Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

Parking in Morocco is never a problem. There are underground car parks but nobody uses them as they are too expensive at five dirhams an hour.  There are also kerbside machines and  clamping, which although a nuisance is not expensive at forty dirhams and which also gives you the right to park for the rest of the day free after you have been unclamped.  Better to park on the street at two dirhams for as long as you stay.  The system works like this.  Each street or part of a street is the responsibility of a guardian who looks after your car and makes sure it is not burgled or scratched.  They usually wear some kind of coloured jerkin and a baseball cap have a token hanging around their necks.  Whether they are officially registered or not I am not sure but I suspect they are.  My first time in Rabat I didn’t know this and thought I was being hassled when someone demanded money for parking on the street.  So I didn’t pay and my car was keyed.  I found out from the hotel staff the way the system worked and paid the guardian (who probably keyed my car in the first place) a hundred dirhams for a week which secured myself a place on the street at any hour of the day or night and his undying love.  If you are a foreigner, such as I obviously am, the guardians sometimes have a small booklet of tickets which they produce when you arrive and which state that you have to pay five dirhams in advance.  I have no idea whether this is kosher or not, but I have overcome it by having a few phrases in Arabic ready which let the prospective footpad know that I’m not a tourist and that I live in whichever town I happen to be in.  Of course, you need to weigh this against the possibility that you may get keyed if you don’t pay, so a smile and a knowing wink are useful.  Normally the guardian will accept this with good grace and smile and accept the two dirhams offered, but some don’t, so trust your judgement.  You can also get your car washed kerbside for twenty dirhams by the same guardians, sometime without being asked and being faced with a fait accompli.  This once happened to me twice in one morning, so either learn to argue in Arabic or French or carry plenty of change in your pocket.