Act 2: Spain. Scene 1: Pray.

Today, I left Morocco.

We started driving to the new port which happens to be about half an hour outside of the city. We forgot to fill up the gas tank before leaving. In the US, this wouldn’t be a problem. We would have run into a strategically placed gas station. In Morocco, this is a severe error. We kept looking for one, hoping for one, like searching for an oasis in the desert. We didn’t find one and the gas tank was getting dangerously low.

Then, to make matters worse, the stupid light that we don’t understand came on. We pulled off to the side of the road hoping to let the engine cool. It didn’t. One of the things I love about Morocco is that three cars stopped to offer help. The last one actually tried to figure out the problem and decided it was fine and we could keep driving. So when we got to the port we were practically out of gas and possibly overheating the car. I felt bad leaving Tour Guide to solve all the problems.

He helped me buy a ticket and we grabbed some food. I had him watch my bag while I went to the bathroom figuring it would be difficult on the ship. I didn’t want to let my bag out of my sight.

Then I tried to get him cash to pay for the extra days of car rental. I tried the ATM that I knew took my debit card. After entering the pin, the screen went black. Black! I freaked because I didn’t know if I could get my card back. Then it asked if I needed more time. I ejected the card. I tried again. Fail. So I tried the other ATM. It rejected my card. I tried my Visa card. Rejected because my sister had put the reception dinner on it and I hadn’t had a chance to call and accept the charges. The only card left was an Amex and neither accepted that.

So Tour Guide left without the money he needed, without gas, and with the stupid warning light still on. I felt so bad about that.

I went through security. On the other side, people were waiting for buses to go to the port. There was no signage to tell me what bus to take. I asked one guy and he told me to wait inside. Wait for what?

So I asked another guy. He also told me to wait inside. No one was there and it was a gorgeous day. I sat on a bench. The first kid told me that was a good idea. Sit there. He would tell me when it was time.

I asked him how he knows. He just laughed. I was at his mercy. He started joking with me about the buses. I wasn’t sure what to think. He told me to get on a bus, them said it wasn’t my bus. Then said it was my bus. I was so confused. I got on.

On the other end, I made it past the passport check and onto the boat. I hoped I was going to the right place. I was never really sure. It looked like I was supposed to store my bags on the car deck, but I dragged it around with me. I didn’t even use the lift. This also kept me from going to the top and taking photos. I kind of regret that.

I sat inside, in a safe corner where I could keep my luggage safe, as if the drug smugglers don’t have high speed boats or jet skis. Ridiculous.

We had sat at the port in Morocco for a long time. I didn’t understand what was going on. At one point, the engineer was requested by the captain. Not a good sign. When we finally docked in Algeciras, I was significantly late.

I looked for Andalindsia in the main lobby but didn’t see her. I was nervous. I didn’t even know if I’d made it to the right place and we were late. So I turned on my phone and called.

She was at the bar drinking a coke. I was in the right place and could stop freaking out. She walked into the room and everything was suddenly okay. It had been ten years, but when you are from Maine, being around others from Maine is an instant comfort. It didn’t take long before it felt like no time had passed at all.

We drove to her house, then went out in Málaga. We walked along the new waterfront, which was gorgeous, then looked at places to eat. We settled on one on the waterfront for tapas. Then we looked for another place for tapas, but strangely enough, everyone was closing up shop early. So we headed home.

Something was wrong with the car. Just my luck, right? Turns out, the headlights weren’t on. We drove with our hazard lights blinking. But that really put a damper on us going out after dark for the rest of the week.

Andalindsia gave me her room and slept in one of the kids rooms. I was grateful and appreciated her Ikea comforter. I did wonder if they had heat. The answer is no. No a/c either. I tried to imagine what it would be like if I had no heat or a/c. I put on my wool socks to go to sleep.


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