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Morrocan trinkets

I'm thinking Tangiers will be similar to some Mexican boarder towns. A good place to pick up small gifts for our slew of grandkids. We will want to ship them home. Will it be easier to do there or should we wait until we're back in Spain? thanks, Scott

Posted by
5019 posts

Years ago I shipped a box of purchased stuff home from Morocco, and it was a minor ordeal: waiting in line and actually mailing the box took a couple hours (incredibly bureaucratic, so many forms to fill out and much ceremonious stamping of paper), and the packed box arrived back in the USA about a month later. Looked like it had been through hell - the box was all beat up and appeared to have busted open at some point, but the contents were all in there, nothing was missing. Fortunately I had packed it obsessively, wrapping each item individually before putting them all in the box, everything heavily padded individually and collectively and sealed up like a pharaoh's tomb. It survived the trip but wasn't pretty. None of the items themselves had been opened or were missing, so I concluded it was just heavy-handling rather than theft, and the box just split open in transit.

Granted, I shipped it from a smaller town, in what was then a bit off the beaten path (basically a military garrison town at the end of the road in the then- and still-disputed territory of Western Sahara), and this was a good 10-15 years ago. So things could be very different in a 2014 Tangiers post office, which is undoubtedly a lot more developed than where I mailed things from. All that said, if it were me, and I was going to be back in Spain just a few days after Tangiers, I'd probably shlepp the stuff with me and utilize the (relatively) more efficient Spanish postal system (I've had fairly good luck with them), or if budget isn't a primary concern, maybe UPS or DHL from Spain (just be prepared for sticker shock). In my case, I was departing from an outpost town to the Canary Islands, so couldn't drag along extra stuff with me.

I think you are correct in comparing Tangiers to a Mexican border town (an analogy I like to make....Morocco is to Western Europe as Mexico is to the USA, in many ways, and the day-trip ferry towns ARE the bordertowns - think Tijuana with mosques, camels, and snake charmers). If you are only planning a visit to Tangiers, and if your trip plans are not solid yet, you might consider going deeper into the real Morocco - it's worth even just a few days to get to Marrakech and/or Fes. Great stuff there once you get a couple hours away from the ferries.

Hope that helps.

Posted by
29 posts

Hi scott,

David has offered just about as much advice and information that I think you need, although I will add that Morocco's "Poste Maroc" postal service is pretty efficient nowadays. Specifically in Tangier, at the central post office (33 blvd. Mohammed V...the main street in the Ville Nouvelle) there is a separate section that deals with parcels, but your parcel must be inspected first so don't wrap it all up beforehand. I guess the main problem that you may encounter is the language barrier, unless you can speak a little French. As David mentioned, there's also branches of DHL as well as FedEx.
Adding to David's suggestion about traveling further into Morocco, be aware that apart from some top-end, mainly contemporary artworks practically nothing is actually crafted in Tangier. All the wonderful array of curios and crafts for sale in Tangier have been procured from elsewhere in the country and subsequently they cost more, though for small gifts the difference in cost will probably be negligible when converted back to dollars.
Darren Humphrys