Thursday, November 17, 2016

Morocco Day 2

I didn't like Casablanca. It is a sprawling city with air pollution that clogs the lungs and stings the eyes and it is too big to walk. But it was never our destination beyond a port of entry anyway, and I was happy to depart.

I had left the second day of our trip open, thinking perhaps we'd spend the day in Rabat on our way to Tangier. Only I forgot we'd have our luggage, and there was no way we were going to lug that around all day. Deciding to save Rabat for the end when we can stay and have a place to leave the bags, we would go straight to Tangier.

Then I bought tickets for Rabat without thinking. 

It wasn't until we had been sitting on the train waiting to depart for Rabat when it dawned on me that I had unconsciously bought the wrong tickets. I guess part of it was jet lag, and part of it was disorientation from being in a new country, but Chris never said a word about it either. We got off the train and went to purchase tickets to Tangier. Of all the stupid things.

We caught the slow train; I was unaware or had forgotten that Morocco has high speed trains between Casablanca and Tangier. Of course, the ticket people were not at all helpful, telling me that the train to Tangier was in another train station but not telling me how to get to that train station. We taxied over there, discovering that the 9:30 to Tangier was late. The line was long; we did not think we’d make the late train. When I got to the window the woman didn’t even ask if I wanted a highspeed train. She gave me the 11:30. It was 10am. We still made the 9:30.

At first, it was thrilling to see the Moroccan countryside and the towns we passed through. Forty percent of the Moroccan population works in agriculture; most of them are small time farmers, and many can’t afford modern equipment. I watched as people toiled in fields and rode donkey carts and marveled at the anachronism of it all. It wasn’t until about three hours in when I started to wish the trip would end. Almost five hours later, it did end. It was 3pm, barely enough daylight to do anything. We caught a cab at the brand new train station in the brand new part of the city with towering international hotels near the glistening new port.

I never cease to be amazed at cab drivers who don’t know the cities they drive in. The driver had to call someone to give him directions to our hotel, which were wrong. There is a hostel of the same name, and of course, that’s where he took us. We ended up having to walk twenty minutes up hill to our actual hotel, through the winding, carless streets of the old city of Tangier, and we had overpaid for the cab ride. I thought Chris would not survive the walk. I barely did.

I’m already sick of taxis and that’s how we have to get around given the country’s limited train coverage and that we don’t want to suffer buses. Oh well, it's part of the culture.

Our hotel was in a great location. It turns out it wasn’t too far from a different city gate that was a couple of minutes away. The room was adequate and the staff was excellent. I snapped a few pics of the city from the rooftop of the hotel and we set off to look around and find some dinner. We wandered a bit; I wanted to get closer to the sea but it always seemed out of reach. We had some appetizers in a place called Carousel, where we met a man who recommended we dine at a restaurant called El Dorado, where we had fresh fish for a good price with people who actually live there. Then we listened to live traditional music at another place and talked to a guy called Rachid about Morocco and the unfortunate US election. We can’t seem to avoid that topic here. We haven’t seen too many Americans so I guess we’re something of an oddity at this time of year. There weren’t a ton of tourists in Tangier, a welcome relief.

That was day two – a five hour train ride, some walking, some food, some music, and a new friend.

view of the old medina from the hotel rooftop

rooftop laundry

cats and satellites everywhere


  1. Yum all the fresh fruit & veggies. Is than naun bread or pita bread?