As predicted, there was a dearth of interesting cars in North Africa – although Malcolm would have been in Renault 4 heaven..
Of course second only to the Aston Martin, one of my favourite cars is the hunble Land Rover – and the desert is just the place for those.
We had a fascinating trip over the high Atlas to the desert beyond – slept in a Tuareg tent, and even met a Tuareg with a PhD!
In the Middle East politics rules everyone’s lives, and to a certain extent it is very similar in this part of North Africa -there are tensions between Morocco and Algeria over the siting of Al-Quaida training camps in the southern desert. There are tensions with the Western Saharan separatists. The Moroccans claim the separatists are supported by a number of communist regimes who want to see the Western Sahara as an independent state – carefully omitting to mention that they annexed the country back in 1975 with the help of guess who – yup, the good ol’ USA..
The majority group in Morocco are the native Berbers, but the King and many in power are Arabs – so there is a certain amount of racial tension too.
We arrived just after the government elections, resulting in five women being elected and one of these with a ministerial post. An amazing change in political attitudes for this part of the world. The Moroccan’s have 36 different political parties, but only 28 engage in the elections. The prime minister is drawn from the majority party – but the parliament is one very large coalition. We were at the Royal Palace in Rabat when King Mohammed IV was meeting his new PM Abbas El Fassi for the the first time.
Of course politics is what I’m involved in now – but years ago I worked in TV and the film business – so I just love visiting famous movie locations – Ait Ben Haddou was where they filmed a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark
Now back to putting the brakes back on the Aston….