When there is a problem over here, everybody gets involved to solve it. All you need to do is call somebody and things happen – a very different culture but actually very nice and reassuring too. I think its the fact that having a problem of some sort is inevitable so we have all been there.
This week, I got one of those calls. Our good friends Ulli and Lena have a camper van which they have pretty much travelled everywhere in Africa in. Despite this it is in good shape and pretty reliable. We were only discussing clutch issues the other day, and sure enough, the clutch went on the way back from Agadir on Wednesday afternoon.
Apparently, the gear stick came off outside the supermarket, which was fixed with tape and string, but the clutch finally failed about 5km south of Aourir (Ulli is our neighbour on the beach), but despite all efforts to limp home, it failed on the roadside of the main N1 highway.
Ulli called just to ask me to let Lena know and try and find somebody with a car to tow them, but with a Pajero and a good tow rope on-board, how could I not help? As a former Land Rover owner, I know all about towing as I have been both tower and towee…so an essential part of my on-board repair kit is a good towrope.
Now Wednesdays are a bit of a special day in Aourir – the local Souk (Berber market) takes up the whole of the entrance to the beach area. Getting in and out is a bit of a challenge to say the least. Moroccan drivers do not give way and they all think they can get through the smallest gaps, so when you try to drive through the market, you have people, cars and small handcarts to cope with – oh and motorbikes too of course.
Generally, we go off piste and use a small side track around the beach, so getting out was easy. Getting back in was going to be a challenge, we could not use the beach road for sure so going through the souk was the only option available to us.
Anyway, I set off to find the guys, and sure enough they were parked up on the highway as described. I had to go passed them, through the police checkpoint, round the roundabout and back on the highway. This road is speed restricted but it is still a place you do not want to breakdown. After a few minutes, we hooked up the tow rope and slowly made our way down to Aourir.
As you come into the village, there is normally a police checkpoint, but luckily today this was not here, so we drove slowly round the roundabout and onto the souk road. As expected, it’s packed with people, cars and handcarts. Tooting does not good and people just ignore you anyway, so slowly we inched our way in.
We met a few cars coming out, but for some reason we seemed to be able just to keep going, creeping forward without stopping. At the most critical point, a motorbike did try and go between us, saw the towrope at the last minute and thought better of it – now that would have been funny.
The crisis point would be where the road turns right and down the hill to the beach, so we braced ourselves to block the road and not give way, but as we rounded the corner, the only traffic was a large handcart right in the middle of the road going really slow. We tooted but no change, so just had to follow at 1 mph until he decided to turn off the road.
All our fears of blocking the Souk dissolved and we were nearly home. Ulli is a really lucky guy it seems – no drama at all! We parked up, cracked open a beer to celebrate the end of that adventure.
The next day, a flatbed arrived to take the VW Camper away for the clutch to be fixed and now the truck is ready for the long drive back to Germany in May.