How to get to Morocco
When packing to leave for Lisbon I noticed that my fins were missing. I had placed them on top of my board bag in the board locker. I thought it was safe but someone grabbed them. I talked with Joao about it and he told me he would ask everyone and see if he could track them down. I was pretty bummed. Headed to Lisbon in the rental car to stay the night in the trip airport hotel because the flight was super early.
Returning the rental car ended up being quite the pain. I thought I had Lisbon maps downloaded in my phone however I was mistaken. Navigating roundabouts and stoplights to try to get to the gas station across the street proved to be very difficult. Even trying to find the car return was a pain.
When we finally made it to the car return, one of the turns (I swear was designed to ding cars) dinged us. The guy doing the inspection saodbit would be around 500 euros to fix which is complete bull. It was just a paint scratch on the side. Rubbing it with a finger almost made it go away. After talking to the agent at the desk about it the story is to be continued because their “system was down” and they couldn’t give us an accurate estimate.
Went back to the hotel bummed out. Looking forward to a jacuzzi in the hotel. After getting trunks on and heading down we were told that we needed to purchase swim caps to go in the pool and jacuzzi. Ha! We went back to the room to get 3 euros each for the caps and pod the lady. When we walked over to the area where said jacuzzi was we were confused. There was no jacuzzi. After asking the lady where it was, she replied that it was part of the pool. That is not a jacuzzi if it’s the same temperature as the pool and in the pool! Defeated, we went back to the room and called it a night.
The next morning (5 hours later) got up and went down for breakfast. It was a really decent breakfast. Fist time in 3 weeks I didn’t have to eat bread and cheese for breakfast. We decided to not take the airport shuttle because the hotel was so close and the shuttles seemed a bit small for our boards. Big mistake. We got to the terminal only to find out we needed to hop on a bus to get to the other terminal. Time was ticking and lugging around boards is no fun. Made it to the other terminal got the boards checked went to security to get to the gate. Had to go through a super long security line and an even longer customs line. About 10 people away from getting to the customs window the pa sounded saying it was the last call for the flight. Talk about stress. We weren’t the only ones though because people were trying to cut in line and scrambling.
Barely made it on the plane on my way to gatwick.
Landed in gatwick and went through the usual customs song and dance. Found my board and bag pretty easy and walked to the exit to figure out how to get an uber to stansted.
I didn’t think it would be too tough considering I had plenty of time to spare before my flight. Technology fail! I couldn’t figure out where the Uber’s would pick up. After asking several people I found that it was on the third floor of the parking garage. Took my boards up the elevator and tried to request the ride. At that point I was too far away from the airport wifi. So I went back down. When in range I tried again. “Sorry uber can’t connect”. I tried again. Same result. Restarted my phone. Same result. At this point I started thinking of other options. Ok. There’s a bus but it takes 3 hours. At this point I was losing precious time. I didn’t think I would make it in time on the bus. So I tried the uber app again. I was even considering buying a SIM card so that I could have more reliable internet. Luckily it worked this time. But it said to pick up at a different location. Confused I walked back outside and asked one of the airport workers. He didn’t know. So I decided that I was close enough to the pin that I should be able to spot the car when it came.
Nervously I waited and scanned every license plate. At last I saw the car and ran towards it. He didn’t see me and proceeded to go to the third level. Of course. I should have just gone there in the first place. But I thought what if I go all the way up there and he cancels the ride then I have to come back down and do this all over again. So I went to the only exit for the parking garage and decided to wait for him to come back down. I tried calling several times but Uber’s contact feature never works!
I misjudged the human condition. My fate being a pretty big gate he patiently waited up there. But at this point we had both been waiting about 10 minutes. Now the scenario that I thought originally seemed more likely. I told the parking attendant what the story was and asked if he could watch my boards and flag down the car if I missed it. He said he would so I ran toward the elevators. There was my driver right where I thought he’d be. He said he was just about to cancel.
At this point drive time was putting me at arriving at Stansted at 1:30. Wtf. Rain + traffic + everything I’ve just said and my 5 hour layover didn’t look like enough time. My flight was at 2:50. I was hoping that it was delayed. Or that the line was short.
The line was short! I thought I paid for my surfboards online (which was the whole reason that I went through this ordeal) but… I didn’t. I had to go to another line to pay for the boards so that I could get back in line to check them in. Luckily that line was also short.
40 minutes until boarding. I was starting to see a line at the end of the tunnel.
They didn’t want to check my backpack, so I had to do some quick thinking to remove anything that I couldn’t carry on. Inevitably I forgot something. I removed my toiletries and threw them into my board bag. I totally forgot about the small knife in my first aid kit and the mosquito repellent bottle. Turns out the knife was ok because the blade wasn’t long enough. But the mosquito repellent had to go. Zika here I come.
Stansted didn’t print the gate number on my boarding pass. When I looked at the screen to find out what gate, it wouldn’t announce until 15 minutes before boarding. Once I figured out what gate I had to walk about 20 minutes through an airport mall to get to the gate. What the heck? I wouldn’t be surprised if people miss their flights on a regular basis.
Made it into the Agadir airport and the customs line was probably the most chaotic I’ve ever seen. Once that was done I made it outside the airport and found my ride. I was accompanied by 10-15 other people who were all staying at different places in surf maroc. We took one of those wine tour sprinter vans with black lights and disco music. It was pretty hilarious. Some people were cracking open champagne and drinking it out of the bottle.
Got situated at the villas, ate, and met my new roommate for the time being named Tom. Surf guiding started at 630 the next morning so I called it a night right after dinner.
I was pretty thirsty and the people who could sell me some water at the villa had already gone to bed. So… I decided to take my UV purifier out for a spin. The tap water at the villa wasn’t safe to drink as far as I knew. I filled my canteen up with some water from the sink and attempted to use the purifier. I couldn’t seem to figure it out. It kept giving me a signal that the process was incomplete by showing a red light. After multiple attempts and several laughs with Tom, I got it to work. I drank the water.
We’ll see if I get sick…