Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mishap in Tangier

Day SIX (Sept’07). A day full of DRAMA for us, and I was freaking scared. Really!

It started on a beautiful morning; you hear the roar of the train, the sound of the people waking up in nearby compartment, them rushing to the washroom, ahh…. the normal hustle and bustle of dawn. It’s like a queue to us that we are approaching Tangier; we took a night train to Tangier to get to Andalusia, Spain.

It WAS PERFECT! We took a cab to the ferry terminal, reached the terminal, lug our luggage to the tix counter, purchased the tix, go up the immigration, then…. That’s when everything STARTS!

Immigration can’t communicate well (at all) in English, basically he return us our passport and “shoo” us away, we were wondering why… hemm… then obviously we refuse to budge and ask “Why?”. He then did a sign language, pointing to us then using his hands showing airplane. Ah-ha…. We nodded, yes, we took plane to Morocco, and….? He then wave his hand and do a ship gesture… we looked at each other “What”. He did the same thing again, we decipher it as if you come by plane, you leave the country by plane. WHAT????? But but but… we purchased the tix (we weren’t even informed by the embassy when we did our VISA, nor anyone mentioning it on websites). We rushed to the tix counter hoping and PRAYING for a refund, they weren’t happy but obliged. They spoke good English and confirmed our doubt. Sigh….. There goes our cruise to Spain via Algeciras on MEDITERRANEAN SEA! I was sooo looking forward.

Travel Tips : Please check before hand on whether Morocco allows to use different mode of transportation going in and out of their country before your visit (as the rules might change from time to time, who knows).

We walked to the cab station, as we had been told that we need to fly out. Nearing the cab area, we were swarm by the cab driver trying to get our attention. This is the funny part, there are 2 cabs (1) Petite – small cab and cheaper and (2) Grande – bigger cab and obviously slightly expensive. The Grande kept pulling us to his car, at this point we said NO NO NO (since I heard he said Grande of course), when we approached the cab bay, we saw Petite, we walked to the area; thus we were swarm by few drivers, one caught our attention and we followed him. PROBLEM START!

The Grande scolded the Petite, mirror effect takes place, before you know it; they hit each other. The other cab drivers stand and watch (I guess they want them to settle it themselves). Us? We backed a few steps; panicked and asked the drivers what are they arguing and why. Ah…. It’s all because the Grande claimed the Petite stole his customers (NO! HE DID NOT!). They fought to a point that they went to the car and took out a jack. Scary stuff! I was pale and almost cried, Andrea? Cool as usual. Then the other drivers start to intervene and said that these are tourist and they shouldn't be fighting. Thus, stop. That’s what we thought too….

As we board the Petite cab and drove out of the terminal, I; still with uncomfortable feeling turn my head back and guess who I saw – the Grande driver tailing us. Case not settled obviously. The journey to airport is approximately 45mins, what if he stop us and hurt us? Hemm… I informed the cab driver, he peek at the rearview mirror, he said not to worry, darn right I am worried! After about 1-2mins, I informed him again, I said me tourist – scared - not happy. He make a turn and head to police station. The police asked the Grande to go off and we continued our journey, but still scared lar. Told Andrea I want to change another cab, we ask him to drop us at the train station and we took another cab to airport.

You think this is the end right, NOOOO!!!! Reached the airport safely and found NO FLIGHT to Granada (Andalusia). WHAT???? Only Madrid and Barcelona, and next flight out is Madrid and it’s USD285. EXPENSIVE!!! Not part of our budget! We negotiated and he brought it down to USD143 (can be negotiated? Hem…) but cash! (hemmmmm……) FINE! It’s a DEAL! As if we have much choice lar.

Took the flight, reached Madrid safely, found ways to go to the bus station, took the next bus out to Granada, stuck for 5 hours journey and FINALLY we reached Granada at 12:30am MIDNIGHT. Plenty of cab, took one to our Alcazaba Pansion, I ate Maggi Mee and fall flat on the bed. (We did a Bourne Ultimatum and I think Matt Damon had it easier!).
Day END!

New country. New beginning. New adventure.

Credits : Wikipedia , Sinmia, Goafrica, Travelpod, iaphworldports, Hostelbooker, Moroccoguide, Gospain

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