How to get around the Medina
Know or at least act like you know where you're going. Don't wear clothing that attracts attention. Have a plan in place before you stop to buy anything. Don't say anything, as that is a clear way for the locals to know what language you speak, and gives them an edge to speak with you.
Medina's are so much fun! Seriously!
Here is the Medina game:
Map out where it is you'd like to end up. Grab a bottle of water, and leave your riad. You will not be deducted any points if you take wrong turns. That's kind of the point. You'll get to see a new experience everytime you turn the corner.
However, you will be deducted points for the following reasons:
You're lost, have a full map out, sweating, crying, and you stopped in the middle of an intersection within a souk (-1 point)
Don't wear indecent clothing, and look like you just got off a cruise ship. If you're from the Western part of the world, you already stand out, and there's no reason not to accept cultural differences when visiting another country. (-3 points)
The local tells you the path is closed, you don't believe him (b/c Google Maps says it goes through!!!), and you find out it is indeed closed. (-5 points)
You don't step to the right when a motor bike is flying down the path, and you get hit, and break your foot. Same goes for a donkey carrying a person, trash, crates of soda, or anything else. (-10 points)
You take the advise to use a local guide when you agreed to $2, but he ends up demanding you agreed to $4. (-whatever money you just lost)
You step into a Mosque, and you're not Muslim. You step into a Mosque with shoes on. Or you step into a Mosque not being Muslim, with shoes on, and with a woman. (Game Over. You can't play anymore and need to find a guide right away)
That's it! : )
Medina means an old quarter of a north African town. Within Morocco, and the cities we've visited with Fes and Marrakech, bartering is a way of life. Everyone owns a good, and they're looking to sell. It can be a bit daunting, but just know how much you want to pay for something before you go up. Of course it always helps to get prices from different vendors as well. You either want something so badly you'll agree, or you'll be ok not getting the item, coming back the next day, and trying again. 3 times the charm. The first price you get is always the highest end. Hey some people will take it. The next price is more average what people will pay. The final price may take up to 30 minutes, or a couple days to get down. It always helps to walk away at least once.
Medina's are complicated, rough, and confusing, but most of all, a lot of fun. The senses are attacked, and it's for the good. Always remember, deep breaths, and at least act like you know what you're doing!!