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Agadir - Morocco

Agadir, on the coast to the far south of Morocco, about five hours drive from Marrakech, is very different from any other city in Morocco. The earthquake of 1961 killed 15,000 and wrecked the original city apart from one or two old bits by the port. Agadir exhibits a totally different city culture and architecture from the rest of the country.

For many visitors, Agadir is too modern. For others, it is a functional, open and beautiful change to the more typical cities found all around Morocco. There is a simple explanation to the uniqueness of Agadir. After the earthquake of 1961, the idea was that the newly independent country (since 1956) should prove that it belonged to the Western world just as much as the African and Muslim world hence the plethora of large Hotels and modern apartment blocks.

Agadir has plenty of restaurants, and is one of the few places in Morocco where Western style restaurants manage to serve good foreign food. If you really look for some great genuine Moroccan food, step out from the tourist streets and look for the first place where normal Agadirians stay and eat: this is the place where the people who know go.

Worth a visit though is the suuk or traditional market full of high quality leather goods, it is also fascinating to see the huge variety of fruit and vegetables displayed, often with the vendor and his friends having coffee or lunch in the midst of the wares, and then, if you are able to stand the smell, to wander into the meat area with its live hens cooped up in tiny wooden cages, the goats heads scattered over the floor and huge sides of meet dangling from hooks. As a tourist you will pay over the odds so try to get a Moroccan friend to shop for you.

There is no “gay” scene as we are used to it but there are plenty of young male Moroccans who are happy to be with visitors. However a word of warning – the police are always on the lookout for young men with older foreign visitors and a friend will melt away from your side if he sees a policeman or policecar. Discretion however is all that is needed and things can go well. Always be friendly and generous to young Moroccan men as they have little or no money. Treat them with respect and take care not to leave valuables or money in full view – even the most honest young man will find it very hard to resist.

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