- Bus fire in the middle of downtown Madrid rush-hour traffic (not our bus, but we were in the resulting traffic — a delay, yes, but how often do you see bus tires spontaneously combust?)
|I wasn’t quick enough to catch the flames —
you can see the white from the fire extinguishers
- Interminable check-in lines, where you wait for half an hour (barely moving) until you reach a smiling young woman who tells you that you are, in fact, in the wrong line (“But the tv monitor said this was the line” “Yes, that’s why I have to stand here and tell you that it’s actually the other line.” Smile.)
- Discovering that your gate is in the terminal that is the furthest point possible in the entire airport complex, requiring trains, buses, and very long walks — so that by the time you get there you wonder if you are still even in Spain (if I were a betting man I’d say it was an unused wing of Charles de Gaulle).
- Being carted even further from the gate (by now we’re in southern Belgium) to a tiny airplane, which we board by climbing up a staircase that would have been glamorous if we’d all been wearing 1950s outfits.
|There goes my backpack|
After that, things went super smoothly. No crash landings in the Atlantic. No screaming babies. No inane films. Which meant I had time to sleep for a minute and then get really excited as we entered the dusty brown world of Morocco.
Deplaning was similarly informal here: We just walked off the plane and into the airport. Scratch that. We walked off the plane into a furnace and then into the airport. Honestly, I have not been surrounded by such hot air since I hiked through the crater of a volcano in Guatemala. The weather report said the peak temperature in Marrakesh today was 120 F. Now take that and go stand on the tarmac for a while.