KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Wouldn’t you know it, as we left the La Tangerina and hailed a petit taxi to take us to the port, a man dressed in traditional clothing approached us, told us he was the night security guard at our hotel and grabbed our suitcases and put them in the trunk of the taxi? Now that’s a new take on an old line. When we were in Djerba, a young man approached us with a smile and ‘Don’t you remember me, I’m a waiter in your hotel?’ This is commonly used to befriend tourists from the large package hotels, where they cannot possibly remember all the different waiters that serve them. Then the man steers the tourist into a carpet shop ‘owned by my brother’ and the high pressure really begins.
I knew immediately this fellow had nothing to do with La Tangerina, and as we piled into the taxi with the rest of our luggage, we had to insist that he wasn’t going to get a tip from us for helping us find the taxi. I had to tell the driver to set off while the man swore loudly at Anil. Luckily, we didn’t understand what it was he said, but his facial expression and his tone said it all. The taxi driver gave us no grief, just charged us the going rate to the port. However, as soon as we got down at the ferry terminal the porters appeared and we had to insist we carry our own luggage, and insist loudly.
In the end, one man grabbed our two larger bags and carried them down a long flight of stairs without asking permission. Anil gave him our last 10 dirhams; the man wanted euros. Too bad, so sad. We had no euros, and no more dirhams. Maybe next time, he’ll strike a deal before he grabs the bags. In the end, it was a bit of a hassle leaving Tangier, but these kinds of things can happen anywhere in the world. There seems to be something about train stations, airports, and ferry terminals that attracts the worst characters. They clearly prey on people flustered with all the ins and outs of travel. We’re not immune, but we’re pretty experienced, and I’m only too happy to push right back.
It was time to say goodbye to Africa, and hello to Europe once again. The fast ferry whisked us over to Tarifa in about 40 minutes and then we boarded a bus for the short trip to Algeciras. It was great to be back in Spain, hearing the Spanish language once again. I kept thanking people in French, time to reprogram my brain and say ‘Gracias’ instead of ‘Merci’. Luckily, a smile is universal.