Mohammed the one-legged taxi driver

26 Jul

Crikey, where to start?

I caught the train back from Fes to Marrakech, seven hours in a semi air-conditioned compartment. It was pretty luxurious compared to the bus on the way there and MUCH better than South-West trains!

Marrakech seems about ten degrees hotter than when I left it, but compared to the madness that is Fes, it is like a haven of tranquility, in fact I feel like I’m coming home! There was no room at the Essaouira Hotel so I slept out on the terrace again, which was pretty cool, once the Moroccan rap festival nearby had finished.

The next day we visited a few of the other sights of Marrakech, although I feel like I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see now. What I wasn’t quite prepared for though, was the heart-rending yet incredibly humourous sight of two beggers, obviously both a little bit ‘gone’, begging from each other! One on the floor, the other leaning over him, with a stick for support. The first man silently asked the second for money, who knocked his hand away before asking the first one for money, before the whole thing began again…

We were planning on getting a bus to the Ourika Valley today but the guide books seem to have got that wrong – no buses go up there so we hired a taxi in the end, after a bit of a row with a surly taxi driver who tried to convince us it would cost 450dh. We negotiated him down to 300dh in the end, but not before a hasty and worried discussion on the relative merits of hiring a one-legged taxi driver for the day. Yes – you heard me right… Anyway, Mohammed the one-legged taxi driver proved to be excellent company and pointed out with very good humour, all the sights we could see on the way up the valley. A good and chilled out day was spent in and around the river and waterfalls of Setti Fatma and we spun it out as long as possible before having to head off back to Marrakech. Mohammed didn’t mind either – he was playing cards and smoking with his mates. It turned out he lost his leg 14 years ago – a car ran into him when he was on his way to school and he had to have it amputated.

We piled back into Mohammeds taxi just as the rain started to fall in the valley. I never thought I’d be happy to feel rain, and it made it more poignant knowing that back in the UK the constant rain is becoming a major problem. The day got more and more surreal as it became clear that the cigarette Mohammed was smoking was of the more ‘herbal’ variety, and that he was slightly stoned! Not only that but he decided that we needed some English tunes on the way home so he put on his ‘mix tape’ that a friend made him, which turned out to be some kind of happy hardcore dance. We pulled into the centre of Marrakech with Mohammed really getting into ‘Zombie’ by the Cranberries. The fact that he was joyfully singing the chorus with his eyes shut, whilst he was driving was a slight worry, but we just chalked it down to the incredibly random day but immensely enjoyable day we just had!

What else can I tell you? Hmmmm, well some of you won’t be surprised to hear that I finally succumbed to the lure of the pizza last night, and it was GREAT! Others won’t be surprised to hear that I have mislaid a couple of items; 1) a pair of brown shoes, last seen four days ago at Cascades D’Ouzoude and rather more vitally 2) my passport. However, no need to worry, it turned up in a museum that I visted. In Fes…. Anyway it’s all under control, luckily the musuem curator found it and it’s being sent to the consulate in Marrakech. I had to get an ‘official’ stamp (on a scrap piece of paper) to say that I had entered the country legally despite not having a passport. Needless to say, it took five hours, four taxi journeys and three police stations before I finally got what I needed…. Isn’t bureaucracy great?

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2 Responses to “Mohammed the one-legged taxi driver”

  1. Vicki July 27, 2007 at 9:03 am #

    You don’t have the best luck with taxi drivers, do you?! Hope you get home safe with your passport. x (you need to get an rss or atom feed! then you won’t have to email everyone every time you make a post. Think I got mine from feedburner…)

  2. Chris July 27, 2007 at 11:05 am #

    can’t wait for the photos!the least Mohammed could have done was offer you a bit of the stuff he was smoking!Safe journey back- don’t foreget the postcard before you go home!c:

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