Thursday, June 8, 2006

Morocco Trip: Train to Rabat

At midnight last night, I have officially been here for a week! I’ve done so much, it’s amazing. It feels like longer than a week.

I had to teach school in the morning, so I ate a yummy breakfast of cherries and then caught a taxi. I told the driver where the subdivision was, what it was called, what road to take, and showed him on the map, but he didn’t really know where it was, and I was fuzzy on how to get to the school once I got into the neighborhood. We did get to the general vicinity, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to the school, because it is sort of hidden down a side street in the middle of a bunch of newly-constructed buildings that look almost identical. I was thinking that I could do it, but I couldn’t, so I just got out of the taxi once I got as close as I could, paid the driver, went to a teleboutique, and called Mr. B. The person working there was a woman, which was unusual, but nice for me, and she gave directions of where we were to Mr. B's secretary.

He came to pick me up, and while I waited, I sat with the woman and showed her pictures of my family. (That photo album I put together before this trip has been great! I’ve showed it to just about every person I’ve met, and it’s a great conversation starter.) She didn’t speak a word of any language besides Arabic, and I didn’t speak Arabic, so we tried to talk to each other without too much success. However, when Mr. B got there, she gave me a big hug goodbye and the Moroccan kisses on the cheeks, and I felt like I had made a friend.

My time at the school was not that great. I taught from 10:30 to 11:45 and basically let the kids walk all over me. It was not good. (We were playing mafia and looking at pictures on my computer.) I left feeling blah. It was a waste of my time and theirs to cater to their whims that way. L I guess I learned about what NOT to do. These aren’t Verity kids.

When I got home, I had to pack, and Marie and I left for the train station at about 2:00. We walked the mile or so to get there, with Marie carrying a backpack and me pulling my small carry-on suitcase. If wheels could talk, these wheels sure could tell you a story! They’ve been to China, the Dominican Republic, all over America, and now, here they were, bumping over the dusty Moroccan streets and sidewalks.

We met Adair at the train station, bought our tickets to Rabat, and departed at 3:00. We had bought first class tickets in order to be assured of getting a seat, which I guess can be a problem, plus, the air conditioning is supposed to work better in first class. However, it wasn’t working at all in our compartment, and we were all stifling hot. (That was the first time I had actually felt uncomfortably hot.) Finally I walked down the train and into a different car. I found a compartment that was completely empty, and the A/C worked, so we all moved. It was over 100 degrees that day, the sun was beating down on the train, and no air was moving inside, so the A/C helped a lot.

We arrived in Rabat around 6:15 and met up with F and her 3 friends. We went to their friend’s house and sat around for a while. We looked for a soccer game to watch on TV, but we couldn’t find one, despite her’s 5 satellite dishes with about 400 channels each. Then we found out that the game we wanted to watch was not until tomorrow.

For dinner, we went to an Assyrian restaurant. The falafel was the best I had ever had, and the pita and hummus were delicious. But the most fascinating, interesting, intriguing part was the smoking. They have these huge smoking pipes (about 1 ½ inches in diameter) that are connected to a pot on a stand that burns little coals. The tubes collect the smoke, and the people suck it in through a silver mouthpiece. Then they exhale a huge cloud of smoke. Needless to say, none of our group tried that.

I didn’t get any pictures, because I had accidentally left the memory stick for my camera back at our apartment in Fez. That was stupid.

Keep Reading: Tour of Rabat
Read the Previous Post: Tour of the Medina
Start at the Beginning: The Journey Begins

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