Moroccan taxis are in different colours. The yellow taxis can take no more than three passengers and a small child counts as a passenger. The method of hailing a taxi is standing at the corner of a road as the traffic is flying past and attempting to get a taxi to stop and pick you up. This can take an awfully long time. There are also white taxis and white and blue taxis. They generally differ in that they have more seating and four of us hopped into a blue and white taxi which had three other passengers plus the driver. We were allocated the back three seats and the grand-daughter happily sat on her mother’s lap, chatting away to the two women in front of us.
There was an elderly robed man in the front seat adjacent to the driver and he asked to be dropped off in the middle of a town. We got dropped off parallel to the beach at Martil a popular holiday resort which was bereft of its usual throngs of holiday makers. The golden beach at Martil is long, straight and flat . This particular day, by the time we had eaten in one of the local cafes, dark clouds were rolling in across the Mediterranean and the waves were huge frothy mountains crashing on to the beach. The grand-daughter was content with a thirty second run across the sands with her mama. We retraced our footsteps to return to another cafe as the storm and heavy rain grew closer.
My journey to the airport yesterday in the taxi which picked me up in good time at the hotel, was different from the other times I had travelled to Tangier airport from Tetouan. The plan was that the taxi driver would take me to bid farewell to the grand-daughter and family but I realised that we were going in the wrong direction. A quick phone call to the daughter-in-law, who then phoned the taxi driver, sorted that out and we made a circular loop around a roundabout and headed back up the other side of the dual carriageway.
Farewells said, the taxi driver headed along the same route and soon we were on the other side of Tetouan. It was the speed of the vehicle that alerted me to the fact that there were hairpin bends on the first range of mountains. I had never noticed them before and I can only assume at the speed the taxi was driven, that the driver had another customer to pick up as I was in fine time for my flight.
There was same tent that I had seen on my arrival at Tangiers airport (incidentally spelled Tanger on the roadsigns) and I was asked for my passport and tickets but the tickets were on my phone. The uniformed security man must have considered me as not a terrorist as I was allowed to go into the airport without showing him the details on my phone. There was even heavier security in the airport.
Air Arabia are the first low cost airline to service Middle Eastern countries but they weigh and measure every bit of luggage. Some passengers had to pay at the check in desks to put their overweight hand luggage in the hold.
From there we went through more x-ray machines, and handed over passports, boarding card and the completed information slips with our personal details. I joined the shortest queue in front of two booths which were both manned but the other queues with only one booth manned still moved quicker. There were police and what turned out to be non-uniformed officers everywhere and some people were questioned and taken off I don’t know where. I would say it would be a hard job to get anything illegal through Tangiers airport which is really reassuring.
What I didn’t expect when we landed at Malaga airport, over an hour late with no explanation, was that the same level of security would be there. Of course I was forgetting that I was travelling from a non-EU country and there were the same plethora of checks and x-rays and a separate sectioned area for people coming from outside the EU.
Brexit yes voters remember that when you are travelling into Spain in future. You won’t just stroll through as an EU citizen with nothing to declare.
There was even a large beautiful Alsatian dog, a lovely fellow, who I stupidly went to pet. I suddenly remembered my days when I worked in a place where peers of the realm were regular visitors and that these dogs were doing a job. You should not pet them.
Luckily I had no illegal substances on me. As we arrived so late I missed a great lunch with the others which ended with caramel vodka. But I am sure there will be other opportunities to get together.