23 July, 2006

The Case of the Missing Window Handles

Part 1 Colors of Morocco

According to the wildly informative Lonely Planet Guide to Morocco, taxi drivers remove the window handles from their cabs "because it is believed in Morocco that the wind makes you sick."

Unfortunately, as many tourists can attest too, the ever-present hot sun makes the insides of taxicabs pretty stuffy and quite an uncomfortable ride, especially on long distances like the 30km or so from Casablanca airport to downtown. Usually I ask the drivers, "How do I roll down the window?", at the same time making hand signals showing how unbearably hot it was - most instances this request is met by an amused smile, shrugging of shoulders, and the reply, "Sorry, we don't have the window handle". In short, grin and bear it.

One time though, having made such request, the driver opened up the glove compartment, brought out the missing window handle, and passed it to me. I then inserted the handle into the slot and rolled down the window, savoring the welcome respite from the stuffiness inside the taxicab. Afterwards I passed it back onto his outstretched, waiting hand. We both burst out simultaneously in knowing laughter.

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