The Good Samaritan

The next morning, as we thought things couldn’t get worse we had to put on our wet riding gear and head down to Marrakech. But as we left our parking spot Louise complained about a grinding noise from her back brakes. We checked and the brake pads, (which we had checked before departure) were completely worn… There was no way we would ride to Marrakech like that, but where to find a bike mechanic who knows about anything bigger than a moped, in Casa, at 8am? With no real plan we rode around looking for a garage but gave up pretty quickly.

20121103-212835.jpgWe stopped and looked at each other in desperation when our guardian angel Rachid appeared out of nowhere. In his late 50s with a shy smile and bad French, Rachid asked if he could help. We explained the problem and he told us “let me get my moped, follow me; whatever happens i’ll stay with you until we get this sorted”. In about 20min we were sitting at a cafe across the street from a local mechanic, waiting for it to open. When they told us they were out of croissant Rachid jumped on his moped to go find us some; how kind is that!? Once the brake pads were replaced with shiny new ones, Rachid even showed us the way out of Casa and put us on the road to Marrakech. The only thing he ever asked from us was would we come stay and eat at his house. I wish I could thank him more than I did. I hope he understood how grateful we were for his help and his time. He took it upon himself to help lost westerners on big bikes with a problem to solve. He stuck with us for 3 hours and was happy that he could help. Thanks Rachid!

We rode the whole day in a thunderstorm with very strong side winds which forced us to avoid the highway and stick to the smaller, slower roads. We saw next to nothing of the changing landscape as we were 100% focused on the riding but we did notice how everything in our peripheral vision became a warm shade of red, the colour of Marrakech.

We spent 36hours in the city and frankly, for both of us it was enough. We thoroughly appreciated the peace and quiet of Hotel Le Toulousain but were underwhelmed by how dirty the medina was and how aggressive the touts were. We also spent as little time as necessary on Jema el Fna with its awful shows of monkeys on tight leashes being forced on tourists’ shoulders for money and street sellers looking for the most vulnerable bus-tour/sandal-and-sock-wearing victim. I may sound harsh about Marrakech and I’m sure that there’s is much more to it but one needs to dig deep to find authenticity and disinterested kindness. We did have a wonderful dinner in a beautiful haven of a restaurant where we met a friend who happened to be in town.

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