Magnificent Morocco – 8. Crap car spotting

Driving in Morocco, how can I describe this?   Energetic maybe, a lot of roads have fairly liberal approach of where the boundaries are of which lane you should drive in aren’t clearly defined.   For civilians crossing the road, being able to make eye contact with motorists heading your direction, being able to run across is a must.   I’ve no idea how elderly people or disabled managed to get across, there is very very few traffic lights.

I wonder if instead “D” for drive symbol on an automatic could be replaced with the first Arabic letter of the word Yallah…. 😉

Favourite cars of Morocco.

The Petit taxi

fiat unoThese are small taxis, designed to be economical and get round tight narrow street corners that big Mercedes can’t.   They are always red, and have a cage roof rack.   Usually a choice of a Fiat Uno, Peugeot 205 (or 206, 207 or 208) or Dacia.

205 1024Last time I rode in a 205 was in the early 1990s as my friend’s parents took me to a party in a car that was quite new.   This one has done 250,000kms but its worth pointing out it looks like its been crashed several times and had the bumpers/grill etc pulled out but not quite straight meaning it all looks a bit crooked and the boot doesn’t close properly.   Note this car has had the rubber over the steering wheel worn down to the bare metal.   In the UK the legendary 205GTI is now rare and mint ones are worth £7000, so it would be interesting to find if any 3dr 205s with tidy bodywork could be shipped over to form the basis of a restore job.

Grand Taxis

DSCF8196 1024These are the bigger taxis used for airport and long distance driving.   The African favourite, is the Mercedes 240.   Reliable, tough and simple to maintain.  All of these are cream, and probably early 1980s models.

Its worth saying without a shadow of a doubt, taxi drivers will quite certainly try and rip you off if you are foreign.   Excuses of the meter broken, or different prices if you don’t speak French or Arabic will exist, so its best to agree a price before he gets moving.

Miscellaneous automotive rubbish I mean classics

DSCF8213 1024The Renault 4.   My mum’s friend had one of these and took us to school twice when it was raining.   This boxy utilitarian thing was meant as a an upgrade from the rival tin-shed Citroen 2CV with similar charm.   I remember the rain would make a loud noise on the roof of it. Strangely enough, the Renault 4 which was made from the 1960s until 1990s was actually built in Casablanca, so I saw quite a few of them.   This highly well worn corroded heap is dubious if its actually capable of moving on its own.   It has a hole in the side large enough to put your hand in.

batman 1024The Batmobile

No I’m not joking, well almost.   This brand of vehicle is called ‘Batman’ which I think is from the city of the same name in Turkey.    Not a Indian Tuktuk, but an odd hybrid of motorcycle and van parts probably built in someone’s shed.

The Renault 5 

renault 5

Theres a few of these I’ve seen in really good condition.  I haven’t seen any since the one I saw used to transfer meat in Nazareth.  This early one would make a nice classic to drive around.

The Dacia.

DSCF8177 1024The car is often part of a running joke on Top Gear.  Pronounced “Datcha” this is a sort of Tesco value car, a no frills brand of vehicle built in Romania but owned by Renault.   They’ve been around since other Soviet era type rival motors like Lada, FSO and Yugo, but they are a bit better these days.    The modern day Dacias are ok, and there’s absolutely loads of them in Morocco as they are also built there, and I’m guess sold to the rest of African continent. In Israel I’ve seen them but with Renault badges on, but the middle east prefers the different range of Renault cars built in Turkey.

Local police also drive Dacias

Local police also drive Dacias

Learner cars with TWO steering wheels

learner1 learner2

What. The. Heck.

fiat 127 1024

A Fiat 127 (my Dad had one of these) which are still also popular with Palestinians in Bethlehem, lands that rust forgot. And another hybrid bike van thing. Very large pizza delivery?

rabat 1024

This is Rabat. Only saw a glimpse of this city when changing trains. Taxis here are blue for some reason.

Previous 7. Tangier (een) dream

Next. 9. Train to Casablanca

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Magnificent Morocco – 7. Tangier (een) dream

DSCF8117 1024If Jaffa oranges are Jaffa in Israel (or British Mandate of Palestine before that)

Then Tangerines are from Tangier right?

That’s what I was thinking, turns out when I read up this was true!!  Seems like adding “in” to a word in Arabic, is like “ים- / -im” in Hebrew or “-s” in English to make a word a plural.   Citrus fruit is quite a crucial part of the economy here, I saw Moroccan tomatoes in Morissons near my house last week.

Tangier feels like quite a bit like a traditional middle eastern city although of course this is northern Africa.   It feels ancient busy and hectic with narrow passageways, its been in a few movies, one of the mid 80s Bond films The Living Daylights and the third Jason Bourne film The Bourne Ultimatum.  I now need to watch these again!

DSCF8125 1024  DSCF8123 1024

Chickens, seems rather buying them frozen, you can get them slaughtered in front of you, and cleaned up prepared and ready to take home to cook.   Lots crammed into this cage and also some just calm sitting on the floor, I guess they have their legs tied up and doped as well.   Later on, when I visited Casablanca, I was amused to see a hippy French couple who the yound woman was wearing a “I support animal rights” tshirt, although actually animal lovers might be a shocked what happens around here.

DSCF8113 1024 DSCF8112 1024

Yes there are some some quite weird things here as well!

DSCF8108 1024

The food market is both outdoors and indoors.   It did feel a bit warmer then it did when I was in Gibraltar although it doesn’t seem that far away.

DSCF8111 1024

Fishing is a big thing here.   I got some sardines to put on a pizza back in London, which came from Morocco.  I’ll write more on the food a little later.

I didn’t spot many other Riads around here, although the exotic place I stayed looks pretty plain from the outside.

DSCF8136 1024

I started to see more of these amazing shaped doorways and lattice type balconies, think this is an ancient house that’s being restored.

The sad I thing I noticed, was a lot of poverty, there are plenty of people begging, some are blind or disabled.

Previous 6. Jewish Tangier

Next 8. Crap car spotting

really odd things for sale in this market too.