Got up early for breakfast and left for Fez. I’m on a shoestring budget for a long trip and I have been taking a bit of a financial battering travelling with Emma and John due to their willingness to pay the first price picked out of the stratosphere by the locals. The final straw came today when I left them to pay our faux guide, Mohamed, for our tour of Fez. Faux guides are men who take you on tours but who aren’t licensed to do so. The reason that Fez has tried to licence the guides is the too many tourists have been given dodgy tours of carpet shops and other establishments where the faux guide can earn a big money through commission. This is pretty much what we got except I refused to but anything since I am trying to watch my money and anything I buy I will have to carry for the next three months. This didn’t stop Mohamed trying though and in every shop we were subjected to a sales pitch from the shop owner and from Mohamed. At the end of the day Mohamed to Emma and John to the cash machine and they paid him the equivalent of a month’s Moroccan salary for showing us around a bunch of his mates’ shops. They were a really nice couple but if I go on like this I’ll have to head back to London in a month.
I have been brushing up on a little local lingo since the language seems to flip flop between Arabic, French and Spanish and almost never seems to settle on English.
There are two types of taxis in Morocco. The grand taxis are mostly old Mercedes from the 70s and early 80s and are used for intercity work. The petit taxis are all Fiat Unos and are used for work within the cities. The petit taxis in each city are all the same colour and each city has its own colour, which is kind of cool. The taxi drivers here are easily the maddest fuckers I have ever had the fortune to travel with. Worse than the tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok. Much worse. The root of the problem seems to be that they are paid solely on the distance they travel and the time they take is irrelevant. So the sooner the passenger leaves the vehicle the sooner they can endanger some other unlucky bastards life. To maximise their profits the following distances are measured in millimetres, the speed limit appears to be relative to much space you have to accelerate in and I don’t know what road lines are for but it sure as hell isn’t for indicating where you can and cannot drive. A good example of how mental these guys is occurred on our ride out to dinner this evening. Our driver sped across an intersection crowded with people honking at pregnant women and children forcing them to dive for the safety of the sidewalk. I have yet to see an old or even middle-aged taxi driver. Whether this is because their nerve breaks or if they just don’t last that long I do not know.
Later that night I took off to Meknes. On my own.