Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

We were down by the sea in Casablanca city the other day, driving along the Corniche on our way to a restaurant.  Suddenly, a policeman waved me down, our Spanish number plate being a red rag to a bull, and told me that his colleagues had just contacted him by radio.  Cue radio which he waved in my face.  Evidently I had jumped a red light, which I hadn’t as there are no traffic lights on this part of the Corniche, but arguing in these situations is useless.  He asked for my passport and driving licence, took them and put them in his pocket and gloatingly moved to the pavement.  I clambered out of the car and asked him how much the fine was for such a traffic violation, and he told me 500 dirhams.  I acted surprised and told him that in Spain the fine was only 200 dirhams, although in fact I have no idea what it is.  He smiled and said that in that case, as I spoke some Arabic and that made us friends he would take 200 dirhams and we wouldn’t bother with all the paperwork.  Knowing when I am well and truly over a barrel and relishing the fact that I had made a new chum, I paid up, not in public, of course, but with a bit of sleight of hand when he handed me back my documents.  I thereby saved a trip to his colleagues, a further hour or so of discussions, which would have cost me 400 dirhams as I would have had to slip them 200 dirhams as well, or at worst, have paid 500 dirhams for a bogus fine.  But now I have a new friend who waves to me every time I pass his post along the Corniche and who I am sure will protect me if any other policemen try to muscle in on his patch.