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Morocco - Facts for Tourists
Entry requirements/customs: A valid passport. Visitors may bring in 200 cigarettes and 1 bottle of wine or spirits.

Currency: The Dirham (DH) 100 centimes to the Dirham. Coins 5,10,20,50 Centimes and 1,5 Dirham. Bills 5,10,50,100 Dirhams. At the border visitors may be obligated to declare the amount of currency they have. It is forbidden to give foreign currency to Moroccans. Do not change money on the street or the black market.

Language: Arabic. French, Spanish, English are spoken in tourist areas.

Temperature: Similar to California... warm days, cool nights. Spring/Fall are best.

Shop hours: 8:30-noon, 2:30-7 PM

Bank hours: 8:30-11:30, 2:30-4:30

Things to buy: Everyone will try to sell you something, Anything! Carpets, embroidered tablecloths/napkins, silk brocade, antiques. One must haggle for bargains in the Souks(shops of Old Section). Vendors are extremely aggressive.

Food: Considered excellent. Harrira is the national soup, usually containing mutton and spices. Couscous is the national dish, made with a base of steamed semolina and whatever else the chef has - usually mutton and vegetables. What we call shiskebab is called brochette - made with a number of meats. Kefta is ground-beef or lamb cooked over charcoal. Tajine is a Moroccan stew made with almost anything - even camel meat. Lemon chicken is always a safe bet. Moroccan dishes are simmered for long periods in tight dishes and are therefore considered safe to eat. Moroccans eat with fingers of right hand. Warm water is presented after a meal to wash the hands.

Drink: Moroccans don't drink anything with meals, but Moroccan wines are excellent. Mint Tea is served after dinner. Water is generally safe to drink, but mineral water is safer.

Tipping: A nightmare! Keep lots of 1 Dirham coins and 50 centime coins. Restaurants add service charge but waiters expect extra. Porters - 3 DH per bag. Taxi - 3 DH. Museum guides - 3DH... and everyone else...

Notes: Public toilets are often cesspools. The squat toilet is in use. Best to patronize a hotel. If you're not muslim, you'll commit an offence by entering a mosque, and you may get into trouble. Under no circumstance should you photograph a woman. In cities Moroccans are used to tourists, but be careful when taking photos. Be alert for crime. Exercise caution. Don't wander around at night. Use authorized tour guides. Don't go out alone.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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