morocco)!

My wife and I spent the night in Erg Chebbi. I was surprised to find that the surrounding desert (i.e. between there and Rissani) mostly did not look like the Erg.

I went there on a ferry (to Tangier) from Spain. The customs and/or immigration agent was some seemingly random guy on the ferry, not wearing a uniform (nor sitting behind a desk nor an explanatory sign etc.), whom I’d assumed was a boisterous fellow passenger, loudly and excitedly checking out a Palm (or whatever prefigured smartphones 17 years ago) at one of the tables, until he reprimanded us for not presenting our passports.


The paramedics transferred me back to the other hospital I was staying at 30 minutes too early. Boom. Niagara Falls.



<insert Monty Python, it’s just a flesh wound honestly gif here>

I went to Morocco in 1980 and was blown away by the trip back to the 19th century; still mules carrying loads inside the market place. I kind of haven’t wanted to go back since I was sure it would all be 7-11s and Tony Romas or something.

But the news that those guys are STILL scamming tourists with the “pay me to be told the way out of here” is weirdly heartening.

When mine offered me a tour, I offered the amount in the guidebook, and he pooh-pooh’d, that it was all free. Then a while later he says “NOW you pay me m’sieur”, and I said yes, I agreed to 4 dirhams or whatever it was, and he wants much more. But I just blandly held to my number and said I was fine just wandering around until I was out. He angrily took the amount and said that the way out was the right turn just ahead - which I would have seen in another minute anyway, so he was running out of time to even get that.

I think they LIKE pulling the threat when the way out is a 20-second walk away, so that you can feel extra stupid and cheated when you find out. Or maybe he was just overconfident.

Ah, well, my wife wouldn’t want to go anyway; she has visions of kidnapping and general mugging.

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Marrakech is an amazing town - still one of those few places left on earth that hasn’t quite caught up to the generic 20th century tourism shops and common trappings of western civilization. The sights, smells, and sounds are unlike anything in North American or Europe. Our night in Erg Chebbi was like stepping back in time and much enjoyed. A great way to reconnect to our nomadic roots. Chefchaouen is another gem of Morocco. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did… and glad you made it.


Glad to hear you’re doing well.

While stationed in Germany in the late '80’s, we went to Morocco during Thanksgiving. We were in the middle of nowhere for 3 weeks but did have a couple days off.

We went to Rabat and Fes. Totally enjoyed the experience, from the long train ride to Rabat (where the train stopped in the desert for an hour for no discernible reason), to the market in Fes (where we were berated for not buying a rug). I would totally go there again.



Be sure to always keep a 10 dirham coin on you. You’ll need it if you have to use the restroom.

Here’s when the next call to prayer is: I love how it echos all over the city…

Also… Get out of Marrakech. The vendors will wear you down. Go to Essaouira. Much more laid back and the ocean air.


Well, that explains why we haven’t heard from you in a while, Seamus. I’m glad you’re still alive.

Travel safe, and godspeed.


Marrakesh is one of my favorite cities. You dont need a guide anymore as a phone acts as a compass and map. It is very safe except for the motorbikes ripping along the narrow streets. It is (and has been for ages) a giant tourist trap.Those cobblers banging away on shoes in the souk - fake. The artisans dying wool - fake. Everything sold in the market is made elsewhere and you can get it cheaper elsewhere. The tourist shop next to our conference hotel was cheaper than the market.

But the food, architecture, atmosphere and generally friendly people make it a very enjoyable stay


Your posts have an epic tendency about them. All the more so now with all the plot twists and turns. Carry-on with that character development, carry-on!


Went backpacking in Morroco about fifteen years ago. On the train to Marrakesh we got chatting to a guy in the same compartment about what we were up to, and he recommended a hotel there, and even offered to give them a ring to see if they had rooms free.
As our combined French was poor, and our Arabic non-existent, we took him up on his offer, and he really helpfully sorted it all out for us, and told us where to tell the taxi driver to go when we got there etc. He was a really nice bloke, and very friendly.
The hotel was fine, well within out budget, and it wasn’t until a few days later when we’d left Marrakesh that we realised that there had probably been some kind of racket going on. However, he was a really friendly bloke, and the hotel was pretty much what we were looking for, so it worked out good for everyone really.

We never got hassled much by people. There would sometimes be a sort of half-hearted attempt at a sales pitch, but as soon as we said we weren’t interested we were left alone. Maybe it was our barely adequate French?

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I came across this recording after I returned from Morocco:

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