Bye bye Morocco - Hello Ireland
02.08.2016 - 02.08.2016 20 °C
Hotel - The Shellbourne Dublin - Room 767
Well, I thought today would be a pretty average day - just travelling from Casablanca to Dublin - with not much to write about. Turns out it was quite a memorable day with plenty to record.
We set the alarm for 5 am and were showered and dressed when our breakfast arrived at 6 am. We had ordered juice, fruit, muesli, yoghurt, croissants, tea and coffee. What arrived was croissants, jam and honey, yoghurt, and coffee and warm milk. We phoned and asked about the juice. It's in the mini bar. Okay, where is the fruit and the muesli? He couldn't find any muesli and didn't even mention the fruit and no answer either about the tea. It really was okay because at that time of the morning, a light snack is all you need.
So, meeting Abdou at 7.15 am and had to have an emergency trip to the "bathroom" which made us a bit late leaving the hotel for the airport, but in the scheme of things, it didn't really matter.
It took about 35 minutes to get to the airport in reasonable traffic. Abdou pulled up on the side of the road a little way away from the airport, but it was the designated drop off spot. We said a quick goodbye and Phil gave him his tip in a closed envelope. Hope he was happy. We will never know!
Check in was smooth. Our bags are now 24 and 25 kgs but it was okay. Immigration was a bit slow as there were only a couple of people working but the queue wasn't very long. We found our gate and sat down to wait to board. Phil had 600 dirhams to change into euros but when he went looking for the money changer, he was told that you have to do it before you enter the airport. Gee! thanks! now we are stuck with this money that you can't change anywhere in the world. So, he thought he would go shopping and found that the duty free shops at Casablanca Airport don't accept Morrocan dirhams. A few of the junk shops do, so he bought some chocolate biscuits and a revolting necklace. We still have about 200 dirhams left.
The flight to Paris took 2 hours 45 minutes but we were late leaving Casablanca by about 30 minutes because a passenger didn't board, so they had to take her luggage off. We were a bit worried because we only had about a 40 minute turn around to catch our flight to Dublin. The seats on the AirFrance flight were so narrow, they were uncomfortable, even for me! We will never fly AirFrance again (if we can help it). And of course, to add to the drama, they were on their annual summer holiday strike up until yesterday, so we weren't even sure we would get out of Casablanca. What a pathetic excuse for an airline, they are.
We landed in Paris and as soon as we touched down, everyone clapped. How funny. Because we were sitting towards the back of the plane, it took ages for us to get off and we had no idea how far away our departure lounge for Dublin was. We raced up the finger only to discover a queue of people off the plane with two airport police checking everyone's passports and boarding passes. So, Phil made his way to the top of the queue saying "scusee, scusee" as he was going and tried to point out to the male policeman that we only had about 20 minutes until our next flight was leaving. He didn't understand English and pointed to the female policewoman. We tried to explain to her the urgency of the situation but she wouldn't listen and said we were rude for jumping the queue, and put our passports and boarding passes in her pocket and made us stand over the other side of the passage way. Phil was about to explode but I told him to shut up and just wait. When she had finished checking EVERYONE'S passports and boarding passes, she came over to us. I said we were sorry for pushing in but really needed to catch the flight so she checked our passports and boarding passes and gave me directions to our new gate.
It wasn't too far away, thank goodness, but we still had to put our carry ons and handbags etc through the security check again. We ran to our gate, only to find everyone queued up waiting to be processed to hop on a bus to be driven miles and miles to AirFrance's Hop City Jet. Phew! we made it. In our rush to get to the gate, some guys came running down the escalator running to the same plane, and as I stood aside to let them pass, I lost my balance and nearly fell down the escalator!!
We waited on the tarmac for ages for another bus load of people to board and the good news was that we could see our suitcases sitting on the tarmac, ready to be loaded on to the plane. Well, thank goodness that they had made it too!
The flight to Dublin was one hour and we landed about half an hour late.
We took quite a while to get through Immigration as there were only a couple of officers on duty and each case seem to take a while. Finally, we went to collect our luggage and only my bag was there. We waited and waited for Phil's and eventually about half a dozen of us were directed to the AirFrance desk. They knew that all the missing bags were left in Paris, for one reason or another. At least they know where they are. We had to fill in a form and his bag will be delivered to the hotel by lunch time tomorrow. The girl at the desk told us that this happens all the time and the flight before us left 20 bags behind! Can you believe it? That is the last time we will ever fly AirFrance.
However, I was very happy that my bag turned up. Can you imagine - no makeup! Eeek!
Our transfer driver Damien, was waiting patiently for us and drove us to our beautiful hotel - the Shellbourne. It is in a great part of town and is just lovely.
I gave Phil's luggage papers to the conceirge and he said he would keep on their backs, and chase it up for us. Apparently this happens all the time.
We were settling into our room when we heard drip, drip, drip and noticed that water was dripping out of the ceiling in the bathroom. Urgent phone call to the reception desk and the handyman arrived. We were then moved two floors up and we now have a room with a balcony, plus a complimentary bottle of wine and a cheese and bickies snack. Very nice. Is this Friday, 13th or what?
We went to the ATM, got some Euros and had a nice dinner at Marcel's Restaurant.
We had our first Guinness and Phil had bangers and mash and I had a pear and blue cheese salad.
We can have a sleep in day tomorrow as we don't meet our group and tour director until tomorrow evening.
As I said, a very eventful day.