Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thomas has left the building

Today was a day of hurry up and wait. Thomas was relieved of all her accessories as planned, and we anxiously awaited the arrival of Dakhla's master mechanics to remedy Thomas's ailments. 10 am came and went, as did 11 and eventually noon. Discouraged that our optimistic east coast concept of time was incompatible with local custom, the Ottoman Empire was phoned, and he arrived on the scene only to inform us that there would be no tow truck available until 3pm. Foiled again by the Moroccan lunch, we attempted to embrace the rest in the middle of the day, and ourselves went for sustenance. When in Rome....

With nothing to do but sit and wait and eat, we did just that, and attempted to adapt to local tradition. There was much deliberation in typical Penitent Yank style about a lot of dfferent scenarios. Anxiety about timing, and the need to meet other, meetings, dropping off the bikes monopolized the conversation, and the optimism of last night's heartfelt team decision was replaced by more practical matters: can we make it to Dakar or Banjul in 6 days? The math was inescapable: 3 days of mechanical work + 6 days of driving = 0 wiggle room in the itinerary. Armed with a fistful of logic, and in line with our adjusted perception of time, we returned at 3:30, figuring that we perhaps might have mastered Moroccan time. Alas, we were wrong again, and our arrival met with Utman apparently trying to adapt to our concept of time, and we both just threw our arms up in disbelief.

With the Empire waiting, there was harried discussion about when it would be done, if it could be done, and that if it wasn't ready, we would be hitching the first camel out of town. i'd prefer an ATV myself, and after eating camel kebabs for dinner this evening (tastes like beef) I would be leery that my local ride would know I dined on his second cousing twice removed. New reassurances were given, and we got 3 down to 2.5 days, and we plan to depart from our new home away from home, Dakhla, first thing Sunday morning. In the meantime, evacuation planes by plane, train, automobile, ATV, camel, slow boat, and long bus ride are being hatched, Funy thing though, Kayak wouldn't load for me to check when and how this would occur, and refrains of Hotel California echoed through my mind. But Thomas has left the building, and we sit with fingers crossed in a semi-leap of faith that Utman's mecanical wizardry will get us and Thomas to Banjul as we planned.

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