At the end of 2012 we toured Morocco by car on a two week loop through Marrakech, south over the Atlas to the Dades and Draa valleys, east to the dunes of the Erg Chebbi north again over the Atlas to Fes, then back via Rabat to Casablanca. Whether by tradition or from the tenor of the times, the country felt more conservative than I expected - mosques and cemeteries are closed to non-muslims, photos of the face are taboo, and a king still has power. It is not the third world, although there are still third world levels of tourist hustling. Development projects abound, American levels of poverty are not seen. Many tourists are Moroccan. The king is benevolent, the country is far from the hotbeds of the arab spring, Islam a source of unity rather than division. While the arab world is exploding in its confrontation with the 21st century, Morocco may have the time and conditions to make a more peaceful transition.