We arrive at the train station and walk up to the window, "Two for the two o'clock train to Tangier please." "No" is the response we get. In a mix of Arabic, French, and broken English the man behind the counter try's to explain that because of the Biblical rains, the track from Meknes to Tangier is flooded and no trains are going to Tangier. Set back!
We walk to the bus station and find out there is a bus going Tangier, leaving at 7:15pm, it is currently around 2:30. The only option was the bus, so we bought two tickets for the 7:15 bus to Tangier, a five hour trip, we were told. Back on track.
After locating some food, a stroll through the medina, and a couple glasses of tea, we head to the bus station at 6:00pm, to make sure we are able to catch the 7:15 bus. The bus doesn't show up until 8:00pm. Set Back number two.
At 8:15 we finally set out on the five hour trip to Tangier. Back on track.
After about four hours on the bus, we stop. A place called Souk Laurba, Wednesday Market. One lamp post in an other wise deserted outpost an hour from anything. The bus driver says "Souk Laurba." No one responds. Again, "Souk Laurba." Nothing. The bus driver then starts checking everyones ticket. He gets to Donnie and I, "Souk Laurba" he says and starts pointing for us to get off the bus. I say "we are going to Tangier." "Souk Laurba" again, pointing off the bus. "We are going to Tangier." "Souk Laurba."
You see when we bought the bus tickets to Tangier, the woman at the bus station had said the bus from Meknes to Tangier was full, so we had to buy tickets like we were coming from Fez. We received two tickets. Fez to Souk Laurba, Souk Laurba to Tangier. Why the bus station booked the tickets like that I don't know.
For ten minutes the bus driver is demanding we get off the bus. I keep telling him we paid for Tangier, we are going to Tangier. Finally, after seeing that we had paid for both tickets, he realizes his mistake and no one was supposed to get off the bus in Souk Laurba. He then tries to make amends for the scene he caused by saying, "Ok, Ok, everything is good." Set back number three.
It wouldn't have mattered except that this Souk Laurba was an hour out of the way. After this happened I could hear all the Moroccans on the bus saying "American, stupid," "Assholes," etc. Asshole Americans! Ignorant Moroccan! All the driver had to was look at the trip manifest he was given at the station in Meknes and he would have seen that no one was getting off the bus in Souk Laurba.
Following this unpleasantness, we were on our way, again.
About an hour later the bus gets stopped by the police for a random check. Set back number four. By this point I was so baffled by the whole Soul Laurba thing that I lost all hope of ever getting to Tangier.
Forty-five minutes of inspection and we start again. As we proceed the bus begins stopping in all these little villages to drop one person off. Set back number five.
Eight hours on a bus and we finally get to Tangier around 3:30-4:00am.
Keep in mind all this happened on CTM, the national bus service run by the government.
What I learned from the experience.......
1. Public transportation operates on "Morocco Time".............. anywhere from thirty minutes late to sometime the next day.
2. The buses are cramped, uncomfortable, and smell rank.
3. If they say five hours, expect at least eight to ten.
4. I'm traveling by train or grand taxi from now on.