Guerrilla road war

This is a story of shame. It starts innocently: I surrender to the traffic in Morocco, marvelling at its ‘rules’. I enjoy weaving through traffic, pushing my way in, driving four-wide on a two-lane road, honking impatiently and driving incredibly silly, even outright dangerously.
The first irritations surface quickly. I start talking to fellow road users, who can’t hear me, of course. My talking becomes grumbling, then scolding, until I end up being totally wound up and angry. That’s my cue to take the ferry from Tangier to Spain for a few days. When I return, I’m recharged and able to surrender myself to the Moroccan roads again with sufficient patience. Thus, I go back and forth between being a Zen Buddhist and Road Rage Maniac.
But over time, I start to feel completely ‘zen’ in Moroccan traffic. I zigzag through Rabat with unprecedented ease. I feel like I have completely adapted to the Moroccan driving customs. My integration seems successful. One Wednesday, our friends follow us in their car. Thoughtlessly and relentlessly, I navigate through the busy evening traffic, swerving left and right, honking my horn, and pushing my way in if I have to. Upon arrival, our friends ask: “What were you doing? We could hardly keep up! Do you always drive like that?!” I take their words as a great compliment. I don’t notice the undertone, their worries. It’s as if I have just received a diploma.
Two days later, my youngest son and I are trying to turn onto the main road when some fool dares to make it awkward. It’s irritating and only gets worse when the man starts driving alongside us, pulling a face as if to say: What’s your problem? I immediately start yelling at him through my open window: How dare he cut us off! That was dangerous! Where on earth did he get his driver’s licence! Then my son tells me very calmly: “Dad, there’s no need to be this angry.”
It startles me. I mumble something about being right, fully knowing that I’m wrong. I realise that my ‘adaptation process’ has in fact been a daily fight in a proverbial guerrilla road war. I’ve been fighting like Don Quixote against the windmills. My youngest son has just given me a wake up call. Can I be saved? In an ultimate attempt to call a truce and reconcile with my fellow road users in Morocco, I must start by saying “Sorry…”

This column was recently published on Global Connection (online magazine for expats worldwide). It is a short version of an earlier published column in dutch called ‘Verkeersguerilla‘. Click here for the original version in Dutch.



Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen. logo

Je reageert onder je account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Google photo

Je reageert onder je Google account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )


Je reageert onder je Twitter account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s