Ras al Khaima

The BP Mocamp outside Istanbul was a luxury caravanserai for the distance traveller in the 1960s.   Operated by the BP oil company, it was a new idea they had to provide US-style motor-camping facilities allied to service stations, the camping, I recall, being  provided at very modest cost.

The principal benefit to the writer, apart from clean showers, well-kept lawns and a good restaurant (in 1960s Turkey, that meant something), was the plate scene, as motors came and went from east to west.   When I first glimpsed this Mercedes, I was baffled; even when the driver explained, I was uncertain of the existence of this sheikhdom – but it remains one of my favoured shots today, and still unlike any other I have seen from R.A.K..   The European driver was returning to Europe after a tour of duty in the emirate and the acquisition of the Mercedes from the ‘royal’ fleet.

I was economic with film in early times and only one or two shots were ever wasted on one subject, unfortunately.    Then of course, we waited weeks to finish the film in  the camera, another two weeks while it went away to be processed in to prints or slides – and only then – too late – did one know whether the shot had succeeded!    Happy days now, with digital photography and immediate gratification…..

RAK 20 seen in Turkey in 1968.   Red/white indicates a 'royal household' issue.   Brumby archive

RAK 20 seen in Turkey in 1968.      Red/white indicated a ‘royal household’ issue.        Brumby archive

Cedric Sabine’s archive brings the genre forward 50 years, with a current RAK royal plate 120, carried on a Cadillac.

A 1994 visit found so-called royal household cars all over the place and as they are picturesque, they probably justify another airing.  Prince no. 35 stopping for a Coke and a diamond head-dress.

A 1994 visit found so-called royal household cars all over the place and as they are picturesque, they probably justify another airing. Prince no. 35 stopping here for a Coke and a diamond head-dress.

 

end.

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