As I mentioned in the title, I was struck by the beauty of this country. It was especially beautiful in under the full moon against the Atlas Mountains, but there were times that I felt left out by the main guide named Ismail/Smain. The two other guides arranged to take me into the souks of Marrakesh and Fes were great!
The Riayds and guides in Fez and Marrakesh were amazing, and the location Bin el Ouidane in the mountains was extraordinarily beautiful...but I had to move my room both in Bin el Ouidane and Casablanca because the room was located near the Disco~whereby the loud music woke me up. That meant I did not sleep well on those nights. In addition, I had to wait about an hour before being picked up at the airport...so that may have started some of my experiences off to a bad vibe. But apart from what I have already written, I did find Morocco to be an amazing place!!!
Probably not to be honest.
I had the following experiences with Ismail. Basically he is polite and courteous very young man, but I found it very difficult to communicate with him at times. And two occasions, I was concerned for my safety. To give the driver a break, he offered to drive. The first time he did so, he was pulled over and taken by an officer who stood next to an armored vehicle. Since he did not tell me what was happening, I was not sure if he would be taken in by the officer. (I think a bribe was offered instead). The second time he drove was on the highway as we were wending our way to Casablanca. He clearly was not an experienced highway driver, so when I said I did not feel safe, he began to argue with me that his skills were fine and that he had driven long distances before. My feelings were eventually honored, but I endured many miles of worry while he drove. On the morning we went to Chefchaouen~which was added later to my trip at his suggestion and for which I never have received a receipt...so I do not know if I was overcharged by your local partners or by Ismail himself...both he and the driver did not plan ahead. There was not enough gas in the car...so we had to return to Fez to find a gas station. I asked why he did not do this before venturing out, and he said it was because I was not sure I wanted to go to Chefchaouen the night before, so they held off. I said but the car needed gas anyway, so I could not be held entirely responsible for an empty tank...so I felt that his statement to me deflected his responsibility and instead blamed me...which I found to be strange and hurtful. And finally, on the last day, while in the old part of the city in Casablanca...we were sitting in a little restaurant...while the driver waited in the car. Without talking to me, Ismail just got up and left. After several minutes, I began to wonder what had happened. So I went looking for him or for the driver/van. I could not find either of them, and at that point...my phone had died...so I could not call him. Eventually he showed up (he had to have a cigarette...something we had to stop for on many, many occasions) but he did not tell me what he was doing...he just got up and left without communicating. At that point, I let my feelings be known...that what he did was not okay and that I did not like it!!! I still gave him a nice tip (I realize he is struggling) but I would like a receipt for the extra trip to Chefchaouen please!!! Because of this, I may not sign up for a trip with Travel Local again.
The amazing countryside, the old souks in Marrakesh and Fez, the food, the colors, the tour guides in the souks of Fez and Marrakesh and the Riayds in those cities.