Taxi ride from hell!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

John and Kim very kindly drove us from Merzouga to Erfoud and dropped us at the taxi lot so we could avoid one more taxi ride that day. From there we secured two seats in a taxi to Er-Rachidia, which would be the next best hub to send us on our way to Fes. Already having a sore backside from riding camels and the seating conditions in a cramped taxi, we faffed around in Er-Rachidia for an hour trying to get a ride to Fes. The best they could do was to Azrou, at least in the right direction, so we departed.

This is where things took a turn for the worse.

Our driver periodically "snapped". He went from placid, normal driving to rampant, aggressive, simply life threatening driving. On the windiest section he was going around blind corners with his hand on the horn (I figure on the odd chance an oncoming car would get out of the way).

Despite strict speed control in Morocco, he was exceeding speeds of 130 in this rattling overcrowded Mercedes with no seat belts. Progressively each passenger in the car became more and more uncomfortable, until one downhill section he performed a high speed passing maneuver on a sharp blind corner. Everyone simultaneously erupted in frustration at the driver.

He simply laughed and kept driving at speed.

We had been keeping a close eye on distance markers and trying to calculate how much longer we were going to be in this god-forsaken death-taxi.

Again, our driver "snapped" into race mode. Another vehicle was trying to overtake us, and we were hurtling towards a sharp corner with about 10 rightward pointing chevron signs. Our driver was playing a game of chicken with this other vehicle by accelerating towards this corner to see who would back down first. Our driver won, but the result meant taking this corner at 130km/h. This again caused everyone in the car to errupt into desperate action. With her nerves frayed to the very end, Dani burst into tears, I was furious and joined in the verbal frenzy of anger with several choice swear words.

He was still laughing. I said "Wheres the !@#%ing joke? You made my girlfriend cry. SLOW DOWN!" This must have resonated with him, because he actually improved his driving. Later via translation from another passenger, he said he'd be driving taxi's since 1976 and including two years in Iraq. I wondered how many tourists he'd given horrible experiences too. I told him we'd never been so scared in our lives.

I couldn't actually conceive how someone could drive like that for four hours and NOT crash. We left that shitty Mercedes, shaken and truly thankful that we were still alive.

We were reluctant to get in another vehicle, but we had still not reached our destination of Fes. Fortunately this time the driver drove quite appropriately (by Moroccan standards anyway) and we finally arrived in Fes around 6pm, some lifetime after we left the desert, riding camels that morning.


Blogger Joanna said...

Mmmm,truly a horror story and not to be repeated.
Remind me not to annoy you, ever!

8:14 AM, May 13, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home