Wednesday 5 January 2011


Hamu and Ali, our guide and driver, got out of the 4x4 and went seaching for scorpions in the stony terrain around Fort Bou-Jerif on the morning of our return to Agadir from our tent on the edge of the Sahara. There they are in the background, searching diligently for scorpions, while we tourists view and shoot the scenery. 
    They overturned many stones before they found a scorpion. Hamu said it was female and pregnant. The scorpion’s carapace was yellowy green; it looked semi-transparent and full of poisonous pus. It was three or four centimeters in length. 
    Having found one scorpion, Hamu quickly found several more. All of them were pregnant. He nudged the scorpions with his shoe, but each of them was intent on slithering back in under a stone. I was very careful to keep my sandalled feet away from them: their sting is fatal, unlike that of the black scorpions I encountered around a fireplace in an Italian farmhouse. 
    Our guide told us that the mammy scorpion carries her young on her back, and that they slowly eat her. By the time the mammy scorpion is dead and well eaten, the young ones are ready to face the world on their own. Sounds like a good metaphor for the relationship between some human mothers and their offspring. Like the sons who never leave home or get a job, for instance, or the children who spend ages in college living it up and repeating their exams year after year. Until one day they get a terrible shock. Help! There’s no one to make my breakfast any more. How do you boil an egg? Oh well, nothing for it but to head for the cafĂ©...

A scorpion uncovered.

Ali, our driver, and Hamu, our guide, by the 4x4. Ali is a brilliant driver, and we felt completely at ease with him. Hamu is an informative and friendly guide. They were both smokers, like ourselves, which made things even easier.

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