Friday, November 15, 2013

Day Five: In Transit

Thursday we were on the road again. Luckily, our flight wasn't early in the morning again, but rather in the afternoon. Though I had planned to exercise Thursday morning before the flight, that totally didn't happen.

The day before we had an email from our travel agent telling us that our flight from Casablanca to Rabat (a short 45-minute hop) had been delayed from around 8 pm to 11 pm. Instead of a four-hour layover in Casablanca, we were practically there all day. I took to the internets to get recommendations on what could be done while we were there. Immediately, my Facebook feed filled with references to the movie. At least I think it did. I've never seen it myself.

However, when we got to the airport in Algiers our boarding passes let us know that the flight to Rabat had been delayed until 1 am the next day! What reason could we possibly have to spend that long in an airport waiting to get to a city that is only an hour away?

We were told that this couldn't be dealt with here, and we would have to get to Casablanca to see if it could be remedied. Once in Casablanca we headed to the check-in counter, only to be told we needed to go to a desk around the corner. But there was no one there. I headed to the other side of a terminal where someone in the "Ticket Office" (as the sign said), told me there were no other flights to Rabat that day. The boss and I had already determined that if we couldn't get on an earlier flight, we wanted to cancel this flight and take the train. However, the woman in the office could not help with that. I would need to go down to the check-in desk at another terminal. So the boss and I headed out that way. Through out this entire process, the boss is lugging around a 50 lb checked bag. For some reason, there are no down escalators in this world (or elevators), so she has to drag it down one step at a time. Luckily, there is always an extremely helpful guy around to give a hand.

The new check-in desk confirms there aren't other flights that day and we cancel. Next up, train station. Once again, I kick myself for not knowing French. Thankfully, we are able to ascertain we are on the right train and what stop we need relatively easily despite the language barrier.

When we finally arrive in Rabat Ville, we find the most broke down taxi in probably the entire country. The driver proceeds to break his sunglasses and drop his burning cigarette on his shirt trying to shove the bosses giant bag in the trunk of his car. Though the boss and I both agree later that it was clear from the beginning there was no way it would fit.

The taxi driver speaks French, but manages to convey to us that he is happy that we are Americans and that he likes Michael Tyson. He also tries to figure out my relationship to my boss. Unable to think of anything useful in French, I resort to "En espanol, trabajado?" which seems to do the trick. Later, I realize that the word I was looking for is in fact a French word in English even: colleague. Oops.

Once at the hotel, we check in and go in search of food. Thanks to trip adviser, we go in search of a Tex Mex restaurant, pass a Chicago-themed restaurant on the way, and ended up at La Bodega, a Spanish restaurant where everything is in French (oh the irony of what was near the hotel).

Tomorrow we will meet with the Embassy and a representative from the program sponsor. And, then, surprise, surprise, we do not get on a plane on Saturday. That's right, we are spending an extra day in one place! How luxurious!

More later

No comments: