Leaving Marrakesh

Trip Start Oct 07, 2012
Trip End May 18, 2013

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The original posting and comments can be found here.

 October 24, 2012: 
Leaving Marrakesh

Our last morning in Marrakesh involved us waking up around 5:00 am to catch a train to Rabat.  We brushed our teeth, packed up everything, and walked to the end of our street to catch a cab.  The first driver tried to charge us 80 dirham to get to the train station, when it really should only be 15 dirham.  We told him to take a long walk off a short bridge, and started to walk away.  There were only 2 other cabs in the area and one guy offered to give us a ride for 25 dirham.  Since it was roughly 6:00 am at this time and without having my morning coffee, I didn’t have the energy to fight.  We agreed on 25 dirham and got our cab ride to the train station.

 This train ride ended up being the adventure of all adventures.  When we got to the train station, they did not have any first class tickets left, so we would be sitting in second class.  If you ever go to Morocco, trust me when I say this, you DO NOT want to sit in second class.  First class you have reserved seats and it is not flooded with people.  In second class it is a free for all for seats, and you are packed in like sardines.  This is especially an issue when you have a few packs, and don’t have a high tolerance for heat.  Sam was not feeling great from all of the Moroccan food that we had been eating, so this ride was especially tough on her.  Everything was okay until the last hour or so of our ride.  It was the day before the feast, so I would equate it to traveling on the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas.  The train was packed and everyone was traveling with luggage.  And by “packed” we don’t just mean that every seat was full. We mean that there were at least three people standing in the leg room area of our compartment, and trying to get out into the hallway was absolutely impossible.

 The real excitement came when we tried to figure out what stop was ours, when next to no one could speak English, and you couldn’t see signs at the train station.  Rabat also had two stops, so we got up when we first heard Rabat.  At this point, you could not even move in the train. To help you picture this better, think of some Youtube videos you may have seen of trains in Japan where people fight to get on but can’t even breathe, that is the type of setting I am talking about.  While it was packed, everyone was very cordial with one another.  We started to get up and everyone helped us out with moving our packs towards the main door.  It was like a conveyor belt being passed on down the line.  My big pack was actually put outside of the train, until we realized it was the wrong stop.  An extremely nice Moroccan person almost threw out his back picking up my pack and putting it back on the train.  At this point I was sweating like I was in a sweat box, and Sam looked like she was going to be sick. I was about to be sick and was borderline going to pass out. And since we had already stood up for our stop our seats were long gone so we had to stand crammed up with other sweaty and smelly people. We were almost ready to force our way off the train at that point, even though it was the wrong stop.  We rode the train for another three minutes or so, then finally got off in Rabat.  I would say getting off this train was one of the happier moments of my life.

 Our Overall Marrakesh Experience
 (scale 1 to 10): 5

 Marrakesh had potential to be fantastic and exotic, but overall it was too much harassment. From the second we walked out of the hostel until the second we came back there were constantly people approaching to ask us to buy something, or demand we come in their shop. There were positive aspects of the Moroccan culture that we appreciated (the food, the Hammam, the lifestyle), but they were barely worth the aggravation and energy it took to be a tourist here. By the end of our time in Marrakesh we agreed that we spent one day too long in this city… it’s never a good sign when you’re looking forward to leaving.

 Check out our full Marrakesh Picasso photo album.
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