Anyone who is fan of Sex and the City will know that the second movie, although set in Abu Dhabi, was actually filmed in Marrakech. So for all you cosmo-sipping, handbag-toting, high-heel-wearing fashionistas out there, here is A girl’s guide to Marrakech.
1. Take a leaf out of Miranda’s book – Know before you go.
It is always a wise idea to learn about a country’s customs before you visit, it’s only polite and you don’t want to cause any offense. It also helps if you can learn a little bit of the language. Remember in SATC2 Miranda says that “shukran” means “thank you”? It is also highly beneficial to know that “laa” means “no” so when you are receiving unwanted attention from henna ladies, snake charmers, souk sellers etc etc, a polite “laa shukran” should in most cases be enough to prevent you from being pressured into buying that rug that won’t even fit into your suitcase! You will also find that a little bit of French goes a long way here too, making all those gruelling hours of French lessons you sat through at school all the more worthwhile.
2. Don’t follow in Samantha’s footsteps – Cover up.
Morocco is a conservative country and women in particular should cover up when outside of their hotel. Samantha being Samantha didn’t do this and got into all sorts of trouble. While it is unlikely you’ll get arrested for flashing a bit of cleavage, you may receive some unwanted attention. Invest in some cute maxi skirts/dresses and cover your shoulders with a light scarf, if these aren’t features in your wardrobe then it makes for a good excuse to go shopping!
3. Shop like Charlotte – Just save some space in your suitcase for souvenirs!
Don’t get yourself locked away in a room with fake designer handbags quite like Charlotte did, but do spend time wandering around the souks. There are plenty of gorgeous items on offer from leather goods, argan oil beauty products, hand-made jewellery and homeware. Take a wander through this labyrinth of colour and pick yourself up a pretty bracelet or a beautiful pashmina – and don’t forget to haggle for it. If you think that the seller is trying to rip you off, then walk away, as you are likely to find the exact same item a few doors down in another shop.
4. Shun the stilettos – Only Carrie can carry them off!
If you are shopping in the souks, then it is inevitable that you will be doing alot of walking. Carrie Bradshaw may be able to run around all day in 5 inch heels, but trust me you are better off without. This also applies to any excursions you may take into the Atlas Mountains – wear closed in shoes with a bit of grip – there’s slippery mud and snow to contend with up there. You can always purchase yourself some Moroccan Babouche slippers from the souks, just like Carrie did when she left her passport behind, if you want to add a bit of Sex and the City sparkle to your feet.
5. Beware of the black henna – keep your hands to yourself.
Henna tattoos look beautiful but beware – black henna has been known to contain toxic chemicals and cause severe skin reactions so the best advice is to avoid getting one. The henna ladies are prevalent on Jemaa el Fna square throughout the day and they are persistent too! They will most likely be called Fatima and will follow you, tell you that you have beautiful eyes and they may even snatch your hand (blink and you have a tattoo – they are that quick!) or they may offer to draw you a small tattoo as a “gift” (which they will later want paying for). Just say “laa shukran” and be on your way – Fatima may be a flatterer but it just isn’t worth the risk of rashes, blisters or worse.
With its snake charmers and magic potions, Marrakech is truly a city that would only otherwise exist in a storybook. So pack your suitcase and grab your passport and make a story of your own – one that Carrie Bradshaw would be proud of!
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