The good, the bad and the really ugly

Let’s start with the good.

The day started with the hotel buffet breakfast.
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First on the agenda was checking out and getting our luggage put away at the hotel.  Then we headed to Casa Batllo.  This is the house Gaudi designed, including the furniture.  The house is really crazy looking.  I had pictures up of this yesterday.  I am being respectful of the sign in the building that said pictures may be taken for personal use, but may not be published without permission.  Should I ever get permission, I will post these pictures.  The place is really neat and architecturally so ahead of it’s time that it is still modern for now and this was built in the early 1900s.
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One nice thing about this is that the price includes the audio tour guide.  The cost, if you use a 10% off coupon from one of the tour companies comes to 16 euro.  They now offer a cafe inside if you wish to purchase snacks or beverages.

The next thing that you should know would be that nothing is open on Sunday’s in Spain.  The museums and other sights are open, but shopping is a no-no.  We did discover that the one shopping mall MareMagnum was open and it was just a short metro ride away.  It was really easy to do and the station was right under our hotel.
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This mall was so busy, and I am guessing this was because it is the only place open.  It is also on the water and has great views with a nice breeze. 

Here is a really neat place with cookies and chocolate sweets.
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Although those things looked good, I was really in search of lunch, so we went to Pans and Company, which is really just a fast food sub place.
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This is how I know it is fast food.
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I did like that for french fries we had the option for patatas bravas.
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I ordered a Norwegian sub which had smoked salmon, hard boiled egg, and gherkin pickles.  It turned out to be really good.
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I love this tiny fork for my patatas.
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We kept walking around and a found this place Xocoa
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Look at their fancy chocolates.
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I know this looks like all we did was eat, but we actually ate very little at this point.  Many of the restaurants were open and while we were out searching for a coffee, we found this place.  It is called Nostrum and they have a clever concept, which is really different for Spain.
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I liked that they had ice cream too and not just meals.
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The idea here is you pick your entree from this case.  It is a refrigerated, but still fresh meal, and if you order a combo it comes with soup or a yogurt depending on the option you choose.
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Since these are all prepackaged meals that are refrigerated, the back of this place had a few microwaves.
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Here are some of the selections in the case.
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Joe ordered a sweet bread to enjoy with our lattes.
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At this point we took a little nap in the hotel lobby before heading to the airport.  At this point we are still at the good part of the day.

Ah ha, as we were driving to the airport, I spotted this sign, so Mer, this one’s for you.
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Next stop, Royal Maroc Air at the Barcelona airport.  This is where it starts to get bad.  The flight looks as thought it is delayed an hour.  The guy at the desk says no, but the sign says yes.
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I love being able to go to the duty free shopping.  Here we got a nice selection of cheeses that we could eat later on.
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Again, we ate at Pans and Company.  These are everywhere and we are already familiar with the options.  We got the Greek this time, which had tomatoes and cheese with some lettuce.
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Here I am at the gate.  Now it is starting to get really ugly.  The flight really is delayed and no one has any idea about this.
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On all of this mess, I spotted a beautiful sunset, which brought on some calm, but only for a short time.  We were able to call the hotel and the tour guide to let them know.
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I got out some of the candy I bought for the plane.
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I love these things.
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Oh, now we are to REALLY ugly, although it does get worse.  At this point there are angry passengers yelling about wanting their food vouchers.  Three flights are delayed at this point and everyone is angry.  No one working for the airline is available for contact and no one is near the gate with any information.  
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A major issue is that we cleared customs and once past that point you can’t exit.  The place we were sitting had limited options for anything to do.  Then we found out we were being escorted out to a restaurant downstairs for our meal because we were delayed for 4 hours.
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The options were limited to meat, so I asked for both of the starters.  This was mixed veggies and a salad.  They were only fair, and I barely ate anything.
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At this point, it had been some time since we arrived at the airport.  We were a little on edge and it only made matters worse that no one from the airline ever came to talk with us about the situation.  In fact, it was lie after lie about the whereabouts of the the plane.  Each time we asked we were told that it just left Marrakech.  By now the Casablanca flight was cancelled, but ours was still on, just very delayed.  Here you can see large crowds of people standing around.  Many of the kids took to playing with the carts, and some even started large games of soccer up and down the halls in the terminal.  We actually were the only people in the entire terminal and we had the run of the place.  Ok, the children had the run of the place.  Lets just say, kids can amuse themselves for hours by sitting in luggage carts and pushing themselves down the moving walkways, so that they pick up speed to continue to race down the halls.  I am sorry I didn’t get video of this, it was really something.
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One of the major serious problems was being trapped passed customs.  Since we went through already and our passports were stamped, we were not allowed out.  People ended up smoking in the terminal because they could not get outside.  After a while the lights went out as it was late and the airport was “closing”.  The one cafe in the international terminal did stay open for us, which was nice.  I honestly think the store would have been looted if the employee left.

