Day o' Traveling in Morocco...
September 6, 2007
Let’s face it. When a person’s day consists of waking up at 4:30am and then hopping from one form of transportation to
another until about 9:15pm, there’s really not too much to talk about.
But, as often comes with traveling, there were some very pleasant experiences that I will share…
First was my amazement that everything went according to plan. I’ll just lay out all of the factors that needed to go right:
actually waking up at 4:30am (made even more difficult after having several glasses of wine last night and staying up chatting
with Melissa until at least 2:00am – that was the point when I refused to look at my watch again), finding a taxi to take me to
Victoria Station (harder than it sounds at 4:50am), taking the Gatwick Express train to London Gatwick airport, my EasyJet
flight to Madrid, my EasyJet flight from Madrid to Casablanca, the train from Casablanca airport to Casa Voyageurs, the train
from Casa Voyageurs to Fes, a taxi from the Fes train station to the medina and then a person to walk me through a maze to
get me to my riad where I was spending the night. Whoa. That made me exhausted just typing about it.
It sounds like a pretty excruciating day. But for some reason, it wasn’t. First of all, I feared my EasyJet flights. I had no idea
what to expect. But I had great experiences both times. Everybody was as sweet and pleasant as could be. Plus I was able to
score some shut-eye on both flights.
Then came my train rides in Morocco. I splurged on the extra $6 for the first-class train tickets. Last time I might not have
done this – but this time around I feel like I am worth it. I met some very nice people in my train car. One woman invited me
to her sister’s house in Meknes to stay for the night. Even though we couldn’t communicate well (she only spoke French and
Arabic while I only speak English and some Spanish), she still extended the offer. I also met a nice Spanish man who was
familiar with Fes and spoke to the taxi drivers to tell them where to take me after we got off the train. Just one day into my
trip and I was already giving people kisses on the cheeks to say our farewells…
I arrived at my riad and immediately felt at peace once I entered. In true Moroccan style, there was a tagine on the table. I
was told to sit down with everyone and tear off some bread so that I could have some – who knew beans could taste so good
(as the dish was just beans sans skins cooked down for a long time – it looked a bit like hummus)? Allah, the man of the riad
(he is Iraqi and married to Kate who is Norwegian), then poured some port wine for us. What happened to my detoxing in a
It came time to go to bed. This was when Kate showed me my room. My mouth dropped. I can’t even begin to write how much
character and charm it has. The doors themselves are truly amazing – the main ones are at least 12-feet high with small doors
built into them that are the size of normal doors. I wish I could write in detail about the designs on them as well…but my
vocabulary only goes so far. And I haven’t even begun to try to discuss the tile work in this place…
My train leaving from the Casablanca airport.