Monday, February 27, 2011
This year, with amount of traffic now on the roads on the west bank (busses, huge trucks, mini vans, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, push carts, donkey carts, pedestrians, and the occasional water buffalo) Diana and Catharine decided to give up the pleasures of driving the venerable Chicago House Land Rover – to say nothing of its challanges (it seems that someone in its past did not know how to double clutch, so second gear, or the lack thereof, is particularly entertaining).We decided it was time to hire a driver and we have been fortunate to gain the services of Mohammed Mustafa Mahmoud Soliman as chauffer and much more. Mohammed’s older brother has been a driver for Chicago House for many years, and they were both taught to drive by their father, who led safari tours into the Western Desert. Mohammed is the youngest of six children and grew up in the village of Gezirat el-Bairat, which is near the ferry landing in an area that used to be an island long ago, but is now part of the west bank.
Mohammed and the Land Rover
Although he hated the cantankerous old Land Rover at first, Mohammed quickly became adept at piloting it through the heavily used main roads, and the narrow, twisty, crowded streets of the West bank villages that get us to the site. He now dreams of finding a Land Rover and restoring it as his own car. He is always ready with a clever joke or English/Arabic pun and makes the trip to and from work an amusing and enjoyable ride.