Friday, September 13, 2013

Morocco ~ Getting here: en route to RBA

I did not have long to choose what fork in the road to take. Our fellow traveler had a plane to catch and I had face to keep in front of the desk agent. I decided to wait. It turned out to be the right decision. Less than fifteen minutes after I risked what I had for what I may have a wheelchair shown on the horizon. It headed our way. For the time being we were rescued.

The wheelchair accompanied us through security and onto the next gate. From there on we were on our own. I was taking it one phase at a time. I was not sure how else to handle the situation and trusted that help will reveal itself when needed.

Then, I saw what the US agent had been referring to as "strollers." There, with the luggage carts, stood stroller-like mechanisms on which I could dispose JR and make my way through the airport. They were not by any means strollers but they functioned as such, and that was good enough for my purposes. I piled JR and as many carry-on bags as I could on there and took a "stroll" through the terminal checking things out, making diaper change breaks, potty visits and time wasting trips. JR was so fatigued, though, that we spent the best of the four-hour layover at the gate with her in deep slumber on the couches and Yousef in deep sleep in my arms.

Soon it was time to board. Time to face the music of the carry-on bags again. Time to face the Air France ground agents again. And again, I had to come face to face with them. "We will be conducting carry-on luggage checks. Any over-weight, over-sized, or over-numbered bags will be checked," came the voice of a lady. "Wonderful," I thought. Just another hurdle for me to get over. I was not ready to part with any of my bags; each served a particular purpose. The pink shoulder bag had edibles, the ruby dot shopper bag had diapers, clothes and entertainment, the orange back-pack had electronics, and my purse carried our passports. There was no way I was giving any of these bags away. I had to come up with a plan.

"Are they coming with us?" came a question in familiar Arabic behind me. The man was referring to a group of ultra-conservative Jews praying at the terminal before the flight. Saved! I thought. "I am not sure," I responded, "are you headed to Rabat?" "To Fez. Do you need help?" And with that, we divvied up the luggage and walked together to the plane. He stowed them for me, helped us to our seats and sat in the row opposite us. The arrangement could not have worked better if I had planned. A traveler who spoke and understood my dialect, coming from the same place I was, heading in the same direction I was and sitting across from us. A Lebanese could not be happier to be around a Syrian!

And while the flight was short, the Syrian traveler's assistance was not. During the flight, and seeing how I did not have any hands to spare, the gentleman helped himself to our passports, filled out our travel documents, and organized matters for me. When we landed, he took our bags down, carried them through the terminal and guided us to the passport control. There, he put us in the hands of another wheelchair and parted ways. We were in Morocco.

No comments:

Post a Comment