Second Time Around travel blog

The ride

Since leaving the train, we travel primarily by van. The van is supplied by a subcontractor to Intrepid. It is modern and clean, and our driver is scrupulous when it comes to speed limits and road rules.

Seats are designed for European fashion models. Seats are narrow, cushions thin. One quickly gets used to rubbing shoulders with a neighbor.

We have been asked to rotate seats on a regular basis so that no one suffers daily from a bad situation. The far back corner seats are avoided as claustrophobia-causing death traps. So far, our group has been thoughtful about rotation, sometimes changing seats more than once a day. Also daily, a passenger with special needs (e.g., illness) will wind up in the front next to our leader.

Unlike our South America trek, most road days have been tolerably short. We are not stopping at gas stations filled with Coke and chips, our road comfort food and fat generators.

Also unlike South America, we are not in a plague van. Most everyone is usually well. I am recovering from my cold/cough, while Mo seems to be recovering from the cold/cough she got from me. I think her pharmacist gave her a better cough syrup.

Morocco recently passed new laws that require seat belt use. The law is enforced mainly for locals. In town, city police position themselves at most major intersections to pull over the randomly-chosen citizen. In rural areas, the duty is assumed by the Royal Gendarmes. We as a tourist vehicle have yet to be stopped.

In towns, another new law requires pedestrian use of marked crosswalks. Failure to use them can result in an on-the-spot fine. Whether or not the cash fine makes its way to official accounts is uncertain.

Roads are mostly in good condition. New bridges are going up. Signs are in Arabic and French.

Virtually all parking seems to be monitored by fellows with a reflective vest and official name tag. I suspect it's a make-work scheme to combat near 20% unemployment.

We are now getting out and walking more. Good thing. I'm not sure where my weight gain has come from, but it's embarrassing and annoying when squeezing into a van seat designed for a European fashion model.

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