Morocco Fragments: On The Way To Marrakesh
Finally on the train to Marrakesh. Everybody insists on talking to me in French, even after I point out that I don’t speak a word of it. I only walked the block around the Casablanca Voyageurs train-station and I don’t like it one bit. I wonder what the city is really like. I want to enjoy Morocco, but it looks like it’s going to be a chore, especially with a budget like mine. The weather certainly isn’t helping. It’s dreary, cold, and wet outside and makes me want to hide in my hotel room for the three days I have in Marrakesh.
Looking out the train window the scenery isn’t that different from Syria, similar vegetation, similar run down towns in the middle of nowhere. For a few seconds I felt like I was back home. The square minarets shake me out of my willful illusion screaming “this is not the land you long for.” But that is another story for another time. Maybe that time will never come.
Feeling desperate for an internet connection. I’m wondering if my last-minute couch surfing requests sent from the airport received a reply. I’m tired and haven’t eaten all day. It’s 2 PM now. I’m torn between checking in at the first hotel I see, or looking for somewhere to get online and maybe with some luck crash on a total stranger’s bed. The clouds are breaking, and sun light makes a brief appearance before getting blocked behind ominous clouds again.
I’m sharing this small space, this 6 passenger compartment, with three other riders. A French middle-aged man and woman, and a younger Moroccan woman who seems to be in her late twenties. I formed my own little francophobic island. My fellow passengers are kind enough to use English or Arabic when attempting to communicate something to me. A T-shirt that says “Je ne parle pas Français” would have been a great idea. Hindsight is 20/20.
Another stop. This compartment might get crowded. I’m crossing my fingers that we won’t have to share this compartment with a young man who thinks it’s a good idea to use his cell phone as a boombox on board the train. A couple of minutes of anticipation then a sigh of relief. My colony on wheels is not accommodating yet another conqueror. Heavy rains now encompass my fortress of solitude. The heat is broken. So much for first class. I could have saved 50 Dirhams and huddled for warmth with passengers in the second class, but then I wouldn’t be writing this. Time to get some shut-eye.
P.S. This post is part of a series of posts I’m writing about a visit to Morocco. I have already left the country. Expect more to come soon.