I can hardly breathe. My brow is drenched in sweat, but my hands are cool and clammy. My legs are threatening to give out from under me. And my heart is racing in a contest it can't win. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Why does the thought of us leaving Morocco in less than a year make me panic? And does anyone got a paper bag handy? Anyone?
I can't believe we've lived in Rabat for a year and a half now. The first year crawled by in a slow dolor as we adjusted to life in Morocco, made friends, developed a routine and learned how to get things done here in Africa. And then we learned sometimes, ok a lot of times, things just don't get done here. We learned to accept that. Then we realized, we're on the downhill part of our adventure. And we're picking up speed and we can't slow this donkey cart down! And before you know it we're going to have to say goodbye to our friends, the chaos, the smell of burning garbage and Morocco. Ok, I will NOT miss the putrid smell of burning garbage bags. And I know we'll keep our friends, even though we won't be able to see them everyday. But the travel? God I'm going to miss the travel!
I mean we'll still travel, but it probably won't involve camel rides, squat potties, eating goat meat and getting parasites, being haggled by vendors, being molested by monkeys. Or being molested by vendors who are being haggled by monkeys. Whatever the case may be. You know, the good stuff. And strangely, I'm going to miss the total insanity of it all. And then I'll miss the chance to up and escape that insanity by way of a short flight to cultured Europe where we get to eat with utensils, obeying traffic laws and be utterly raped by the Euro (or Pound, as the case may be). Do you see my conundrum? Why? Why would I want to give this all up? I won't. Not without a fight. This is why I'm in the midst of planning 4 trips in the next 3 months.
One of these trips is to London next month. Now, England has never been on my list. It just seems boring and unintersting. I mean we left on a pilgramage from there years ago for a good reason, right? I'm pretty sure it was more affordable dental care and a revolt against Yorkshire pudding. Have you eaten that crap? It's well worth a revolt, it's disgusting! So what could make me suddenly change my mind? Two magic words. CHEAP TICKETS. And by cheap, I mean cheap! From Morocco to London, for 6people all for the low, low price of $600! Yes, for ALL OF US! It's like they're paying us to go! Except Citibank is pretty sure I am the person legally responsible for paying this freebie back. Pack you're bags kids, we're going to England!
So, Craig was in Tanzania when I had my England epiphany. When I called to tell him about the tickets he was all like, "You don't want to go to England, remember?" And I was all like, "It's $600, remember?" At this point he knows I've already made up my mind and he knows I'm terminally stubborn. Did I mention he's the most patient man ever? Did I? Maybe not by choice, but he married into it. I took his silence on the other end of the phone as an indication that he was totally on-board with London. So, I got off the phone and bought the tickets. I would be a fool not to, right?
At the same time I'm also making travel arrangements for biggest trip our family will ever take in December. Which is of course also the most expensive trip we'll ever take too and that's how I know it's the biggest trip we'll ever take. We'll be broke after it. But this is what money is for right? Money is for travel. Oh, maybe it's for kids college funds. What am I saying, by the time our 4 kids are all college age, we won't be able to keep up with the rising costs of a college education x4 anyway. So, see? This all works out. It's totally justified. And then last week, I made the biggest credit card purchase of my life. Citibank can confirm this, in fact they did. They called me yesterday to confirm I would actually ante up. I swore I was good for it. I think they've heard that once or twice before though.
Craig returned from Tanzania and checks his inbox sees the London itenerary and discovers something's missing. The return trip. Dooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh! Are you f%&^*@g kidding me? Am I that much of a moron? Yes. Yes, I am. No wonder the dang flight was so cheap! No problem, we'll just get a refund. But, oh....no we won't. Because I bought non-refundable tickets. Doooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!
Ok, so what are we going to do? Because, not going? It's NOT an option at this point. So I go to book the return flight I thought I booked originally. But Ryan Air doesn't have flights available on that day. Craig investigates every other airline to try to get us cheap tickets home on the day we want to return. Nothing. Ryan Air does have availability two days later than we planned. Ok, we're just gonna suck that one up and buy it. Now we've doubled our airfare and we extended for our stay. Our expenses have increased by over 100% and we don't even have a place to stay and we haven't even calculated food. Do you know how much my kids eat? Whatever, we'll figure it out.
Did I mention that the airports our cheap-o airline uses are cheap because they aren't in fact anywhere close to your actual destination? So we'll arrive at an airport so far outside London I think it's actually in Belgium. With public transportation and a schedule in English we'll be able to get into town no problem. Now, we just have to find a place to stay. I research our options. Sweet baby Jesus! Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent hotels and apartments in London? A LOT! It becomes clear pretty fast that we are not going to stay in London. So we start looking at apartments in Belgium. We won't be close to anything except the airport, but it will be affordable at least. Wait, nothing it actually "affordable" anymore.
At this point, I don't even care if we see anything there. We're flippin' going to England, damn it! Sure, we're 40 minutes or more outside of civilization. At least we'll be able to cook in the apartment so we don't have to buy that expensive English food. Who wants to eat that crap anyhow? I'd rather eat goat, which actually is quite tasty, I must say. I'm sure we'll meet lots of interesting Brits on the public transport. Oh my gosh, it could be all educational too! Get this, the kids could do a science project on dental hygeine in the UK. It could be a comparative study between Morocco and England. Maybe they could get college scholarships out of it. A little too far fetched you think? If nothing else, we can sit in the apartment watching tv (sorry, telly) in English. Somehow I think my kids would honestly think that that was the best vacation ever.
It just hit me! The Clash is from England and the title of our blog is a Clash song. I think this means we were meant to go to London, but it probably just means I should have titled the post London Calling. Like that song is the precursor to the calamities that will befall us there.