Before moving to Morocco, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Is it dirty there? Is everything super cheap? Is everyone not white?
Now that I’m settling in, I’ve got a secret: Morocco is a hipster’s dream. It’s a reality TV mom’s dream. A combination of niche markets creates an abundance of hipster Moroccan habits, and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased. What I once thought was only something that could be done in L.A. has been going on for ages in Morocco. Don’t believe me? Read on.
The craft beer scene is incredible. I went into this SUPER hipster dive bar and asked for a flight. The man looked at me as if he didn’t speak English or something, but I promptly took out Google Translate and showed the “Arabic to English” translation of “come on, dude”. He had no idea what the fuck I was saying. I pointed to the three beers atop the humble half-refrigerated drink case. Stork, Flag, and Casablanca. Foamy heads, nice crispness, and light hops made these babies go down smooth. I don’t know why anyone would drink beer anywhere else.
You can't beat the wildlife. Do you even cat? Morocco does. You’ll be saying “What’s up?” to a pussycat about every other second. Cats are everywhere, just waiting to give you that Puss in Boots look. Don’t fall for it. At least I can’t afford to…because rabies. (But they are SO cute). Also, dogs rule the rooftops. Or should I say...wooftops. Walking to the gym the other day, I spotted several on the roof, chanting the lyrics to the Baha Men classic. They know what they're doing. One tried to sell me hash yesterday, just outside the workspace. I promptly declined and realized I shouldn't be walking around alone at night here; they don't play around.
They’re bringing carbs back. Is butter a carb? No. But everything else you will eat here is. What’s for breakfast? Five different kinds of bread. But there’s butter and honey and jam and it wasn’t washed in tap water so honestly, Carol, just stop complaining and eat it. You’ll sweat it out when we walk to the Medina.
The environment keeps everyone looking good. Gone are the days of watching my waistline; Morocco does this for me. Oh, we’re walking five minutes down the road at 12 pm? There goes three pounds of water weight! HELL YEAH! Oh, you ate a thing? From a place? On your mark, get set, RACE TO THE BATHROOM! You’ll shed more pounds than you ever did on that stupid ol’ Atkins Diet. Which, by the way, never took off here. Look, if you’re not always about to shit your pants in Morocco, you’re doing it wrong.
Every house is like its own mini café. When a quaint group like ours gets together at someone’s house for a riveting game of Scrabble, it’s never a hassle. That’s because every apartment here is stocked with at least seven couches and two dining room tables. Break a table dancing on one? Borrow one from your neighbor! Too drunk on fun to leave? Just sleep there! Along with twelve other people! It’s the Remote Year thing to do.
They’ve got the hottest niche workouts. Bikram Crossfit: You heard it here first. If the sweating and streamlined digestive system that Morocco so graciously offers you isn’t enough, they’ve got this. They don’t call it this, but I’m already figuring out a way to monetize such a genius idea. We do circuit training workouts…in a tiny space…in 110 degree Fahrenheit heat. You’re guaranteed to lose 7 pounds a class and fit into your high school prom dress in just two weeks (or your money back)! (Honestly though, this gym is called Elite Fitness and is awesome and reminds me so much of my home gym, minus the A/C. It’s killer.)
They care about the environment. You want a NAPKIN? Why would we make those? It’s wasteful. Here’s a piece of paper. Enjoy your bowel movement!
The cars are so vintage. Looking for a vintage ride? What about a vintage MERCEDES? You're in luck, because every car here was produced before 1983! Hope you hate seatbelts, because they don't exist, and if they do, they don't work. Safety, shmafety. So you'll get in a couple car wrecks, it happens. (Note: I've been in two already. Nothing serious, but they happen ALL THE TIME.)
You’ll find love. Ladies, have you ever felt like guys just don’t pay enough attention to you? Are you eager to just HURRY UP AND GET MARRIED ALREADY? Is your Tinder lacking the likes that you so desperately require for self-validation and brunch banter with your girlfriends? Get your ass to Rabat, where men are literally just waiting for you to walk by! Want to go inside a café? It’s really fun to pass all the tables outside, where men of all ages are all facing the street, staring at you in all of your feminine glory. No, they're not talking. They talk with their eyes. Even better? Tinder. SO easy. In fact, most of them want to skip the whole relationship part and marry you on the first date! With so many options, you’re bound to find someone who likes the way you cook tajine.
The driving is impeccable. Every drive you take here holds the inspiration for obstacles in video games – you know, harmless ones, like Mario Kart or World of Warcraft. “If you can drive here, you can drive anywhere,” my driver screams as he calmly avoids a woman walking a sheep across the road, screeches to a halt at a little boy chasing a pigeon for dinner, swerves to the left barely missing a man selling cactus fruit, and sips Moroccan Mint Tea as it all occurs.
You can kiss your $68 Urban Outfitters sandals goodbye. Because I've found where those babies are made, and shocker, it's right here. For 20 dirham. The equivalent of 2 USD and some American shame. I can say the same for anything you buy at Anthropologie. Those throw pillows were made by a woman here who gets paid in nougat and bread. Talk about cultural perspective.
You'll like it too much, please don't come here. The truth is, I didn't want to write this blog post. One, because I'm really starting to love this city. And I'm too selfish to open everyone's eyes to the scene, causing hipsters from all over to just invade and ruin it as if it's a new speakeasy that's already all over Yelp. But the truth is, Morocco is beautiful and wonderful and the people are what make it. I have yet to meet someone who hasn't been helpful, even if I do have to scrounge over a couple bucks.
After all, this trip is all about finding yourself, right? And I think I'm finally starting to do that here.
In the bathroom.
Freelance writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Traveling the world with Remote Year 6, living in a different country every month. Currently living in Cape Town, South Africa and probably drinking wine.