ET Phone Home -- or 'The Big Red Phone' story
15 October 2010 | Chefchaouen, Morocco
Wow! The difference a half a day can make!
We left around noon from the boat for the Moroccan bus -- first to Tetuan, then onto Chefchaouen. The 1/2 hour ride into Tetuan was about $0.60 each, and the one hour ride from there to Chefchaouen was a mind-boggling $2 each!
In the Tetuan bus station we had two different guys approach us to talk to us -- one just wanted to practice his english and the other was acting as a personal tour guide of the bus station, telling us where everything is and on and on. It was pretty incredible, and also pretty incredible that neither of them wanted any money -- just wanted to be friends!
We nearly missed our bus, but an inadvertent inquiry by me got us rushing over to the right bus minutes before it left the station! Whew! The trip to Chefchaouen kinda got me seasick. It was a nice, modern bus. But Chefchaouen is up in the middle of the Rif mountain range. So the road is windy and bumpy and I was getting jostled around pretty well.
We arrived and had a taxi take us to the Hotel Parador ($1.50 for the taxi!) from where I could call the b&b we are staying at to come get us. This gets REALLY interesting! We don't have a phone, so I need to find one. The hotel won't let us use theirs, and we check for wifi to try Skype. Not happening.
So a guy directs me around the corner to a store with a phone I figure it is like an internet cafe, only with a row of phones. I find this store, walk in and ask if I can use his phone. The shopowner walks me back outside to a small table upon which sets this big, bright, red plastic phone! I mean, I swear I saw this phone in Toys-R-Us several years ago!
Only this phone has a slot in it where you can put coins! He slips in two dirhams (20 cents), dials, and hands me the receiver. There is absolutely no sound whatsoever on the line and I am thinking "So whose fool do I look like?" About then the party I was calling answered and we had a short conversation. When I hang up I get one dirham returned to me! The bloody phone has a return coin tray!! I couldn't believe it.
Total cost of call -- 10 US cents! Total cost of experience -- priceless!