The Video Game of the Morroccan Streets

A typical street in Marrakesh: anything with wheels, feet or crutch can occupy the unmarked roads.


by Sarah

Driving in the US is so straight edge.  I spent the last week of my travels in Marrakesh, where streets are overrun with motorbikes, donkeys, fruit carts and horse drawn carriages.  They are also notably absent of street lanes and mandatory stop lights (stop lights DO exist but seem optional so long as you look both ways and proceed with caution).  My friend Nish and I decided to join in the cirucs and rent a motor bike to get us out of town to nearby waterfalls.  Six kilometers outside of the city, the motor bike broke down.  The repair shop — that happened to be 10 meters away from where we stalled — informed us we had an unfixable dead battery.  Naturally, we had come to expect such fortune after our van died on the way to the Sahara the day before.   In lieu of a better idea, we walked the bike back the six kilometers and swapped it for good ‘ol fashioned bicycles and resigned ourselves to seeing local parks instead of lush waterfalls.

Two of the four vehicles we used for transportation around Marrakesh broke down. As we pushed our 50 pound motorbike along the "highway" with a new Morroccan friend, we appreciated the fact that such an experience would be impossible in the law abiding USA.

On the heirarchy of the roads we were near the bottom and navigating the traffic flow just enough to reach our destination AND stay alive was thrilling!  I learned to anticipate cars jutting out of parking spots, donkeys racing by with fruit carts swerving behind them and men on nearby scooters pulling up next to me and cheering or patting me on the back for being the only white woman they’ve ever seen on a bike in Marrakesh.  The video game of navigation quickly became a part of me.  I quickly made my way across four lanes of traffic and eased into the crowded roundabouts just like the locals (though I think they were giving the white girl a little extra space for good measure).

Nish lines up and prepares to push off into the roundabout with hundreds of other vehicles vying for road space.

I actually felt safer riding a bike in Marrakesh than I would on a bike in New York, just because the locals were more forgiving of mistakes than a cab driver would be in the Big Apple.  Yesterday when I hopped in my steel Jetta and put on a seat belt, I felt my options were restricted.  I had only one carless lane ahead and a stop sign at the end of the street that I had to obey.   And instead of horses grunting in my ear as I rolled along I had nothing but Pink energetically blaring through every radio station telling me to “raise my glass”.   I guess being back in the states will take some readjusting.  I’ll have to come up with new ways to add excitement to every day.  I don’t think adding extra rum to the eggnog counts.


About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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One Response to The Video Game of the Morroccan Streets

  1. Very interesting info, i’m waiting for more !!! Keep updating your website and you will have a lot o readers

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