The only time I have seen Moroccans in a rush is while in their cars. I am amazed that I have witnessed no road rage in Morocco, not even now during Ramadan. I say this because of the Moroccan driving habits, and it is not just the taxi drivers, or the city drivers, or the men, or the women (of which there is an increasing number) – it is everyone I have seen. If there is an accident or some other obstacle in the road or highway, they find a way to drive around it; if the traffic is not moving to their satisfaction they pull out into the opposing lane and sally forth; when making a turn they pull out and create an additional lane while acting as if they are in the right no matter how many cars they are cutting off; horns blast constantly and the car to car conversation is the norm. But they are fastidious about stopping for lights; I have witnessed no one running the lights. This is all done in apparent good humor, even in the late day and heat of Ramadan. Hats off I say.
I did have two chaps for drivers this week whom I suspect have as a secret desire to drive in Le Mans. One old and one young they drove from Souissi to the Oudayas in record time zipping in and out of traffic as if there were a fire or life and death situation. Another interesting note is the scarcity of young, as in teenager, drivers. Where they are in abundance in the West, they are rare here, as is the blaring radio that one so often pulls up next to at a stop light in the West. I have seen a “driver’s education” car that passes by the Oudayas recently, but the chaps in the learner’s seat are all late twenties or thirties that I have seen.
There does seem to be an increase in traffic during Ramadan, another mystery I have not cracked. Why would that be? Last year in Fez most people who could, stayed indoors and waited out the day. But I have sat in several traffic tie-ups since the beginning of Ramadan, briefly it is true, not like the one time I was in Los Angeles traffic and sat dead still for thirty minutes – the standard by which I judge all traffic jams. There are many more cars on the streets than I have seen before, and I can’t imagine why.
I visited the neighborhood art gallery yesterday to begin my Christmas shopping and found a lovely piece with four Berber warriors mounted on galloping steeds, with weapons at the ready. The perfect gift for my friend’s daughter who is a horse-person. It was quite pricey until the chap (who had dealt last month with Q) said, “Oh no, that is not the price for you! You live in the Oudayas, you are one of us.” Nice to be in the in crowd eh? He had another piece I must have for my little house. I am counting my dirhams today to see if I can return and purchase it. He has works by a variety of artist from all over Morocco. I shall get some photographs of the shop for you later – I’m just not a takes-my-camera-everywhere sort of person. Until this trip I was a rare photograph taker preferring to use words, but in the digital age…
I have the lazy today. I am hoping it will pass..