Thursday, August 07, 2008

Morocco: Day Ten: Gone to Look For America


Awoke at 5:45 am, (12:45 am back home), bathed, dressed, and stowed the rest of our unpacked gear. Everyone else was still asleep, and we'd said our goodbyes before going to bed, so we were able to sneak out of the house around 6:30.

Hicham had arranged a cab for us the day before, but since the streets don't really have names or house numbers, the cab went to Fatima F. and Hicham's house, picked up Fatima who guided the cab to our house, and then stayed there. We rode in the grand taxi, a fairly old and beat-up Mercedes sedan, as opposed to a petit taxi, which are white in El Jadida. We made the 90-minute drive from El Jadida to the Casablanca airport for the very reasonable price of 500 dirham ($68).

We were to early to check in, so we got some breakfast at the airport, using up most of our remaining Moroccan cash. When we checked in, we weren't able to pull the same switcheroo we did at JFK with the baggage weight and number, so we just checked a few bags of mostly dirty clothes. Mostly, that is, except for Jennifer's cell phone, which was in her bag. . . for the time being. We spent a few more dirham at the duty free shops in the international departure lounge, and eventually were able to board the bus to the plane, around 10:45.

The flight was unremarkable. We sat on the left, and were in daylight the entire 7 hours, 25 minutes, sleeping off and on somewhere over the North Atlantic, and landing at JFK around 2:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

The first thing to do at JFK was immigration. There's no cell phone usage nor photography permitted in Immigration for reasons that completely escape me. It's a bunch of guys sitting in cubicles, with a bunch of tired tourists waiting to talk to them. What's the big secret? Since I couldn't take a picture (legally), I've made this artist's rendition of the scene.

The very nice immigration guy, who sounded like he was an immigrant himself, joked with the kids, stamped our passports, and sent us to our next stop: baggage claim. Here we were reminded of one of the major reasons that we don't check baggage. We waited at least half an hour for our bags to show up on the carousel. Time that we could've been on our way. What was taking them so long? Maybe all that additional time was needed for the JFK baggage handlers to rummage through our stuff and steal Jennifer's cell phone. We didn't find this out until later though.

We retrieved our bags, and since we had nothing to declare, sailed through customs and into the arrival hall. A quick walk to the AirTrain, a short ride to the Howard Beach Station, and we were on the A train into Manhattan. The train got very crowded, and despite the fact that they don't announce the stops, and you often can't see the station's name signs on the platforms, we managed to disembark at the Port Authority Bus Terminal/42nd Street Station. We got some snacks, and soon boarded the Bieber Bus, pissing off some chick who alledged there was a line to board in the process.

Less than two hours later we were back at the Charcoal Drive in, and Opa arrived shortly. He brought some delicious hoagies with him from the Ice House in Pottstown, but failing to find a decent place to stop and eat them, they waited 'til we got back to the house. The food in Morocco was excellent, without exception, but those hoagies and Wawa iced tea were very much welcomed. We were back at Opa's house by 9 pm, but since it felt like 2 am to us, we didn't stay up long.

Next Post: A summary.


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