The airport in Marrakech, Morocco is typical of many African airports – it’s busy and confusing.
There are nine flight gates, but the airport won’t tell you which gate you will be departing from until it’s boarding time. And because the national languages of Morocco are Burba, Arabic and French, it’s difficult to understand the accents that come over the PA system. So you sit in the middle of the airport obsessively staring at the departures board, hoping you will be alerted to the flight departure without missing the flight.
As we were waiting in Marrakech airport, an announcement was made over the speaker. They were calling for someone who’s name sounded like Jas Inna.
I was convinced there was no way either of our names however, Josh pushed that we should check.
We arrived at the airport gates where the announcement had been made to discover “Jas Inna” was apparently an attempt to say “Joshua McIntosh”.
Two security guards asked Josh what he had in his bags that was liquid or gas.
Josh said “Nothing”.
The guards disagreed. “There is liquid or gas in your bag”.
15 minutes before our flight was due to leave, we were escorted outside of the airport, on to the tarmac, around the corner and into a lone building. Five security guards sat around Josh’s backpack.
“PROPANE GAS?” they asked.
“No, no propane gas!” we said.
“PROPANE GAS – USED FOR COOOKING”. They pushed.
“No! We have no gas!”.
At this point – you know. Fear.
What if someone’s planted something on us? What are the laws like in Morocco? Do they have the death penalty? Probably. We’re going to die.
The guards started to search Josh’s bag and in the very bottom, they find a metal cup. A mug that Josh stole from a bar in Dublin.
“This is it!” they said “This looks like a gas bottle”.
This I feel is a good example of Karma. Steal a mug, almost get thrown into Moroccan prison.
Relieved that no one had planted propane gas in our backpacks we are then escorted back on to the tarmac and through to the airport.
But it doesn’t end there.
When we reach the airport door, it’s locked. We are locked out of the airport as our flight is about to depart, behind a giant glass door window. The security guard bangs against the glass but none of the airport staff notice.
He keeps banging. A tiny old Muslim lady see us and she approaches the glass. Not to help us but to ask the security guard for directions! “No, no, no!” he’s saying to her through the glass, ignoring eye contact with her and trying to get his colleagues attention. The woman is not swayed! She presses her airline ticket against the glass to further ask for directions. The security guard shrugs, looks at her ticket and points her to the other side of the airport.
None of the airport employees are yet to notice there are three people stranded outside the airport so we need to head back onto the tarmac, to find a plane that is boarding, so that we can push through the crowd of people trying to board the plane and walk back through the open gate.
Survived. Caught our flight.