18. There’s no golden rule when it comes to clothing and etiquette
“Americans have questions about how to dress and behave, but it’s very diverse. We have different religions and cultures in this country,” says Bencheikh. “In a city like Marrakech, you have a lot more freedom in how you dress, or act with your boyfriend, or drink. But if you go out in the High Atlas, don’t kiss your husband or drink in front of people, and be sure to cover your shoulders.”
With each new city or region you enter, take care to communicate with locals about what is or is not OK. No rule is all-encompassing, but it’s important that you’re prepared to shift your habits (and your outfits) accordingly.
19. Be careful while taking pictures
While Moroccan dress is beautiful, and local culture is captivating, this does not license you to photograph locals going about their daily lives at your leisure.
“Lots of people don’t mind (being photographed), but it’s always a good idea to ask for permission,” says El Mouatasim. “If they say no, it’s part of the culture — this is especially true of females, and especially in the south. It’s insulting to them.”
20. Expect the natives to ask questions
“People who come here might get overwhelmed by people asking questions,” says El Mouatasim. “We’re very talkative, and want to get to know people.”
Most Moroccans speak excellent English, and you’ll find that locals are keen to use the language. In fact, once you engage, casual small talk will often evolve quickly into a passionate discussion of politics, family, and probably your astrological tendencies. For the introverted, it’s an easy way of engaging in conversation without having to steer the dialogue — and for the social butterflies among us, it’s a perfect opportunity to give folks an idea of where you’re from.
21. Moroccans tend to be warm and inviting
Though tourists are not exactly a novelty, Moroccans remain exuberant hosts. “We’ve always been a country used to seeing people coming in,” says El Mouatasim. “When it comes to people visiting from other cultures, we’re very comfortable.”
“Just jump on a train and people will talk to you,” Bencheikh adds. “Talk to people on the street and they’ll help you. It’s just part of what we’ve been educated to do: making people feel welcome in our country.”