Advice - Living within my means in Essaouira

I have posted on several sites - topic specific, so I'll not bore everyone with "new member" details with every post.

I am on a fixed monthly income.  I also want to be part of my community - not apart from it.  And I know NOTHING.  All tips, recommendations, do's/don'ts, everything - is welcome and appreciated.

Does anyone have recommendations for local markets to purchase food? Home goods?
Tips on negociation
- what are things that one is expected/should negociated,
- things that are not to be negociated

- how do I go about applying/connecting utilities when I finally rent a place to live?
    Is everything paid seperately?  Does one set up auto pay? Pay by mail? In person?

- How does home Internet connectivity work?  How much does it cost?  Is it better to go to cafes?
- Cell/Mobile phone advice?  Type, Cost, Company?

I am coming from Silicon Valley -  the very heart of it - Palo Alto (HP) Menlo Park (VC's), Mountain View (Google), Santa Clara (Intel) - everyone is connected 7 ways from Sunday and then some.... I do not expect it to be the same and frankly, look forward to it NOT being the same... (2 laptops, a desktop, 2 landlines, iphone, smartphone, wireless home network.. luckily only one "do it all" printer.... downsizing has a LOT of appeal).  I'm bringing my iphone and laptop and plan on having my iphone turned off.... unplug.

I need to live within my very modest means... I seek to be respectfull, kind, a good neighbor and part of the community.  Supporting local businesses is my goal.   It won't happen overnight.  But I have limited resources to make big financial mistakes.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration and the sharing of your knowledge, wisdom and experience.
Respectfully, emmyht

It may be surprising for you but ADSL is working rather well in Morocco. For about 200MAD (some more than 25USD) per month you can have a 8MB connection at home. 3G is also working and it really widespread: it's the most often internet access to be subscribed in Morocco at the moment. The only thing is to check out with people in the city you'll be which operator has the best network so as to have a good connection quality as there is no minimum to be guaranteed... There are 3 operators; Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Telecom in french, also named IAM), Meditel and Inwi. IAM used to be a state-owned company. It is now held by Vivendi, a french company that owns several phone operators in Europe more specifically. Meditel just got bought by France Telecom, the former french state owned phone company that also owns most of the operators known under the Orange brand in the world. Inwi is a pure moroccan player, owned by the ONA group whic is to be one of the biggest company in Morocco.

WIFI is well known and practiced in Morocco. Meanwhile, if you have some computing knowledge (basic is sufficient), you may just subsribe a standard connection with the provider you'll choose nd get yourself a router that will set WIFI at home. WIFI networks are just starting being currently private. There are lots of cafes offering free WIFI access. Useful but not perfect for your privacy anyway...

As for the rent, if you want to lease to moroccan people, you need to be extremely careful. I've heard too many bad experiences of house destruction at the end of the lease... Payment is often made in cash at a bank account or wire transfer (if they have a bank account). For this purpose, people often have a bank account not too far from the leased place ;) Auto pay is rather expensive here and Western Union or alike systems can be usefull too...

Thank you so much for your kind reply.  I thank you for the wifi information.  25 dollars a month!  To me, that is a terrific price.  Having internet in the home is nice because of just being able to sit down and get to it.  Still, I'm on a budget so I'll try the cafes first.  Just to save money and my time.  If I can use my own laptop...  great.  Having wifi at home... the disadvantage is that I can be on it for hours and lose complete track of my time... which would be better spent elsewhere. 

Everyone who is responding to my pleas for information are so nice and all the information is very beneficial.  I am completely ignorant.  I appreciate the bank information, how to pay for rent.  I need to do things economically, yet with practicality.

I am not seeking to lease TO Moroccan people.  I need to lease a place for myself.  How is the experience that way?

If you compare with other countries, 25 US for just the internet connection, it may be expensive.... Even broadband...

If you want to lease for yourself, take your time to choose. You will first need to know the place, check out the environmet and make sure it matches your expectations... Otherwise, once you've found wht you consider as being sufficient, it's ok. Owners are usually pleased when the people pay their rent on time (which is not that often from Moroccan...). Just pay a great attention to the price. It may appear cheap from a US point of view, but expensive from a local point of view and foreigners often "enjoy" a price raise of 50, 100% or more...

Thank you for your information.  I have read about this rental "special" price.  How do I negociate a non-special price?  I truly need to live within my modest means.

I need to learn what is expensive from the Moroccan point of view.  What is expensive to a Moroccan will be viewed expensive to to me.  It seems unwise to take the "oh its cheaper here than in the US" point of view on everything.

Do you have a recommendation on where to stay while I check things out.  I agree completely with you that it is important that I take my time in choosing a place to rent.

Everyone is so generous and giving me great help.  Thank you.

To negociate a non special price you mostly need to be moroccan and speak the language of the person in front of you (moroccan dialect also known as derija or beber also called amazigh here (gh is to be pronounced like a french r).

To get to know what is expensive from a moroccan point of view, you need to know that the minimum wage is of MAD 2.200 per month (all taxes already paid), and that an average could be of MAD 7.000. To convert it into USD, you should divide those amount by 8 (or about)... This makes some less than USD 300 as minimum and about USD 875 for the average. But you also need to know that there is no maximum income in Morocco and people live with MAD 1,000,000 per month...

A lease in Casablanca is expensive, in the main case. A villa house with a garden) could cost about MAD 20,000 per month. A 1 room flat (with a living room) could be about MAD 3,000.

I was thinking along those lines.  Well, learning the Moroccan dialect of Arabic is one of my top priorities and of focus.....  I am glad to learn that if I am careful I can live for that price and where I need to set my sites for size and type of living space, looks like a small flat is the thing.

More info!  This is great info and very very helpful.  thank you

Just be sure thath the average local income is not sufficient to have some personnal comfort or have some artistic activities. The reason is simple: those are not wide spread activities and they are rather expensive because mostly practiced by wealthy people (to local standards) or foreigners (supposed to be wealthy...). ;)

I'm not much informed of the painting stuff. But as far as digital cameras are concerned, just compare the price you can get for a Nikon D90 in the US with a 18-135 lens... Here it should be about 10,000.00 MAD (about 1,250.00 USD...). ;)

did you manage to find somewhere in essaoria that you are happy with?

I just read your posts on the site...great for you! I am a canadain and i would like to relocate to Morocco also....Was also thinking Marrakech but I am leaning towards Essaouria now.
How are things going for you? have you settled in? I am curious to know!
Take care and I hope you are loving your new life!


Be aware that Marrakech is a really expensive city...

Yes, I have spent a bit of time in Morocco and do have some friends there. Are you enjoying your time?

I do: it's been now more than 5 years that I'm in Morocco. But I'm not sure my personal situation is the same as many others as I got married to a Moroccan person ;)

Did you ever make it to Essaouira?

As a tourist, yep, for the every day life, nope.

I'm from Agadir but leaving in Ann Arbor Michigan for the last 20 years and planing to go back with my wife and my daughter some time soon .I'have a friend in Agadir how is been leaving in the state for as long as Im and he just returned to Morocco a year a go and he own a 4 story home close to downtown/ beach and he will be more than happy to rent a level for someone like you as he is very selective in his rentals.

Let me know if I can be of any further help and good luck.

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