Scarcity Principle at Rabat Bus Station

Four fights started between 8:05 and 8:43 this morning (June 20) at the main bus station of Rabat/ Morocco. Three of them were more serious and required the assistance of nearby Police. I never imagined a man in a djellaba could be so aggressive with his legs 🙂

The bus station is an agglomeration of small boots approx. 1.5m/ 2.5m. They’re numbered 1 to 15 and are circling the lobby, each belonging to a bus company. The image of a fighting ring is not off, since most of the companies have ushers that sit in the middle and at the five entrances, screaming their company’s destinations. As soon as you make eye contact or give them a hint that you’re interested in their services, they guide you to the small, one man boot, where tickets are sold.

Since some companies have coinciding destinations, you can understand why people ushering travelers can get over excited over the scarce resources – travelers – that need to be shared with competition.

Quick read about scarcity on Wikipedia and on


A Mother’s Interview

My friend’s grandmother wore a niqab and so it was hard for men to know whether she was married or not. She used to to walk along the streets of Rabat not displaying any obvious sign of interest for the curious men. Only one man observed that the hood of her garment was carefully folded inside out. It cought his interest and, as he returned home, the man confessed to his mother.

Because of the clothing covering her entire body, leaving uncovered just her eyes, the man wasn’t sure whether she was married or not, so it rested on the shoulders of his mother to continue the investigation. She started following the girl as a modern day private investigator. She would follow her to the hamam to spy on her beauty, and she would ask her various incognito favors, to find out how helpful she was. At one point, she ‘accidentally’ spilled a bit of clean water on her clothes, to check on her reactions – would she respond with kindness?

When all information was collected, the boy’s mother went to see the mother of the girl, and introduce herself and her son.

This story reminded me of a friend that had applied for a prestigious diplomacy programme in the UK. She had sent her application and, as the deadline of an official response came, she received a call from the university. Someone made a mistake and lost one of the papers she had sent. The application was now incomplete because of this mistake, nevertheless she would have to apply again. Although usually outspoken, M remained calm and asked for details. She was obviously upset, but she handled it elegantly. After a few minutes into the conversation, the voice that brought the bad news told her thanks, she just had her last interview, and she passed.