Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not so Easy Jet to Paris & Abdou, The Taxi Fare Killer

Our second to last day in Morocco was spent getting to Agadir from Essouira via bus. It's about 3 hours but in a less comfortable bus than the Marrakesh route, with no air-con for one. The road is quite winding, and drifts away from the coast for quite a bit and climbs before the final corkscrew descent into Agadir.

As I mentioned before, Agadir was only on the agenda to act as our departure point to Paris. The flight by EasyJet was only $60 each, and was supposed to only take 3 hours. Supposed to...

Agadir was much as I expected, clean and groomed, and not very exotic in appearance or apparent culture. It caters to tourists mostly plus conferences and conventions like Vegas. We did find another Vegas-like attribute that we had yet to see anywhere else in Morocco: street drunkenness.

Anyway, on arrival we had a guy approach to offer his taxi service. Not knowing where it was or how far and being tired sweaty and hungry we quickly agreed to take his cab, for 50 dirham. Before we reached the car the diver (Abdou) got into a huge verbal fight with the other drivers who accused him of stealing their fare, and undercutting. Apparently the going rate was 100 dirham, and they (he said) even offered him 20 to leave us so they could prey on us.

Abdou also agreed to take us to the airport the next morning at a prearranged time, as we had an early flight. We knew the usual rate for this and agreed to his rate of 150, and the airport being quite far out of town it was not unreasonable. Abdou asked my name, and had trouble with it, so I became "Abdou 2" to his "Abdou 1".

Our hotel La Petite Suede was about average for our trip, and right in the restaurant district which was handy. We  headed out and had the most western meal yet, Pizza and Lasagna! And it was served professionally and cleanly by smart looking waiters. But they were interrupted by the obnoxious drunk walking (barely) down the street. No big deal, but he did get hauled away to the drunk tank. The only reason I even mention it though is that the event was so rare, the only open drunkenness we saw by local, as I think this guy was, or tourist.

The next morning Abdou showed up right on time, but it turns out that Abdou may have given a good price on the fare the day before, but he made up for it today. He picked up another guy (Abdou 3), whom he was charging the same rate PLUS he drove to his home once he had all of us and we switched with baggage  to his own personal car. It seemed like triple dipping in that he would not have to report the fare and it turned out he would not actually dive into the airport proper so he did not get seen. At least we got there in plenty of time, and then some...

Our flight was not due to leave until 10-ish, but turned out to be delayed by 3 hours so did not leave until 1:30. There's not a lot to do in the Agadir airport, though we did get curious about an American Air Force C-130 sitting on the tarmac with some military types hanging around. Counting Morocco hotel to Paris apartment our travel time that day amounted to almost 12 hours. I did enjoy my conversation with my seatmate (not Linda) though. He had been attending a conference as a whale researcher working for an NGO in Edinburgh, and since he was an ex-patriot Canadian from Vancouver we had some thing to talk about. As it turned out we know some of the same people though he has not lived in Canada for 20 years.

Our trip to Morocco thus came to an end, and though a bit sad to leave, it was only a bit. Next phase, Paris.

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