Out of Africa

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Out of Africa
Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco


Another early start, this time to get out of dodge completely. We’d arranged a ride to the airport through our riad and had expected a reverse scenario to the one that had delivered us there in the first place. We were surprised therefore to find a car and not a crone waiting out the front. The biggest mystery was how the car even managed to get there given the narrowness of the alleys we’d assumed to be entirely for pedestrians and bike riding maniacs constantly threatening to run them down. At this early hour though, both were in short supply which cleared the way for taxi’s not too fussed about their paint jobs. We squeezed our way out of the old medina and back onto the road to the airport.

We checked in for our flight and spent the very last of our currency, right down to the very last dirham on two coffees and croissants. It was very satisfying to have been so precise with the last of our money. We pottered around the airport until the time came to go through security.

We emptied our pockets and put our bags on the covey belt to go through the screening machine and then queued to go through the security gate ourselves. Everything seemed routine enough – a security man and security women stood on the other side overseeing the proceedings. An older woman went through before me, the gate beeped but a somewhat bored security woman waved her on without further inspection. I passed through – no beep sounded, no light flashed but I was none the less stopped. What happened next is difficult to describe without gestures and honking sound effects but I’ll try.

Being a seasoned traveller, I automatically assumed the pat-down position in anticipation of a run of the mill security sweep. Instead I got a double squeeze (or ‘honk’) on my lady lumps followed by a pat on the puss, if I can be so bold – she was! With that and a wink, I was dismissed. Never mind that I could have had a machete strapped to my back or rare birds under my wings or guns taped to my shins! I was in such a state of shock and disbelief at what had just happened, that it didn’t occur to me to turn and see if the same thing happened to Liz. When she caught up to me, the look on her face confirmed that it had. We knew better than to make a fuss at airport security, especially in a place where such behaviour seemed to be par for the course and consequently, a place we were ready to leave.

The minute we stepped on board, the spell was broken and we were invisible once again in our own culture. We didn’t know if that was a relief or a regret but it was nice to be contemplating it over a glass of red!

The trip back to our respective homes was uneventful and less arduous for landing back at Gatwick in London’s south. Although the flight itself was only a few hours long, it was dinner time when I walked back through the door at Vic and Pete’s, just in time for fish (or Linda McCartney pie) and chips! Ah, it’s good to be home.


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