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Morocco -- Her Tips for Travelling Solo

 

What should I wear?

In true Journeywoman fashion, readers continue to offer their advice on culturally correct clothing in Morocco. Here are a few of their suggestions to add to the ones that Susan Dresner included in her article.

Keep cool...
When in Morocco, some Western women have the idea that it's a strong political statement to wear western clothes, the likes of which you might see in a park or on a beach in Toronto or Miami. Although I readily call myself a modern, assertive woman, I think the unisex Djellaba (long, loose coat worn over clothes) is a wise idea. Here's why:
-- You can easily string your money/passport pouch under the dress and while you can easily access the cash and ID via the slits in the side of your djellaba, a thief will have to work much harder for it.
-- If you get a thick or dark colored djellaba, you don't really have to wear much under it. This is very freeing (also true of the chador and abaya).
-- If you put on your djellaba the day you arrive, it looks like you've been there longer than you have and you're less likely to be hassled by hustlers.
-- For the same reason as above, you'll get better prices in the souk (unless the djellaba is blindingly new).
-- You'll find it harder to speak to local women if you appear to disregard their culture.
-- It cuts out the "what am I going to wear today" stress that's a real annoyance when traveling.
-- And, besides, they're quite cool in the heat and beautiful as well with a wide array of colours and variations on the basic design. Happy souking, ladies!
Buffy, Toronto, Canada
Loose clothing is best...
My advice is to wear loose clothing such as baggy pants or long skirts and a loose-fitting blouse or t-shirt. Not only will it keep you cool and protected from the sun, but it will lessen unwanted attention received by local men. Tight or revealing clothing always invites attention (the local women get harassed too); short pants are not worn by Moroccan women. Note: you will see all dress styles in the large cities in Morocco from total veiling to revealing. As a foreign woman you will be an attraction to the local men; wearing loose clothing will reduce the harassment. Save the tighter clothes for your own home city. Remember that Moroccans are friendly, curious people who like to find out about you. Don't be afraid to chat with them, especially the hanout (small store) owners. Many people speak some English and will be delighted to hear you say a word or two in Arabic. Final tip: wear a wedding band and invent a husband if you don't have one.
Sheri, Rabat, Morocco
Covering your head not necessary...
In Morocco, foreign women should try to buy a djelleba (traditional dress with hood, that so many of the Moroccan women wear). If you do this, you'll be very comfy and will not stand out as a foreigner. Covering your head isn't necessary as many Moroccan women don't, but you can if you want to. If you dress to blend in, you will not be a target for the beggars and con-artists. Please note that Moroccans in Marrakech, Fez and small villages are more traditional then Moroccans in the larger cities like Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier.
Bailey, Erie, USA

Editor's Note: To read what other women travellers say about proper dress in Morocco, click here.


Carry the front section of a Chinese paper...

If you're a woman, you'll constantly be pestered by men in Morocco. That is a fact and you'll just have to get used to it. After a while you'll find that you can gradually tune the catcalls and badgering out. Men will tell you that you are beautiful, that they want to sleep with you and will invite you to go off with them. It's difficult to keep listening to this silliness but just try to ignore them -- they will eventually stop. If not, here's a Journeywoman tip you can use...

Whether you're in a public place or having something to eat in a restaurant, take out the Chinese newspaper you brought from home, hold it up, pretend to be reading intently and look blankly at the men who address you. Unless they can speak Chinese this is a perfect ploy and you should be able to have at least some peace and quiet.
(Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman Editor)


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