While the bazaars, riads and kasbahs have always delighted our Moroccan Souks & Sand travellers, it’s actually our charismatic local guide, Youssef Laamimi, they consistently sing the loudest praise for.
Although straight — we know: disappointing — the young Moroccan is keen to show off his country to the gay community. The ‘real deal’ as he calls it.
It was between the late 40s and early 50s when the gay literati of the time began flocking to Tangier, Morocco to escape the conservative landscape of America. Attracted to Tangier’s tolerant approach to sexuality and drugs, some of the largest names in the crew included William S Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Truman Capote.
By day these beatniks and bohemians met in Grand Cafe de Paris, breaking bread and exchanging ideas. By night, they drank in excess, procured prostitutes and indulged in the country’s surplus of drugs, unfettered by disinterested law enforcement.
While Morocco’s political stance on homosexuality has taken a sharp conservative turn, the country remains an important part of queer history and tourism. Not only were Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes scattered in Marrakesh, but tourists can still visit the Grand Cafe de Paris and El Muniria (the homestay where the majority of said authors resided).
Scroll down for five quotes by the most prominent figures who got swept up in Queer Tangier.
Our Morocco Souks & Sand tour is an overwhelming escape that warrants serene nights in comfortable quarters. To keep the Moroccan mystique, we’ve named our Starting & Finishing point hotels…the rest await on this jubilant journey that departs in September and April.
The mere notion of dickering over a price may induce anxiety in many Westerners, especially those of us who can barely muster the small talk we’re forced to make with sales associates while waiting for a credit card transaction to go through. However, haggling is intrinsically woven into the local culture in Morocco, and it’s a serious courtship: pay the first price, and you’ve offended the vendor by diminishing the value of their livelihood. But offer too little, and you’ll be shooed away for offending the vendor’s entire family with your cheapness…these guys are more dramatic than a Real Housewives reunion special, but their theatrics are also equally staged! Once you learn to dance the dance, it’s actually fun.