Saturday, September 03, 2005

1,600 Kilometers, 5 Cities, 4 Days!

In Morocco, we made three road trips.

1) Tanger in the north (to and back: 600 km, 2 days)
2) Fez and Rabbat in the north-east (to and back: 500 km, 1 day)
3) Marakesh in the south (to and back: 500 km, 1 day)
4) All trips began from Casablanca

Boy, were we tired! Even as passengers, we were so tired from the travelling. Kudos to Mr Iraqi and Karim for all the driving! Actually, the trips were rather pleasant. There's nice scenery and smooth traffic throughout. The only two problems were the sunny weather (40 + degrees throughout) and the speedtraps! I have never in my life seen so many policemen along the highway. It would seem to me that this country is so obsessed with speed offenders that they deployed their entire police force to catch them. In that case, Morocco must have an incredibly high ratio of policeman to civillians.

Later I was told that due to the holiday season in Europe from June to August, there was an influx of Moroccans living abroad to travel back to their home country. Therefore, more speed checks were required to keep accidents from happening.

Anyway, a little about some of the cities we visited:

One of the oldest city in Morocco. Consist of two parts: new urban residential areas and the old medina? (city?). Part of the walls that guarded the ancient city was still visible. The primary industry is agriculture and olive oil production. Moroccans like to think that the smartest people originates from here.

We had a heavy lunch at a luxurious Riad (as in ancient rich man's house converted into a hotel thingie). The Riad overlooks the ancient medina as shown in the picture. Standing there at that moment, its not difficult to imagine that I was looking over some epic historical war scene. Any moment, a medival army is going to charge down from the dunes to attack the defenders in the city. Cool! =)

Lucky us! We got some time to tour the ancient city. Hmmm....doesn't it look like Helm's Deep? =P

The capital city. This is the home of the King's political apparatus. We didn't spend much time here except for a brief stop at the showroom. The facade of the showroom has been specially design to reflect the status of the capital city. However, I felt that there's a lack of consistency with the other showrooms and therefore a difficulty for expressing a unified CI - corporate identity. Well if the boss likes it....=P

There is something magical about this city. The weather was a grueling 45 degrees in celsius when we arrived but we were immediately captivated by the city's unique feel. It's like going to.....Disney land..... Marakesh is a tourist place. As we wandered into the market place, we were instantly met by a variety of stores, shops and street touts marketing a huge variety of goods. Here's probably the chatuchak of Morocco.

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