Chaotic Conclusion in Casa
Casablanca Travel Blog› entry 34 of 38 › view all entries
Departure Chaos: Getting to the Airport
I thought Iâ€™d catch the train to the airport as Iâ€™m familiar with it, having taken it down from the airport into the city. I bought my ticket and waited on the platform along with many locals and foreigners.
Shortly after the scheduled time, no train arrived â€¦ but a train did pull up to another platform and paused briefly â€¦ no one hopped on or off. As it turned out, that was the train to the airport. No railways officer had made an effort to advise of the change in platform.
As a result, many travellers (both locals and foreigners) were left behind! Rather than risk the next train an hour later, I shared a ride with a couple of ladies from Buenos Aires who had a flight to catch around the same time as mine.
More Departure Chaos: At the Airport
After that fiasco, I wasnâ€™t quite with it. I took me a while to realise after checking-in for my flights to Dubai and Bangkok, that the check-in agent hadnâ€™t returned my electronic ticket (ET) itinerary â€¦ or given me my baggage receipts (quite important as baggage transfer between flights are rather prone to mishaps).
I had already gone through passport control so couldnâ€™t return to the check-in desk to enquire. I checked with an Emirates staff who radioed to have it brought to me.
I enquired a couple of other times with Emiratesâ€™ contract ground handlers in the gate area â€¦ they were totally unhelpful. They all said I donâ€™t need my ET itinerary as the airline has the details â€¦ completely ignoring the fact that some immigration authorities require evidence of return or onward travel before allowing people into the country.
It wasnâ€™t around departure time (yes, the flight was late because other passengers had trouble with various things too) that another Emirates employee turned up. I re-iterated my requirement for an ET itinerary for immigration purposes â€¦ she obligingly went to the landside office and printed one out for me along with duplicate baggage receipts.
I waited duly in the gate lounge, making sure I didnâ€™t step on board the plane until I had what I needed.
This is the end of my time in Morocco so it is timely to wrap up with some conclusions ...
I've had mixed response speaking standard Arabic here. I thought it wouldn't get me very far due to the huge differences in the language but I've done well with more educated people. The best reception I've had has been when I spoke Arabic.
But conversely the worst treatment has also when I was speaking Arabic ... I think they spoke only Berber and French ... I wonder if they see Arabic as the language of a perceived conqueror-colonialist? Some Berbers say the Arabs look down on them ... but it is hard to know who is Arab and who is Berber ... the people are very mixed.
Combined with visa hassles (and cost), I don't think I'll be in Morocco again in the near future. Some of the sights and experiences can't be beat. But I'm used to experiencing hospitality when I travel in the Middle East ... here everything is a business but there doesn't seem to be much service. Countries like Syria and Iran have just as much to offer at much better value ... and they are so unspoilt.