Harriet O’Brien is a travel writer and award-winning author. Her first book Forgotten Land, a rediscovery of Burma was published just before she joined The Independent, her second Queen Emma and Vikings, a few years after she left. She was on staff at The Independent during the 1990s and subsequently worked in Canada and then as managing editor at Conde Nast Traveller before going freelance in order to travel more. She mainly covers the UK, Europe and Asia, where she grew up.
Saturday 04 October 1997
"Western (and especially blonde, fair-skinned) women will find they have constant male company at various times during their stay in Morocco," it said. "Harassment usually takes the comparatively harmless form of leering, sometimes being followed and occasionally being touched up."
Arriving in Marrakesh, I was therefore prepared for the sort of hassle I had experienced in northern India earlier this year. So at first I dressed and acted like a Victorian governess - long skirts, long sleeves, no eye contact - and was reluctant to wander the souks and streets by myself.
This, it turned out, was an alarmist attitude. During the week that I spent in the city and up in the mountains beyond, the men I encountered were courteous and helpful and kept a polite distance.
Perhaps it's time for Lonely Planet to revise their doubtless well intentioned advice.
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