Prior to moving from Morocco to South Africa, we had never experienced any problems or difficulties while traveling between countries, nor ever been close to missing our plane. Now we have. This trip pretty much takes the cake on bad experiences that could possibly happen to someone on a trip, and they just seemed to get worse as the hours ticked by. We apologize for the lack of pictures, as pulling out our camera was not the first thing on our minds, but we hope you’ll stick around with us and be amazed at how we actually made it to our final destination or at least have a good laugh. Enjoy!
We began our morning by physically getting out of bed at 5am, but my morning started much, much earlier than that. Carter awoke around 10pm and was inconsolable. He doesn’t sleep very well in bed with us because he moves around a lot, so I made the couch into a bed for Carter and I with the hopes of at least giving Scott a decent night of sleep. Carter and I slept on the couch just fine until about 2am. Then I was up every subsequent hour for 15-20 minutes because Carter was pushing me off the couch and/or I was freezing because Carter kept kicking the blanket off of me. Needless to say, I was actually a bit relieved when the alarm went off at 5am because I could stop pretending to sleep and get up and be productive.
After waking up and finalizing our packing, feeding Carter breakfast, and cleaning up our apartment, we headed out the door right on schedule. We stood on the curb for about 2 minutes and hailed down the first taxi we saw. The day prior we had asked our building manager about prices, and he said (with a glint in his eye, no doubt) that a taxi that early in the morning would cost 100MAD (about $10 USD) though he was certain he could get the price down to 70MAD (about $7 USD) if we would have him call a taxi for us. We knew what trick he was trying to pull though so we kindly opted out of his offer and decided to get a taxi on our own (a taxi from our apartment to the train station would only cost a local 20MAD, or $2 USD). After hailing down the taxi and asking him what he’d charge us (50MAD, or $5 USD) we threw our bags in the trunk and climbed in. We didn’t bother haggling because we wanted to make sure we got to the train station with plenty of time before our train left.
We get to the train station only to find that the McDonald’s (mine and Scott’s breakfast plan) was closed. We were distraught, and hungry, so we sat at the only cafe that was open that early and settled on sharing a hot chocolate. Side note: We had divvied out our cash perfectly so we could buy our final train tickets to the airport and leave the country with just a few dirham for keepsakes, so we had to be very careful about our purchases. As we were waiting for our hot chocolate, Scott checked his pocket for the phone to check the time. The phone wasn’t there. After looking EVERYWHERE and retracing our steps we admitted defeat and knew that our phone had to be in the taxi.
We didn’t know what to do. Scott had a little bit of a meltdown so I took initiative and asked the security guard that we passed on our way into the train station if he knew any way to get our phone back. He didn’t speak English. I used my professional charades skills to communicate with him and he caught on quickly, continuing the conversation with his own hand signals and pointing. He ended up pulling out his phone with the intention of calling our phone to see if the taxi driver might answer it. I ran to Scott asking for the phone number, but it was written down in a document online and there was no WIFI available to access.
I felt like we had made so much progress in enlisting the help of the security guard that I couldn’t let him down by telling him that we don’t even know our own number. So, I waved down the waiter at the cafe and asked him if they had WIFI we could use. He seemed a little wary, but agreed to give us the password and we were able to get our phone number! Scott scribbled it on a napkin and I ran back to the security guard who still had his phone in hand. He dialed the number, put it on speaker, and we waited. And waited. It rang for what felt like forever and then went to voicemail. I thought that was it and the security guard would just shrug and say sorry, but he immediately dialed again! We waited some more as only the dial tone was heard through the speaker, and then… the taxi driver answered! MIRACLE!
The taxi driver and the security guard spoke arabic to each other for a few minutes while I waited intently on what the next step would be. Was the taxi driver close? Would he even be willing to drive all the way back to the train station? The security guard hung up the phone and signaled to me that the taxi would be coming back and I needed to be waiting outside for him. I ran back to Scott beaming, “HE ANSWERED! HE ANSWERED!” Scott almost didn’t believe me. He actually might have shed a tear or two. I grabbed a few dollars worth of dirham to pay the taxi driver for coming back for me and ran to wait outside for his return.
I waited outside for over 10 minutes for the taxi to come back. As he pulled up to the curb, he opened the door and verified I was the right person, pointed accusingly at me and reprimanded me in arabic, I slipped him some cash as he handed me the phone, and I ran back to the Scott. Our train was leaving in a matter of minutes.
Scott and I strapped all of our gear to ourselves and ran to the train. The train had private cabin seating and we were really hoping we could get one to ourselves since it was a 3 and a half hour train ride. We walked through 3 train cars looking for an open cabin and we were losing hope. Scott commented about how the train was going to start moving any second so we should really just sit anywhere, but I was determined to find our own cabin. We passed a room that was dark so we thought it was occupied, but the door was open so it caught my eye. I took a couple steps back to inspect the cabin and found that it was empty! I called to Scott who had already almost made it to the end of the train and we sat down right as the we started moving.
Our own private cabin! Carter was eager to get down and run around.
Victory photo after acquiring the phone!
It wasn’t until halfway to Casablanca when we realized we didn’t have enough cash to buy our final train ticket from the Casablanca station to the airport. Because we used an extra 40MAD to pay the taxi driver for coming back with our phone, we were now short 15MAD (about $1.50 USD) for our final train tickets. We were kicking ourselves hardcore.
Carter sleeping soundly on the train. It had the perfect amount of white noise and vibrating for this guy to sleep for a long time!
We decided we would try to see if the station would use credit card, pretty much knowing they wouldn’t… but the only alternative was to essentially pull out $15 USD from the ATM to only use $1.50 USD of it–not to mention the $5 service charge. The most frustrating thing was that all the time we had been so careful about making sure we’d have the right amount of money to pay for everything was useless; instead of keeping just a few coins as keepsakes, now we have $13 USD worth! Anybody need some Moroccan currency?
Despite the drama at the station, the final train ride to the airport was great. Carter played with all of his toys, colored, and slept. By the way, airplanes should really have private cabin seating for families. I mean seriously, they’re great sound barriers, they allow room for kids to walk around, and there’s plenty of room for sleeping. Someone should get on that. Southwest Airlines, we’re looking at you.
Coming Up Next:
- Waited with a screaming baby in a sweaty, makeshift security line for 30 minutes while we elbowed people who were trying to cut.
- Discovered at check-in that the ticket for Carter months prior suddenly didn’t exist.
- Bought a brand new ticket for Carter… that one didn’t work either.
- Carter vomited on the plane while lunch was being served.