After surviving four days and 1000-odd kilometers in Morocco on a BMW R1200GS, I learned a few things. Some I expected. Don’t drink the water for instance. Others, like never leave your native land while an Icelandic volcano with a name nobody can spell is pumping 750 tons of ash into the atmosphere every second, not so much. Your flight will get canceled. You will spend at least a night or two sleeping on something other than the Sealy Posturepedic at home. That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re not, airport cots are softer than airport marble floors, but not by much.
Morocco, on the other hand, is more predictable than Eyjafjallajökull. Most of the time. Snap a picture of some interesting character at close range and they’ll probably want hit you up for a few dirham. Snap one without asking first and what you’re really asking for is trouble. Islam forbids depictions of living, breathing people or animals. Taking a candid snap of that picturesque stranger over there can earn you Ugly American status and one very dirty look, or worse. ‘May I take your picture?’ goes something like ‘Wash bgheetee n zhowreek?’ in Moroccan Arabic. It’s easier to ask permission than forgiveness.
Stop or even slow down almost anywhere on a big Gelände/Straße twin and Moroccan children will think you’re either an extraterrestrial, a rock star, or an extraterrestrial rock star. Stilo is French for pen. Most kids know itinerant extraterrestrial rock stars on big German motorcycles speak French and carry a whole load of pens. A little French goes a long way, but you can never carry too many pens.