It was a day that defined the fluidity of travel; our group had just arrived in Morocco, after porting in Casablanca. We were headed inland to Marrakech, but low and behold, there were transportation issues in this North African port city.
We were intent on taking the train--you know, the "Marrakech Express". But there was, quite literally, a train wreck.
We figured the bus is the next logical option, but due to the train wreck, the tickets sold out--immediately.
So here's a group of 8 of us, standing in downtown Casablanca, and wondering how we would get to our destination--the Riad had already been booked for us, and would be a shame to lose out on.
We contemplated buying a beat up, stripped down, and underpowered vehicle that resembled a Tuk Tuk.
We realized a direct ride in a car may be our only option; we flagged down a cab and gave our first shot of Moroccan haggling a try, for a 2.5 hour, 150 mile cab ride. This wouldn't be cheap. Being that there was 8 of us, the driver called up his friend (who would want to miss out on this fare?). The group of us stood on the street corner working out a price--eventually we settled on something near $30 US dollars per person--not a bad price given our evident desperations.
We made sure our two cab drivers--aptly named Muhammed and Ali, stuck together. We laughed, hopped in our respective cars, and buckled in for what was sure to be an interesting ride throughout the desert.
Whipping thru the streets of Casablanca, we experience a fast-paced and off the beaten path journey via cab of a large portion of the city. Weaving in and out of traffic, we narrowly missed a head on collision; witnessed a teenager sprint thru rush hour traffic and literally jump into an open window in the back of a bus (with the help of his friend to pull him in). They had noticed we all were intently watching and taking photos, and indicated to us to be quiet of their bus-fare dodging ways.
Donkeys in the streets, small motorbikes whipping in and out of lanes--this hectic town was going about it's normal day to day routine and we were simply passing thru but gazed in awe at the different way of life being shown to us.
Eventually we hit the outskirts of town, and witnessed the street side fruit stands and repair shops.
Eventually we made our way into the vast Moroccan desert and cruised down the smoothly paved highways in route to our destination of Marrakech.
At one point we stopped for the cab driver to receive a permit of some sort; as we sat in the car, I noticed this little emblem and coin hanging from the center console of his beat up Mercedes Benz. It's Arabic design attached to a small chain was so simple, but added a personal touch to the car and made it feel less like a cab, and more like a simple Moroccan man's vehicle.
The journey was fun, exciting, and unorthodox--and we all appreciated it, down to the very last detail (as you can see).
I would love know what this emblem says or stands for--if any TE members can offer up advice and translation, it'd be greatly appreciated!
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larhrissiHicham (577) 2013-03-01 2:30
The emblem means "Holy Quran".
This said, your narration painted a typical tourist POV of Morocco. Quite funny though, but have to say that Morocco is quite more than that.
omid266 (6390) 2013-05-02 23:21
That ,s really Fine !
a nice pic. you captured and shared here ,
Thank you ,
Best wishes , Prayers from Islamic Republic of IRAN .
Good luck in your Path .