Posted by Thomas Crampton
In reporting stories in Casablanca this week I have faced a unique problem due to Moroccan mobile phone habits.
More than any other country I have ever visited, Moroccans used caller ID.
It seems to be part of the phone answering process to closely look at the number of the person calling before deciding whether or not to answer. Often they will let it ring if they can't figure out whose number it is. In most places people look at caller ID and then answer.
From my point of view the result has been that my money-saving tactic of using a local pre-paid card does not work.
Three times now (I am a slow learner) people whom I was supposed to meet for an interview simply did not answer their phone until I called using my French mobile phone on costly roaming. It was a fairly good cross section of society: One was a politician, the other a university academic and the other a musician.
Nobody here has so far been able to explain why this habit exists here. I get a similar reaction when I ask about it here: People in Morocco just presume that everyone uses phones in the same way.
(I have previously reported on other national characteristics of mobile phone usage, including the reluctance of Spanish to use voicemail, the reluctance of English to speak on the phone in places where their conversation can be heard and the way in which the French turn off their phones during meals.)
Any other national habits to add to this collection?