Musings about Morocco, the highways- Part 5

I noticed that the ladies in Marakesh city centre almost like the ladies in any European cities. If not for their Arabic accent you wouldn’t be wrong to think that you’re in Paris. I even spied some of them smoking in the restaurant and riding motorbikes which are quite a rarity in the Arab world. But then again, Morocco is not Arabic country, so I was told by the American who accompanied us all along the trip. Actually he is accompanying his Moroccan wife who is our interpreter. Thank you Dr Tebbins and Dr Bulima for putting up with our incessant questions as well as acting as our tour guides.

The Renault that took us almost 2000km across Morocco .
The Renault that took us almost 2000km across Morocco .

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The highway to Marakesh is also a tolled highway. If I am not mistaken we have to stop to pay toll in at least three places before we reached Marakesh. I did not see any card or tagging system being employed. But traffic was very light. There is hardly more than five cars at each booth. The highway is good like our PLUS highway but the the drivers are more disciplined and courteous. The fast lane is only utilised for overtaking. Once they overtook they wil move to the centre lane. How civil compared to road hoggers in our highway. Every public transport or hired buses traversing the highways will carry a simple tracking charts that can easily calculate the distance and the time taken to traverse that distance. The police can easly check whether the vehile had been speeding by checking this chart. And according to our driver, in his halting English, you can be fined even for the journey made two or three days earlier as the the chart has a daily record. It is just a simple paper record with some needles that indicate time you start your journey and distance you have covered since. fairly simple. Maybe our JPJ and Police can learn something from Morocco. Since the highways cut across mountainous regions, ever so often you would see safety run off areas being provided with sand pits to slow down and stop runaway vehicles. I believe PLUS only has this facility near the Menora tunnel southbound, built after the infamous former Jelapang toll accident.
The rest stops are numerously available at regular intervals and most of them have petrol stations, food courts and of course toilets. Unfortunately in some stops the “masjid” (prayer rooms) are unisex and have no place for ablutions. It is a real challenge to take ablution in the toilets and quickly run to the mosques, especially when the temperature hovers around 5C and it is raining as well. Fortunately, being a traveller in the western world before, I am quite prepared for it. I have even prayed in an open car park in the middle of winter in Scotland. but then that is another story. Funny they do not call the praying area musolla. I believe it is an arabic term. I used it to ask the attendant at one of the stop areas and drew a blank. I had to use a hand signal to indicate praying before I made myself understood. Again, Maghribi is not an Arab country.

One of the petrol stations rest stop areas
One of the petrol stations rest stop areas

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