Around 4:32 am, yes AM, we got word that the plane was landing soon.  Most of us did not believe them.  The trouble now was that our tour guide was to meet us at 9 am at the hotel and we had things planned for the day, so now we would need to rest at some point.  I did not sleep at all.  I actually did a lot of work on the computer.
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Here you can see the estimated departure at 5:40 am, and you can just barely see it was scheduled for 21:00 or 9 pm.  The Casablanca flight was cancelled, but some of the Marrakech passengers left and others decided to be put up in a hotel, so they came up with a plan.  The hotel was not really an option for us since we would never get to Marrakech to see anything because we only had 2 nights and 2 days there.  So we waited, as did others from the cancelled flight.
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At just after 6 am, we left Barcelona on a plane carrying passengers from 2 different flights, with open seating because they had no record of the seats from each flight.  Some seats would be double booked, but there would be enough seats for everyone.  This was not so good for us since we were assigned row 3 and this was like business or first class on this plane.  We wound up all the way in the back.

It was a really stressful experience getting on the place because many other cultures do not respect manners in the same way we would expect.  They had no concept of a line even though most of us were standing in one and they had no problem pushing and cutting you off.  The often bumped you while waiting and did not carry if they smacked you with their bags.  It was very difficult to deal with because you would expect people to get this idea of waiting your turn, but it is just a very different culture with some of the European and African cultures. 
The time finally came for us to descend on Casablanca.  This was of course an unscheduled stop to allow those other passengers off, but at least we got to say we stopped in Casablanca.  Here is the view from the plane.
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This is the Casablanca airport.
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After about 20-30 minutes, we took off again for Marrakech.  This time we moved up front and had more room to spread out.  Here were are approaching Marrakech.
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Oh yes, we are here, and only 12 hours later than we planned for!
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This was a very happy moment, walking in to the building.  I was glad we were going to be able to visit Morocco.

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been delayed on a flight?  Ever stuck at an airport overnight?

4 comments:

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I can't believe it but I have NEVER had a plane delayed before! Isn't that crazy? Now I have never flown anywhere internationally, so maybe that is why, but I have flown at least 15 places in my life (therefore have taken about 30-40 planes, if not more) so I consider myself pretty lucky to have never encountered any delays! This sounds like torture ,but I'm glad you were able to try to make the best of it! I can't imagine how those parents felt, the ones with the kids. I would probably go insane!!

Mer said...

WOO HOO TARRAGONA!!
I have in fact been stuck @ an airport, i slept @ Logan Airport Jr year of HS b/c I was looking @ Boston University in the middle of a NorEaster...and could not go home. LOL!
We were also stuck in Puerto Rico for 2 hours on our Honeymoon (going to St Croix) b/c of weight restrictions on the flight we were supposed to go on. We did get $150 credits (each) for that little boo-boo...so in the end we just started our Honeymoon 2 hours later and were $300 richer!

Beth said...

I'm sorry you had such a horrible flying experience. Stuff like that is bad enough in the states, where we all speak the same language and there aren't cultural barriers to satisfying communication, but when traveling in a foreign country, it's even worse. We were once delayed about 7 hours coming out of Rome--4 hours in the airport, 3+ hours on the tarmac in the plane. No one could ever answer our questions about why we were delayed or when we would be leaving, which was super frustrating.

Special K said...

OUCH! That is NOT fun! But, you must be REALLY calm gal, or that's what it seems like to me. The feeling of being stuck, and TOTALLY NOT IN CONTROL, really freaks us modern people out....hey, are you traveling with your MAC?

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