Monday, April 16, 2012

Morocco, erm--the Canary Islands!

How do you buy a plane ticket to the wrong country and not realize until you're about to board the plane?
To start, you'd have to be me!

Sigh. One item on my bucket list is to visit all seven continents, so when I found out that I was going to be living in Spain this year I was really excited: Morocco's right next door! All I had to do was arrange the details. Read every Lonely Planet article--Check. Contact some veterans--Check. Convince burly man to accompany me so that I don't get trafficked--Check! It seemed like everything was going to be great. I even found a direct flight on the cheap!

Rob and I spent the night before our big trip scrutinizing our itinerary and tying up lose ends. After all of Mom's worrying, we absolutely had to make sure that we did not get kidnapped in Morocco! 

As it turned out, we didn't even make it into the country.

Rob and I at the cathedral in Santiago, completely ignorant of our fate...

Thursday was a big general strike in Spain, but luckily our flight wasn't canceled and my friend Teresa was kind enough to drive us to the airport in Santiago. She dropped us off and went to park the car. She didn't need to come in, we told her, we'd be fine, but she is very nice and insisted on seeing us off, just in case there was a problem because of the strike. Everything went smoothly, though. We checked in for our flight with no problems and plenty of time to spare. Then it happened. Teresa found us and said, "I didn't see any flights to Morocco listed, only one to Tenerife--Is there a problem with your flight?" Nope, no problem--except that our tickets were to Tenerife! OOPS.

This was a pretty low moment in my life. Teresa says that our faces were priceless, which I might appreciate if thinking about it didn't evoke the same painful feeling of shame that caused the expression in the first place! The revelation posed a slew of questions. How could this have happened? Should we stay or should we go? What was our next move?

And perhaps the most significant, and potentially horrifying, hypothetical: When would we have realized our mistake if Teresa hadn't pointed it out?

After the initial shock some equally embarrassing scrambling took place--Conversations that began like, "Are there any flights to Morocco, right now? How about boats?", or, "Hi Mom...", but in the end we decided the best thing to do was roll with it and have a fantastic time in Tenerife! The tanneries in Fes, the souks in Marrakech, Rick's Café in Casablanca, and checking Africa off my list of continents, will have to wait for another day, because Rob and I had a fantastic time in the Canary Islands!

Living the good life in Tenerife!

I'm still not sure which is worse: Having to come back to Spain and tell all of my friends and colleagues that, no, I didn't go to Morocco, and, no, it wasn't because of the strike. . . Or to return to the States this summer and live with my family's opprobrium for the rest of my life! Only time will tell, but, just like our extemporaneous trip, the best option is to embrace it!

What is your biggest travel "oops!"? Have you ever been on an impromptu trip?

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