Saturday, 22 September 2007

Vroom, vroom

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..

Ciao.

36 comments:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I can imagine the fast drivers! You should see them here, where they drive everywhere, even a few yards to deposit their rubbish in the communal bin, and then they back into oncoming traffic. Strange that there should be an increase in traffic during Ramadan. Do tell us if you find out the reason - and get some pics of the shop!

debio said...

Increased traffic jams here too, lady m, and the standard of driving has taken a nose-dive - were that possible. Except between the hours of 5.30 to around 8.00-ish; then the roads a simply empty as the Moslems enjoy Ifthar.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Car congestion, no fun at all! Your description of LA reminded me of the scene from the Steve Martin movie "LA Story" where he pulls out of his driveway and into standstill traffic.

P.S. Thanks for dropping by today! Always good to see a note from you. cheers, PJ

sally in norfolk said...

love that saying...sally forth !! suits my nature quite good too...

Beth the Sensible said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment! Things have changed around here since the last time I visited ... looks nice!

Mama Zen said...

Thinking about the traffic . . . does Ramadan entail a lot of visiting extended family, etc? Just wondering.

Sparx said...

Oh, let The Lazy take you - sometimes it's luxurious to go with the lazy for an afternoon...

Thanks for dropping in today to

Brillig said...

Beginning your Christmas shopping??? Wow. I am in awe of your on-top-of-it-ness.

Omega Mum said...

Given that younger people tend to have more accidents, could it be that the teen drivers are all in hospital? Or perhaps they're just banned, which statistically would make sense (though I suppose all the accidents would simply happen a decade on).

KarenO said...

Aaaaah road rage is unfortunately alive and well and living in South Africa too. I started to suffer from it in a bad way till I switched my car radio to ClassicFM and it worked!

lady macleod said...

welshcakes

It is so odd here because they are not in a hurry at any other time..

I think Mama Zen hit it on the head, family visits!

Yes mam' photographs coming up.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

debio

Is everything else slowed there as well? So many shops closed for the duration here..

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

pamela jeanne

I think Los Angeles must have some place in the top three traffic horrors.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

sally

I have no doubt the phrase was brought into being with you in mind!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

beth

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

Mama Zen

Duh! See my hand hit my forehead! Of course! One of the big happenings of Ramadan is the family visits and big dinners with friends and family. You are too smart by far!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

sparx

I took your advice..

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

brillig

Yes, I am one of 'those' people. When I had Q at home, I would shop all year and keep my goodies in a closet in preparation for birthdays and holidays. I hate giving gifts that people don't love, and do so love giving presents.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

omega mum

I think some of it may be economic, but even in Souissi I don't see them so.. It may be due to the law, I will check it out.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

karenO

Good solution!

thank you for coming by.

jmb said...

We are so law abiding here in Vancouver, we always stop for pedestrians and when going from two lanes to one we take it in turn. That said, we all seem to drive 10 km/hr over the speed limit and running the red light has become increasingly common. Luckily we are still slow off on the green.
Christmas shopping already? Perish the thought.
Yes, pictures please.
regards
jmb

Nicole said...

I am an American currently living just outside of Rabat. I moved from Atlanta, GA.I have been here for a little over a month and I know NO ONE that speaks English other than my husband! I am having a good time but feel a bit intimidated making my way around alone due to the the language barrier...any advice would be appreciated!!!!! Please contact me through my blog or at nicegirlatl@hotmail.com

Hope to hear from you soon!!!!

Norfolk Blogger said...

Christmas shopping already !!!! - NO !!!

Winchester whisperer said...

I've given you the Awesome Dude Blogger award - you have to collect it from Eurodog's blogsite

mutleythedog said...

Maybe there is an increase during ramadan because for once they are all mostly sober....?

You cannot be serious about Christmas shopping - no wait - I guess it is stuff to post overseas? I am only sending e cards this year...

debio said...

Everything's slowed here, lady m, including the traffic.

Couldn't even have a coffee at the hairdresser's this morning so saved the stylist a job and tore my hair out instead.

All coffee shops and cafes closed til dusk, and later opening for many outlets - food shops still open all hours.

Can't wait for Eid...

Eurodog said...

First visit to your blog.
C'est génial. I have created a link.
Today as I was driving in Brussels, I saw a black Mercedes with Washington DC nummerplates. A rare thing. The driver was on his mobile phone which is against the law and went through the lights at amber and seemed completely oblivious to anybody else. Maybe he was ungry.

lady macleod said...

eurodog,

Welcome and I hope you come again. As to you driver I am thinking, diplomatic immunity? Or just a self absorbed sod?

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

debio

I know! I was at the salon today - no expresso! no water! sigh

We'll make it. We will won't we?

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

mutleythedog

Quite serious my man. I do this every year. when in the West I love to spend Christmas Eve watching the last minute shoppers! Cruel, but really fun.

Oh I don't think sobriety has to do with it. I think Mama Zen hit it, with the family visiting.

thank you for coming by dear.

lady macleod said...

ww

Thank you! That is too kind. I'm going right over.

Thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

norfolk blogger

What can I say? I'm one of THOSE people...

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

nicole

Welcome! I'm on it. I shall email you tonight.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

jmb

Glad to hear you stop for pedestrians as I am notorious for crossing without looking!

Photographs coming. He was closed today... Ramadan..

thank you for coming by.

heatherf said...

Well you obviously haven't spent enough time in Agdal. There are lots of teenage/early 20s drivers especially in the evenings when they cruise the streets. if they don't have a car they will be on a motorbike, helmetless, and where do they stop? McDonalds of course.
Running red lights, well that is something I see on a regular basis, sometimes sneaking through when there in no traffic, or if its orange press the accelerator harder or just go straight through as everyone will stop for me. Then there is the driving up the wrong side of the street, doing U-turns where the sign says not to . . . .

@themill said...

Christmas?!!!