OK kiddos strap yourself in for the first installment on this trip of @#%@#$ I got on the wrong train/bus/taxi/plane/boat… this time it was indeed a train.
But again, I like to start in the middle of my story. Let’s back (beep beep beep) that truck up and start in Marrakech. After my light crepe breakfast it was time to hit the tracks and head back to Casablanca as that was where my flight to Tel Aviv left at 7:00pm. My plan, hit Rick’s Cafe and have a long leisurely late lunch and then cruise out to the airport. HA!
Best laid plans as they say. So I get into the taxi to go to the train station in Marrakech and I tell the cat the airport.. I don’t realize it until we’ve pulled away from the curb and then I have to redirect him and he’s less than pleased. Whatever I’m just dumb, deal with it.
Then I’m at the train station, everything runs like clockwork, get an easy ticket, find a place to have a coffee next to the chain smoking Chinese guy, and generally chill and read until my train arrives. Ride the train to Casablanca here things get fun.
I get off and figure I am only a 15 minute taxi ride from Rick’s so I snag one of the taxi drivers and tell him that’s where I want to go. Well, as so many of these experiences go, there appears guy #2.. the pressure man… Why don’t you do a tour with him, let him take you to the airport, he’ll wait.. it’s only xxxxx pick your outrageous amount. No no no.. I’ll just go to Rick’s and figure it out from there.. well, you can’t do that Rick’s is closed.. yeah right.. no no no, go on tour instead Rick’s is closed. Opens again at 6:30.
You know what the guy wasn’t hustling me. Rick’s WAS closed and I ended up picking up the driver for the two hours I had for $22 USD. He took me to a really nice restaurant on the water just down the beach from where my hotel was and I had a leisurely lunch there. All in all I probably enjoyed that more than I would have Ricks.
Now the fun really picks up! Again I’m supposed to go to one train station they take me to another but I know this one so I’m OK with it. I get my ticket and start waiting. at 5:15 the train comes I get on. The conductor comes, doesn’t speak any English and just gives me this really disappointed “son, you’ve screwed the pooch” look… DAMN I did it again.
So he tells me to get off at the next train station (with hand gestures) and take the train back one stop. So I do. Turns out this little stop is a little like the train station from Green Acres. Two bumpkins who mean super well and are friendly as hell but frankly don’t have a lot of imagination on solving problems. It’s 5:30, my flight is at 7:00 and I’ve got a 30 minute drive/ride to the airport.. ouch, this is gonna be close!
Finally I communicate with these guys that I cannot wait of the next train at 6:15 as it’s just too late and I’ll miss my flight. So we walk out into the tumbleweed deserted parking lot and he gestures waaaaaaaayyyyy off in the distance to a traffic circle.. walk there get taxi. OY, this is not going to work.
As I start walking down the street a little red (citroen) taxi comes by. I flag him down but he says he’s off for the day but I must look really panicked and pathetic as he tells me to hop in the front.. well I have my backpack on and my day pack too and I just don’t fit and traffic is honkin’ as we block the road.. I finally jam my ass into the front tiny seat and he takes off.. I think .. thank God he’s having mercy on me and taking me to the airport.
WRONG! He drives around the corner to a couple of high rises and drops me off and says.. get taxi here. @#%@!#%#$^Y&!!!!! Now panick starts to creep its ugly tendrils into my sides and the sweat starts to come. For those of you that know me well .. I SWEAT A LOT. Well, I’m dripping sweat, flagging down everything that looks remotely like a taxi and getting nobody that speaks English and even less that want to take me to the airport.
Finally, I get one minivan full of passengers and he agrees to come back and pick me up.. I have not idea how long he as going to be.. if you ever read this buddy, thanks for the effort but I just HAD to go I couldn’t wait for you to come back.
Why.. well because I get this super cool looking dude who looks like a cross between fat Elvis and my hardware guy in Ann Arbor. He doesn’t speak English but we work out a price of $30USD by writing in the dirt on the back of his car.. really .. REALLY.. Anyway, I pop my stuff in the back seat and he insists I ride in the front and when we figure out how to communicate that my flight is in 80 minutes I get that “you screwed the pooch” look again.
Well, Shafik is his name, starts hammering down the highway and he’s FaceTime’ing with his friend while doing it as we roll past this big Ole Bentley. Well I don’t think anything of it until 5 minutes later the Bentley comes rolling up the side of us and rolls down the window and starts yelling at us. Crap I’m going to get into a road rage accident in Morocco.
Turns out the cat was some UFC fighter on ‘roids who thought we were taking video of him on the freeway and he was pissed.
Finally the airport.. I get there, my receipt says Terminal 1 big as Christmas so I run up to Terminal 1. Nope.. sorry.. it’s Terminal 2. Sarah, this was my WOD for the day as I was strapped into my 30lb backpack and running the whole way just sweating buckets. Finally I get to terminal two, ask some random airport employee which desk (unlabled) is for AirMalta. #5… WRONG.. nobody home. So I ask at desk 8 and I finally hit the jackpot.. however it’s 6:30 and my flights at 6:55.. I think I’m sleeping on the floor.
Well end of the story goes happy, the flight was late and I made it and had an exit row all to myself on the plane to stretch out and try and sleep.
So what’s the moral of the story
5 Simple Rules for Getting Out of a Travel Jam
- Try not to panick. It will happen eventually but try not to let it control you
- Be SUPER friendly. The nicer you are too the people you ask for help the better results you get.. sounds simple but not when you’re in a jam and just want to be upset.
- Look Pathetic. The more distraught you look, the more help you’re likely to get. Believe it or not people are generally good the world over.
- Don’t solely rely on the help of strangers. Use your head and evaluate the help that is being offered. Well meaning as it is its often wrong and you can get deeper into a hole.
- Throw Money At It. If you have the means, some cash flying around always gets the attention and can break loose the help you need.
Well folks, it’s time for the Holy Land. I’m sitting in Tel Aviv right now waiting for my tour. I hope to have more for you later on that.