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Conversation starters

Four of our local experts share their tips for overcoming the language barrier – along with the cultural divide – in the cities they call home

‘B’shal hadi?’

Have a meeting of minds over mint tea in Marrakesh, Morocco

Haggling prices in Marrakesh’s souqs, often conducted over a piping hot cup of mint tea, isn’t just for tourists - locals here are tenacious shoppers. Start by offering 40 per cent of the shopkeeper’s initial price, though keep in mind that shops off the tourist trail tend to offer reasonable prices from the outset. Remember that what you’re bargaining for is ultimately worth whatever it means to you. Go in with a positive attitude, have fun with it, and try a few words of Arabic. In the end, don’t be afraid to walk away, politely thanking shopkeepers for their time.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - June 2019
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