Now the thing about transportation in morocco is that all that matters is if you have it: safety, liability, pollution, cleanliness, none of these things matter when confronted with the twin choices of driving or walking under the beating sun. In a country where the temperature routinely breaks 100, you really don't want to be walking under the hot southern sun (tafusht) so maybe you put yourself into circumstances that back in the states wouldn't be your first choice - or that wouldn't have even made your top 100 choices. But in Morocco, they really are your only choice. Especially when you are with your host family and they see nothing wrong with your transportation option - no matter how "interesting" it may seem to you.
So I was standing by the wall to nowhere on monday, more about this wall to come later, waiting for the noon bus from Fez - sitting on a nice little pile of rocks basking in the shade of the wall to nowhere. Now, if I was travelling in to souk on my own I would have waited for the bus, but with my host mom and host brother - all bets are off. It was at this point that Said and his late eighties vintage Renault (the car of the Moroccan People) bounced his way down the road from Zeida and into my life. I say bounced because rather than, as most cars do, driving down the middle of the road his rust colored chariot careened from side to side - turning towards the center only when Said noticed the change in the grade between the asphalt road base and the volcanic fields that surround the road.
Suffice it to say at this point while I was entertained, I was not expecting to enter Mr. Saids wild ride, but after a y'alla (come here) from my host mom I piled into the car with the six other intrepid souls. Bouncing aside, the car ride was not unlike any of the other seven person taxi rides i've taken over the last four months. The ride got interesting though as we went down one hill and started to ascend the next hill, and Saids car being a stick shift he shifted - and the shifter snapped in two. This is the point at which people would get concerned in the United States, but in Morocco - one doesn't bat an eyelash - rather one just sits back, smiles and laugh as the car comes to a natural stop at the crest of the next hill.
Now how is a situation like this solved in two minutes or less, without spending even a single dirham? Why with a steel rod strategically discarded at the same point we slid to a stop at of course! Said, using only a large rock, delicately pounded the steel rod into the shifter case - and away we bounced down the road towards Zaida, souk and safety. As a postscript after arriving in Zeida we each paid our five dirhams for the ride and Said turned right around and bounced into the sunset to pick up another load of intrepid travelers to ride in his wild ride.
5 years ago