Wishing I were there right now . . . .
My new plates have arrived.
I purchased four dinner plats and four salad plates in Fez, Morocco, on my recent visit there. These are all hand painted. I witnessed things like this being made at the shop, and then decided I had to have some.
I keep dreaming about Tangier. Vivid, happy dreams.
Paul Bowles wrote that the best thing about Tangier is “the feeling it gives of being in a pocket of suspended time and animation.” And Truman Capote found Tangier a “basin that holds you, a timeless place . . . .”
Tangier, and Morocco, is an enchanting place indeed.
My latest trip to Morocco included some souvenirs. The handmade pottery plates will arrive in a few weeks, since I had them shipped. But the new pillows came home with me.
I stuffed these pillows and sewed up the openings this week.
These are substantial pillows — heavy wool, made by hand on a loom, by Berber women. Or so I was told. In any event, I like them!
After going public last week with frustrations and dead-ends, I am now on the receiving end of some resolution.
Iberia Airlines did not have a lost-baggage or delayed-baggage compensation claim form on their website. Every mention of delayed baggage led to a dead end.
I pointed this out to my wonderful contact at American Airlines, Liliana, who simply said “Let me see what I can do.”
And a day later I had a call from Central Baggage Resolution at American Airlines. Two days later, this email arrived:
“Thank you for contacting us and for your patience while we reviewed your claim. Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience you experienced while traveling to Morocco.
“As we discussed, I’m sending you a check for $410.17 that you should receive in two to three weeks.
“As a gesture of goodwill and to encourage your continued business, I’ve made arrangements for an electronic voucher (eVoucher)” for use toward the cost of an airline ticket.
This was Iberia’s mess to clean up, but American stepped in and took care of it.
Folks, social media works. So does kindness, which I have extended in oodles to every American employee with whom I have spoken. So does directness in stating the problem and the expectation of what a resolution will look like. General gripes don’t gain resolution; specific requests do, even if the resolution is “we cannot do that, and here’s why.”
So once the voucher and the check arrive, this whole incident will be a story to tell and a memory to file. A mild inconvenience is over.
THANK YOU, American Airlines!
We are at the Madrid airport in the Neptuno lounge, waiting an hour for our flight to begin boarding.
While this holiday has not been without its challenges, this trip has done exactly what it was supposed to do: help me leave behind some daily cares for a while, be a time of friendship and camaraderie, and give me even more understanding of Morocco (and more reasons to return).
The challenges have included no luggage (found only as we were leaving Tangier) and a lingering touch of The Portuguese Revenge from the local water in Fès.
But the joys!–
- the blue of Chefchaouen
- that camel ride
- several memorable meals
- talking with locals
- the corniche in Tangier
- Kevin’s glee at buying spices at the market in Meknes
- the medina in Fès
- attentive staff at riads and hotels
- medicine delivered to the hotel
- sights and sounds and scents (and smells) to fill a lifetime
Some of my favorite photos from the past ten days:
Arriving at the Tangier airport, I asked of the Iberia agent about my luggage. She called the service desk.
“Yes, sir. Your luggage is here in lost and found.”
And thus I was united with my luggage, which had apparently arrived on our around May 23, three days later than I did.
Of course, no one from the airport called the hotel, even though they knew where I was staying. And no one from the hotel seemed to be able to find the luggage either, or knew who to call at the airport.
[An update at 6 p.m. Madrid time on Tuesday: as of this moment, according to the screen captures on my computer, Iberia is still showing my luggage as lost with a WorldTracer on it. No one at TNG scanned a bar code, or even asked me to sign anything. No wonder this system is a mess.]
I have my luggage. Now I I have fresh clothes, thanks be to god. And all my toiletries.
Next: doing battle with the airlines for reimbursement, and doing battle with the private insurance company to gain restitution as well.
Here are the original posts, in chronological order: