Rabat, Morocco Report of what it's like to live there - 11/16/11

Personal Experiences from Rabat, Morocco

Rabat, Morocco 11/16/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

24 hours.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 year post.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing here is very nice.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You know, pretty expensive. Milk (UHT) is terrible. If you can find Presidente (french) brand anything buy it, because it's that much better. Anything made in Morocco became suspect. The quality was just not there.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nice soft toilet paper. Mexican cooking stuff. Coffee Mate.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McD's, KFC (hahahahah), Pizza Hut (puke). You can find really good Moroccan food. It gets old really fast. There's no infusion. It's standard fair....and after 3 months of Tagine you want to shoot your self in the face.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Hahahahahahah

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO - Flawless.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very cheap and reliable.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Marine House. Passable. Barely. The local gyms are not for the peasantry, hence their hefty price. $200 a month for a gym.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

None of the ATM's I ever used worked. Like they are permanently not functioning. It's a microcosm of the entire society.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

I had none and got by.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Impossible.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Take blue taxis. Have change. Don't take White taxis. I hear the train is ok.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small car or SUV. I wouldn't recommend a giganto vehicle as parking can be tight. You need something quick and nimble. These people drive like complete idiots.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available and pretty good. I think it was 35 bucks through the Embassy?

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I had a verizon world with unlimited data plan. I could bbm all my friends and family without incurring text charges. Also had unlimited internet which is nice.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I was highly skilled and had a very tough time finding work.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Women have a particularly hard time. Men have virtually no respect for women, and even less for western women. I'm a big guy (muscle) and never once felt threatened. I know people who have been mugged.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Med unit was awesome.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

The air quality is really good. You are on the ocean.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Wonderful weather. Hot in the Summer and temperate in the winter.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

100-200?

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2. Morale among expats:

Fair. Really low when people were getting close to the end of their tours.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Big in the community. Virtually nothing outside of that. Their idea of partying is smoking 16 packs of cigarettes and pretending to look important.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Absolutely not.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

How Arab Moroccans, as opposed to Bedu or Berber, treat sub-Saharan Africans like dogs.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Asilah. Amazing place. Rabat's an urban waste. Fez is interesting in the sense that you are effectively stepping back in time.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are a lot places to go see. The only caveat is that it's ll predicated on people selling you something...tours, guides, carpets...my brother's shop. When someone befriends you, they are trying to get you to come to their shop or whatever and it becomes a real drag because everyone is suspect.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Carpets, glassware, woodworking.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Special advantages include: Proximatey to other places -- Portugal, Spain, France. Tickets are extremely cheap...right before the taxes Morocco levies on your flight.

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11. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Interesting for a little while. but it just got old. The work ethic is terrible, the FSN's are on Pluto (some, not all), and driving in this country is a trip through absolute stupidity.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter anything. Seriously, you'd think it was 40 below by the way Moroccans dress in winter. Laughable.

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3. But don't forget your:

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:


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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?


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6. Do you have any other comments?

We are simply a meal ticket. The combination of ignorance and arrogance in this country is astounding.

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