This is the end of my Morocco Trip Report. For the rest . . . .
Departure day. This was it. We were leaving on an Air Maroc flight to Paris/ Orly – just after 6pm.
It is always a bittersweet time of a vacation. In one way, you have had enough. Enough travel. Enough hotels – no matter how luxurious they may be, it is still a hotel & not home. Enough strange foods, restaurants, abominable toilets – the list goes on & on. You miss your family, your pets, your friends, your own bed. Your stuff. But at the same time, you are sorry that it will end. The discovery of new places is intoxicating. Meeting wonderful people whose lives are so different from yours & yet not so different after all. I know that my pulse quickens when I buckle in at the start of an open un-driven road with unknown wonders lurking just around the next corner. But . . . it must end.
But then we were stopping in Paris for a quick holiday at the end of our holiday. We had been to Paris before on a several occasions & so it wasn’t an unknown destination. It was comfortable & it had become our favorite city abroad. And with a late flight, we had lots of time to wrap-up last minute shopping, so we packed roughly after breakfast to see how much space we had left to jam in more gifts. We were OK - we had a few square inches of space left. Would we be overweight? Yeah, probably but at this point, we didn’t care that much.
We hit the street running. Sandals for her. A lantern for them. A small box for me. I was able to employ my sale’s closing skills to great effect as we visited all of the key vendors that we had singled out for this last minute splurge. It was now or never. This is my price or I walk . . . forever. It worked very well. And then it was back to the hotel to ram it all in so we could check out on time at noon.
We accomplished our task & rolled our cases out & into the watchful eye of the hotel staff. Food was the next imperative. We walked for 20 minutes in circles checking out a few places & we finally gave up & just chose one. It really didn’t matter at this point; it was just fill for the void. We settled on Restaurant Les Portes, right near the 2nd gate. The woman that came out of the back to seat us didn’t speak English or French. The menu was the typical Moroccan fare, so we ordered cheap meat & lemon chicken tagines despite this communication roadblock. Two minutes later, the manager hustled in with apologies. The tagines weren’t bad at all iirc.
My wife wanted to do just a bit more shopping to kill time while I chilled in the Madada’s public places. I settled with the hotel, organized the Paris paperwork & surfed on my iPad as my mind started to go into travel mode. I travel a lot for business & I am very good at it. My colleagues are often amazed at the speed & efficiency of my trips. I focus & I do it. This means that I am very punctual. To a fault, of course, if the truth be known. I am early for everything. I guess it is in my genes as both my parents were the same.
Now my wife isn’t bad. She humors my obsession with punctuality & she is typically ready at the appointed hour. But I swear she also likes to toy with me at these times. Anyways . . . she got back early this time & I was grateful. The hotel had arranged a driver who had arranged a push cart guy to ferry our bags to the van. I was surprised to find out that the airport was south of Essaouira & we had passed it unknowingly on our drive in. So it was through the dune area that surrounds the town & past some lonely dusty cheap vacation hotels & condos to the très petit aéroport d'Essaouira. I had to stay in French since we were going to Paris. Check in was a breeze with next to no line since there was only one flight. One bag clocked in at 19.7kg & the other was 23.5kg. The Air Maroc woman didn’t care. With Easyjet that would have been 64€.
We filled out the Moroccan exit docs & talked with the official who was really friendly asking about our time & what we enjoyed. Of course, the suspicious side of me said it was a good profiling interview but maybe he was just being nice. We grabbed some cheap duty free including a bottle of rum for 7.50€! That was cheaper than a bar drink in Paris . . .
To make a long story short, the plane was late. The lounge filled with annoyed & annoying vacationers from France. Kids wailed & ran around as people argued & laughed & fidgeted with their carry-on. You know the scene. A corner of the lounge beside the eating area was deemed a smoking area. Who knows? No signs allowed or forbid it & no one cared. Oddly, the airport officials let some of the politer kids with their parents out on the tarmac to watch the flight taxi in when it finally arrived about an hour late. That wouldn’t happen in security wrought North America. The flight was relatively cloudy for much of the way but sometime after leaving Morocco’s coast, I did make out parts of undulating Andalusia below & later the Gironde estuary as France disappeared into twilight. And then we broke through the clouds over Paris & I spied the Eiffel Tower glittering amongst the lights of Paris.
And that brought a smile to both of us.
--- End Morocco Trip May 9, 2013 ---
Day 14 cont'd
Paris arrival. What can you say about a late night airport arrival in a foreign city? It's not fun. We did the usual: customs - baggage - taxi line - verbally spar with other travelers when they really, really annoy you - taxi to hotel - check in - collapse.
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This is the end of my Morocco Trip Report. For the rest . . . .