Ten Confusing Things about Morocco

By: Eleanor Dorothy

Many aspects of life in Morocco make no sense to me.  Morocco is a diverse country with influences from Europe, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa, which come together to create a wonderful but confusing country.  I offer ten questions of Morocco that I cannot answer.

1. Why do taxi drivers rarely try to cheat their customers?  I often get confused about how much I owe, but yet the drivers always give correct change.  I'm not sure I would be so upright if I were a taxi driver....

2. Why is it okay for Moroccan women to wear flowered pajamas in public?  Moroccans generally dress fairly conservatively, yet older Moroccan women often wear pajamas under their djellabas, which are a cross between a dress and a coat.  However, we can still see those pink flowers through the pocket holes.

3. Why does Morocco follow the lunar calendar?  We never know when a holiday is going to be until the night before; because of the moon, of course.  I'm not complaining, though...this resulted in an unexpected week off for me last month.

4. Why is Moroccan Arabic such a mix of other languages? It is a consonants-only version of Arabic with loan words from Spanish, French, Hebrew, and from brand names (for example, Dannon is the word for yogurt).  I also often think someone is speaking French or English to me but yet can't actually understand anything they're saying because many sentences will go something like, "oui, d'accord, blah blah arabic blah blah, yalla bye bye."

5. Why is it often cheaper to buy small packages of food items than it is to buy in bulk?  This depends on the item, and on where you're getting it.

6. Why are there so many unpredictable time changes?  The whole country changes the time by one hour for the month of Ramadan so that sunset will come at an earlier hour (doesn't that sound like cheating?), and daylight savings was supposed to be in September but got postponed a month this year because someone in the government changed his mind.

7. Why is McDonalds one of the fanciest restaurants?  In the US, you might not want to be caught eating in a McDonalds, as it is the cheapest place to get the most calories, and is a big part of the obesity epidemic.  In Morocco, McDonalds is the place to be.  It's big and shiny, and every taxi driver knows how to take you there.  It's also one of the most expensive places to eat, because as we all know, Americans are rich.

8. Why is the tramway so efficient if Morocco is a developing country?  With the combination of the tram, taxis, and trains, transportation is sometimes easier to use here than it is in the US.  It's also possible to buy just about anything you could want because of the huge, shiny Morocco Mall.

9. Why do Moroccans eat bread with everything, including couscous and pasta?  To me that seems redundant and not super healthy, but here it isn't a meal unless it includes bread, meat, and some added sugar!

10. Why does it snow so much in Morocco?  It's only in Ifrane and Marrakesh, but last year Ifrane got more snow than Chicago.

Maybe with more time I'll come to understand the inner workings of Morocco.  Or maybe I'll give up on trying to figure it out and just accept that every day is an adventure!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingEleanor Dorothy is an American expat living in Morocco. Blog description: I am a teacher at an American school in Casablanca, Morocco, where I teach English to young children. I studied at a university in Morocco last year, and am happy to be back here and to learn more about language, culture, and religion.
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Contest Comments » There are 2 comments

Safia Moore wrote 10 years ago:

I laughed at most of these - definitely gives you something to ponder over! I think trams are a wonderful way to get about a city and I'm surprised we don't have them in all the major cities worldwide. The bread thing ... mmm ... must be the French influence, surely? A very original approach to the list aspect of the contest and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Mrs. Chasing The Donkey wrote 10 years ago:

Ha! They have the same bread obsession here in Croatia. Regular read is also served with garlic bread - lucky I love bread. Good luck in the competition!

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