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Archive for November 3rd, 2011

We arrived to Casablanca after 20+ hours of travel; tired but invigorated by the excitement of it all. Neither of us slept on our journey, as we both suspected. It was, non eventful. We were able to get into the Air France/KLM business class lounge for an additional $34 each-well worth it, the most luxurious part of our journey. The rows of taxis at the airport are all Mercedes Benz, and they are all junkers, barely any rust on the outside, but really beat up on the inside.
The taxi into Casablanca was exciting; traffic mayhem everywhere; the cabby (we communicated by our broken French) said the trip should be 1/2 hour, it was 60+ minutes! People cross willy nilly everywhere.
There is a small truck with sheep on its roof! Yes, sheep on the roof! The have a loose net to protect them! The cabby tells me that on Monday 5 of these roof sheep fell off and were killed when the driver took a corner too fast!
The smell of diesel and constant honking (drivers have little patience) reminds me of my childhood vacations in Budapest. The city is in disrepair; construction is everywhere, it does not look rich. Our hotel, a Royal Meridien in the Medina (town centre) is very nice. It is tastefully decorated on the traditional Moroccan style, with some western influences (relatively modern bathroom, A/C).
Our first dinner was in the hotel, we were both beat from not sleeping for 30+ hours. It was exceptional; our waiter took extra time to explain some of their food, he seemed very excited to tell us about it. The service is wonderful, food incredible! He let us borrow the fez (hats) for the photo that he also generously took for us.
We had an incredible sleep and now we’re on our way by train to Marrakech! Sadly, we arrive one hour before the train was to leave and the first class is already sold out. This trip will be a humbling experience. It’s pouring rain and not overly hot nor humid. The ride is 3+ hours, it’s quite warm and the windows don’t open.
I shall update this post as I can.
The train is late; seems to be expected, people are arriving 10 minutes after it should have left. A family with two ladies carrying their babies arrive beside us; two young gentlemen literally jumped up from their seats on the platform to offer it to them – would happen infrequently in Toronto. The train is like the commuter in Chicago, pretty much the same vintage. It’s packed; we chose a car and enter with two weeks worth of luggage. The attendant makes an old guy get up and move to another car so we can sit together. People are very pleasant; they speak Parisian French; thank God I know a little!
The countryside is flat, and not overly green. The few cows, mules and dogs we’ve seen are reasonably healthy looking; not like the Caribbean, where you can count their ribs.

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