In englishEesti keeles

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Morocco flying by and Western Sahara

The atmosphere in Morocco and Western Sahara is safe and friendly. Almost nobody seems to speak English but every tenth person still knows a few words and, in the end, things get done. Northern Morocco was an agricultural landscape as far as the eye could see. Only the mountains tinged it – every now and then they were a vague outline in the distance or close enough to dazzle us with an array of colours. It seems easy to be a geologist here because everything is visible to the naked eye.

Colourful mountain side near highway

Close to the mountains we could see the village layout and architecture which is usually hidden behind a high wall.


Southern Morocco and Western Sahara are eminently a desert landscape. It is cut in half only by the road.

The desert landscape is hilly. Besides the problem of passing by it all so quickly while driving fast, the darkness is another concern. For example, we crossed the mountains in the dark and at some point the fog was so thick that we could see no more than 10-20 m ahead. Some cars had stopped and some were moving at a speed of 10-20 km/h. So despite making stops and looking around, a lot still goes unseen.
Road to the south: ocean meets desert with its Bedouins and camels

There is space and privacy. Tents and huts are kilometres apart.Both desert and ocean offer a certain harshness and loneliness that can be inspirational.

There are usually 5-6 camels on the side of the road, sometimes even more. What are you looking at – can’t you see the arrow!? 

A monotone landscape alternates with a number of towns that are relatively clean but the same cannot be said of the surrounding area. Traffic rules in towns are simple and complicated at the same time – drive and let drive. There is constant lane-switching and everyone keeps an eye on everyone else. Yet using lights and indicators in Morocco corresponds to the European standard. The quality of the main roads is also very good; only a few roadsides have deteriorated and formed potholes. The only problem is that the roads are quite narrow. Drivers follow the speed limit more or less – in towns more so than on highways, where they feel the need for speed so characteristic of the southern temperament. Taken all together, there is nothing bad to say about the traffic, during the day or at night.

The control points are a real nuisance and are sometimes located every 100 metres (albeit not in the desert). They usually come before and after each town. Hamor ran out of forms and so started copying them manually. He had a doctor’s handwriting, but the Moroccan police liked it. We had a bet on which was faster – his copying them out or the police taking them away. After a tight race, Hamor won.

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