Road to Ouarzazate
The bus trip to the south was lovely. It arrived on time. I had an assigned seat and luckily it was the right at the front of the bus. Front row seats for the entire drive. Perfect.
It was all going so well until it got dark. Without the benefit of the passing scenery and oddly familiar landmarks it turned into quite a wild ride. These roads are twisty. I mean REALLY twisty. So we were executing a hairpin turn with a double decker cattle truck coming the other way barely squeaking by. I mean barely. There is a massive drop on one side. Deeper than any I have experienced before. But they have guard rails so that’s comforting.
We were passing. People were passing us. There were no lights. It’s dark like the top of Rogers Pass. It’s winding like the Amalfi Coast or Croatia. And the nice Berber lady beside me who was quiet the whole way when it was light out couldn’t keep quiet. The absolute second the headlights go on she becomes Chatty McNewsie pants. Talking to who? Yah the driver! So now the windows are fogging up, we are driving over roads that aren’t actually roads because this is the section that was washed out in the floods of ’15, he is driving, passing, being passed, turning this giant bus on crazy turns, shifting gears and having a bloody conversation! Jesus. I can’t decide if I should ram her in the side with my elbow or type “please don’t distract the driver” into Google translate and then play it to her at full volume.
So anyway. I had my headphones on because I have found its really fun inside my head to listen to Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip when I’m driving around foreign lands. Visions of night drives in Banff from long ago. That time we took Craig to Bobcaygeon so he could listen to “Bobcaygeon” in Bobcaygeon. The time we were driving around Maui with John and Jen in the back of a Jeep with the Hip blasting.
Side note: I just glanced up from my phone to see what was slowing us down and it was a herd of about 30 little sheep with some jelaba’d men just walking in the other lane.
The protocol when you are a giant tour bus passing a giant transport truck on a dark road with no lights on a twisty mountain road with curves coming up is to go into the oncoming lane, honk a few times and flash your lights so he knows to slow (slightly) and to watch out for you. At one point we got so close to the truck next to us that my hand went up (mom arm?) and the lady beside me? Yup! Her arm went up too! Apparently together we were going to super-power push off that truck from inside that bus and save us all.
Every once in awhile there is a roadside sign that is simply an exclamation mark. Me to myself, “I KNOW right?” Exclamation indeed. The international sign for “Holy Shit.”
Then we pass a van on the side of the road, three men standing behind it. One on the phone. What? What what? In the middle of nowhere. And it’s not uncommon so it’s not like an out of gas situation. It’s a frequent sight. I have no frame of reference for this behavior. None. I later asked my friend what this is about and he said that they just like to stand near the road. More light. I think he made that up. But honestly it is impossible to count the number of men standing by the side of the road. In the dark. Total darkness. Just standing.
Then my phone rings. “Where are you?” “Well above ground so that’s something. I have no idea. It’s dark.” “Is it still twisty and downhill or is it flat?” Oddly this conversation is not unusual because I have had it with Carolyn 10,000 times. “I just came down the long hill and curved to the left” (20 people from the Bow Valley just pictured the bottom of Scott Lake hill in their mind.)
So ok. I am going to assume that if I posted this that I made it to Ouarzazate alive. If this is posted posthumously at least I went out on a laugh. There’s that.
Oh. That double decker cow truck I mentioned in passing earlier? I need a lot more information on that. Like how they get them up to the top deck. And why doesn’t it tip over? It’s a relatively small operation (think large UHaul vs big transport.) And there are a ton of them. Where are they going with these cows?
They are really tall. It defies logic!
P.S. I made it to Ouarzazate. Alive. It may be awhile before I take another bus through the mountains in the dark. Just sayin’.