Running Errands: Mission Impossible

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It’s that time of month again; the time of month when all the bills are due.

This means that all the relevant offices need to be located ….because for now my bills must be paid in person and in cash (a story for another day).

This Saturday I determined to be Internet Bill Day and planned my weekend activities around that very errand.

A friend (lets call her D.) and I left our building with a list of possible errands we could get done all in one afternoon. Hopes high, we set out to find a taxi. Taxis are one of the things that here, in Casablanca, I might have the hardest time adjusting to. In Casablanca,  one is  not guaranteed to find a taxi that is willing to take one to where one wants to go. Not at first. Taxis can carry up to three fares at a time. This means that one might have to wait longer to find one that has space. And sometimes (this is what baffles me the most) an empty taxi will turn a person down because he doesn’t want to drive in that direction. So. D. and I are standing on the side of the road. Waving at every red Petit Taxi we see. They wave back indicating that they are full, or that they can only take one passenger.

Now, I don’t like to just stand on the side of the road, I feel like I’m wasting time so usually when this happens I start walking. Once, I did this and ended up lost and in a neighborhood where there didn’t seem to be any taxis. Those that I did find were not in the mood to take me to where I wanted to go. What should have been a 10 minute taxi ride turned into a 45 minute trek through the neighborhoods of Casablanca. On this particular day I didn’t really feel like repeating that experience so I forced myself to wait for a taxi. It turns out that a little patience goes a long way (surprise!) and a taxi eventually motioned us to hop in.

Upon arrival at our destination we found that the Orange office (the place where wifi bills are paid) had just closed but would open again in a few hours. Fine. We walked around, did some shopping, went out for coffee… Meanwhile the streets outside are starting to get busier and busier. Young men were running around in packs waving Moroccan flags. Then I remembered: there was to be a World Cup qualifying game later that night. Casablanca was hosting the game. Morocco was competing. Things were going to get crazy. Great. Not only will there be regular evening traffic, but now there will be crazed football fans to deal with.

At the appointed time, D. and I went back to the Orange office. It was closed. The lights were off. Foolishly I had assumed that they would have kept to their time schedule. Well, that was the end of that. Of course, after all this we can’t find a taxi to take us home. Living in one of the busiest neighborhoods means that taxis don’t want to take you home because they don’t want to sit in traffic.

And so we walked.

Nothing was checked off the list.

Internet Bill Day – fail.

But this is how things work in this corner of the world. I now know that I can’t get anything done on a weekend so I won’t try. I know what side of the street to stand for the best chances of being picked up by a taxi. I ask around to find out when there are football games in town. And sometimes you just can’t pay your bills.

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