Riding the bus in Morocco is kind of a weird experience. If you’ve ever experienced buses and trains in the USA, then you’ll understand…
On the road
On the bus to Essaouira. On the whole at least as civilized as Amtrak. More so than greyhound. Bag Check = 5dh. We find that seats are assigned and people take great care to find their right seat. Danielle and I are not seated together, which isn’t clear right away since the numbers above the seats and the numbers on the arm rests are not the same. People seem to understand which is right. Most of the people on the CTM bus from Casablanca to Essaouira are Moroccans. We change seats. The gentleman wearing a MABRA hat seated next to Danielle agrees to change (in French shan jay). Big Window, comfortable seat, modern Volvo coach, many people in jelabi.
People, mopeds, cars creep into the street and eventually take over and cross. We stop @ another small bus station and take on 2 passengers and now are treated to some flamboyant Arabic music.
People washing clothes in a broken irrigation pipe in the middle of a freeway interchange on the outskirts of Casablanca.
While the driver gets shockingly close to pedestrians, mopeds, donkeys, cars, busses and other vehicles, he never does anything patently unsafe.
Traffic is frenetic, hectic and impatient on the streets of Casablanca as we head out of town. Honking seems to mean either a) Hold your line cause I’m hauling it right up your ass or b) I’m impatient and I thought you should know. They don’t seem to be warnings or alerts as they are (at least legally) in the US and they aren’t expletive replacements as they really are here.
Traffic moves according to some sub-obvious order, though it is obviously not chaos. A serious patrolman with shiny white gauntlets observes a major intersection from 10m back in the median as mopeds skirt the bus.
Drivers eye the nearly hidden traffic lights. Pedestrians align themselves in the road with the narrow corridor of safety between the columns of oncoming petit taxis, cars, mopeds, busses and grand taxis. Lanes converge as drivers honk and swerve and nod and waive and steal space where there seemed to be none. Bumpers close on each other, but don’t touch. Pedestrians crane for an opening, move out into traffic with nonchalance, and the cars, and bikes, and buses, and mopeds adjust their trajectory, but not speed and the gaps are cleared and they make it safely to the sidewalk.
After a while he changes the CD to cheesy American cover music. It isn’t the original, but it is meant to sound like it is. We hear, Green Green Grass, Parsley sage rosemary and thyme, Song Sung Blue, Country Roads, Endless Love. We hear Bryan Adams, though I’d swear that it was actually him.
to be continued…