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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Bloody scooters everywhere!

A scooter with a heavy load ahead of us in one of the busy main streets of Marrakesh

  And that´s not scoters everywhere,  I meant, scooters everywhere! Morocco!! I´ve discovered that Marrakesh is where the folks here drive like Wacky Races! I´ve also noticed that there are not many people overweight. That´s because you spend all your time keeping in trim by jumping, ducking, swaying, running for your life, getting out of the bloody way, as they come at you from all directions! They don´t slow down either. Coming straight for you and catch your arm and drag yeah off at 100 miles an hour, ten miles down road! All the streets are swarming with people eating, chanting and shopping. Wherever there is any space, it´s taken up by someone selling something. Anything that you want, then it´s here in Marrakesh. Everything, except scooters!! Where do they sell them? I did not see one person selling a scooter and you would think with all these scooters that there are, then someone must be making a few bucks by selling helmets? I saw two! That's right, two helmets out of over 1000 scooters! Kids as young as ten, whizz past you at great speed with their brother riding on top of the handle and their little sister, six or seven, holding on at the rear! The horses and donkeys pulling carts don't even blink when vehicles drive close by like the devil! Everyone here thinks that they are either Barry Sheen or Nigel Mansell!  
  There are no rules here! It´s crazy, as a taxi or a scooter sweeps in front of you from nowhere and your foot hits the brake and you find yourself with your face pushed up, squashed against the window screen! That happened a few times. The on coming traffic are always on your side of the road, overtaking scooters that are in the middle of the road! I joined in with the wacky races. I had to and found myself weaving in and out, but those bloody scooters got the better of me. They also overtake from the inside. While you´ve slowed down, because of a scooter that´s in the middle of the road, they sneak up beside from the inside and scare the living daylights out of yeah! It´s a death trap! But I loved driving here and I thought how drivers in the UK would survive if everyone drove like this?  In fact, what I´ve seen of Marrakesh has already made my mind up to return again and you couldn't ask more from the hotel where we are staying at!

One of the many streets at night

3 scooters on view through a very busy narrow market and they don't go slow! Note the little girl in between the two adults having a backy!

  In the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, is looked over by the tower, Koutoubia Mosque. Here in the evening the market place comes alive with folks and scooters, some with no lights on. If your deaf, then you´ve got no chance! If your deaf and blind, well your a dead man or woman! There´s sellers all over the shop selling candles, slippers, and I don´t mean 10 pairs, I mean hundreds of pairs! sweets, fruit, lots of things handmade, watches, a lot more stuff and of cause, carpets! Also, there´s dancers, performers and in one of the corners, a TV screen the size of a garage that could fit ten million scooters in! Hundreds of Moroccans seemed to be transfixed to this film that was on with English subtitles!

The Koutoubia Mosque lit up

In the main market square, Jemaa el-Fnaa
  In the market square, one of the performers was playing a strange looking guitar and he was crap! Anyway, he drew the crowds in and I decided to take a pic of his guitar. I had just pressed the shutter, when this big feller came charging across in my direction from where the performer was and shaking a tin, demanding money off me! He stared at me and was shouting in Moroccan. Then he suddenly changed into English. I had not spoken one word to him and just with a look at me, he knew where I came from? Now, if I was erratically riding a scooter with no lights on with my brother, sister, my dog, my next door neighbours dog and Tommy the goldfish, and had the union jack stuck all over my face, he still wouldn´t think I was from the UK. He most probably ask for a backy? I would give him a backy, but he might squash the goldfish. Anyway, he demanded money for taking a photo of the man with the strange guitar. I said, on your scooter! No I didn´t, he was serious. I had to think quick, because I had a feeling his tin was going to have the shape of my head in it! After 10 minutes I came out with ´I was taking a photo of that funny looking guy with the strange cloths´And pointed to a man that fitted that description next to the performer. He looked to where I was pointing and his face got ugly and he snarled back ´That´s my boyfriend!´ I moved off a lot quicker than my thinking.

House Bunting are all over the shop
An hour of looking in fields nearby to Marrakesh saw some good birds for me including lots of Southern Grey Shrike.
Male Sardinian Warbler

A record shot of a Brambling flew off from a flock of 150 African Chaffinch. BWP shows Brambling regularly wintering down to North Morocco. A Spanish birder that Graham met in Finland saw over a million in southern Spain last winter.


  1. Need brambling for my Morocco list. Nice one. Marrakesh is brilliant - little swift and crag martin pretty reliable. If wanting some chill out time can get bus to Essaouira? Cheers. Bob

  2. Thanks Bob. Got Grag Martin in a few places, but it not really a birding holiday. It makes it hard work!