View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Back in Morocco!

Tuesday evening, we flew back to Morocco. We are now back in Max, and thankfully he was sitting in the Casablanca airport parking, just as we had left him ten days ago.

But I need to catch you up on some stories from the last couple of days.

On Sunday, we drove as a group back from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott. Actually, Cathy had flown back to Ireland directly from Nouadhibou which was convenient for her since she didn't have to do the fairly boring six hour drive with us.

I only took a couple of photos during that drive...

There's something you don't see every day!

Bah! Too funny.

Other than that, it was an uneventful drive.

Back in Nouakchott, a bunch of us needed an ATM, so they drove us to one in the van. There were two ATM's located at the branch of the bank itself, but it was Sunday, so of course the branch was closed.

The first couple of people went, and had no trouble withdrawing money. When it was my turn, I went in to do the transaction, but the screen warned of a ridiculous 300 MRU ($11 CAD, $8.25 USD) fee, so I cancelled the transaction. I figured I would walk back later to the other machine I had used before that didn't have a fee.

I waited, ready to grab my bank card when it came out. But there was nothing. I had a closer look at the slot, and I could see my card and it was trying to spit it out but it looked like it was getting caught on the lip. It made two or three efforts, but the same thing happened each time. I got my keys out to try and help the card out, but on the last attempt the card slid back in and was gone.

Crap!

Not a disaster, because Ruth has a card linked to the same account. But still frustrating!

Out of service!

There was a sign if you have problems.

We tried calling the number, but there was no answer.

Back at the hotel, people had various departure times for the airport. Some left mid afternoon, and another group later on in the evening. 

The two Marissa's. With Johnny in the background.

Ruth, saying hello to a puppy.

A bunch of us were sitting around the hotel lobby when we had an impromptu birthday celebration. Mateos has his birthday today, and mine was upcoming. A little early to be celebrating mine, but they did anyhow!


Me, with Mateos.

Anfal, Muna, Mateos, and Marissa.

Monday morning, Ruth and I were the only ones left. Our flight wasn't until Tuesday afternoon. We liked Nouakchott so much, we were lucky we had an extra day!

Just kidding. We had seen everything we needed to see in Nouakchott. 

We walked back over to the bank where the hungry ATM was that ate my card. I didn't have high hopes that we would ever see it again, but we didn't have anything else to do.

In the lobby, we asked if anybody spoke English. I had google translate ready with my story just in case. But, we were led into the offices and introduced to a nice lady whose English was very good! I explained about the ATM the day before, and she got on the phone. She made a couple of different calls, and eventually found my card! Wow! She disappeared for five minutes, and came back with card in hand. Amazing!

Then we walked over to the other ATM where I could get local cash without paying a hefty fee. Didn't even need a map. When you can make your way around Nouakchott without a map, you've been there too long!


We went for a big late lunch, but didn't have any dinner.

On Tuesday the 31st, I figured out our cash, and we were going to be a little short. I'll talk more about our January expenses when I do the expense report, but Mauritania is more expensive than we thought it would be. Anyhow, we still had to pay for our room for the last two nights and was going to have to go back to the ATM again 

We walked over to the machine, but it was out of service. So we walked another km or so where I knew there was a machine from the same bank and it was also out of service. So I checked google maps, and there was another machine another 1.6 kms (a mile) away. We needed some exercise anyhow, so off we went.

And that machine was out of service too!

Back at the hotel, we had walked 7 kms (4.5 miles). We were only a little short, but I had an emergency stash of euros, and the hotel guy accepted some of that at a fair exchange rate so we were good to go.

Our drive to the airport was meeting us at 2:30pm for our 5:30pm flight. But 2:30pm came and went without him showing up. I ended up calling our guide Alioune, and he came and sat with us while we waited. Around 3:00pm, I was checking our tickets when I realized that our flight was actually at 5:00pm, not 5:30pm. 

The driver finally showed at 3:15pm. I guess he was on Mauritanian time!

But, there was no traffic, and the airport is fairly small so we still made it with a little time to spare. 

In the air, leaving Nouakchott airport.

Strange. I think they were scraping off the finer sand.

High above the desert.

Decent meal on a 2.5 hour flight!

Nouakchott back to Casablanca.

Our flight was only 15 minutes late departing, which for Mauritania Airlines must be a record. From what I've read, they are never on time. 

Arrived in Casablanca about 9:00pm local time and had no problems going through immigration or customs. As we entered the terminal, there were the three main cellular providers, each with a booth full of people ready to help arriving travelers get online.

I already have a Maroc Telecom SIM card with some data on it, but I had read that INWI does an unlimited plan. So we went to that booth where a helpful, cheerful girl got us set up. It's a little pricey, at €50 ($72 CAD, $54 USD) a month, but we like the idea of unlimited data. And we still have the Maroc Telecom card in case they have a better signal somewhere. 

Out to the parking lot, and there was Max, sitting right where we left him!

A glass of wine never tasted so good!

So, back to our normal motorhome lifestyle for a while. We'll be exploring the southern coast of Morocco over the month of February, hoping to make our way into Western Sahara. But we have to be back here at Casablanca airport for March 6th to pick up our daughter and grandkids. So, lots more fun stuff coming up!

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And in Canada...

4 comments:

  1. Interesting that the bank was able to retrieve your card. I guess it's not such a bad place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were totally surprised that we were able to get our bank card back so quickly, they were very efficient.

      We never said that it was a bad place, it just isn't a pretty city by any means.

      Delete
  2. Hey, the photos are clear today! Woohoo! Glad you made it back to Morocco safely. The airplane meal looked pretty good. Too bad we don't get treated that well (not even close) in the US. Glad you got your card back, Kevin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear that the pictures are looking normal again, ours are too. :-)

      The airplane meal was actually not bad. The scallop potatoes were actually really tasty. We had the exact same meal on the way to Mauritania as well and it was only a 2 1/2 to 3 hour flight! Mind you, it wasn't a cheap flight either.

      Kevin was so surprised that we got his card back, the bank was very efficient, not sure it would have been so easy back home in Canada.

      Delete

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