Opting for the early flights never seems so bad until you’re boarding an airport bus at 4am. My flight to Tangier, Morocco, doesn’t leave until 6:50, but my greatest fear in life is missing a flight so I try to get to the airport early. This is probably one of the only things in life I am ever early for.
Oh yah. Did I mention I’m going to Morocco?! I’m super super stoked. This trip will mark a couple “firsts” for me; first time in Africa, and my first time in a predominantly Muslim country. It will also be my 5th continent and the 25th country I’ve visited, just in time for my 25th birthday, which I will celebrate while I’m here! It’s all very exciting.
Living in Barcelona is anything but boring, but I’ve been craving a little adventure lately so when I found out the schools in Spain get an entire week off for Easter (or “Semana Santa”), I jumped on the opportunity to get away. I’m not exactly making bank as a teacher in Spain, so I should disclose that this wonderful trip would not have been possible without the wonderful support of my wonderful family. Pro tip: flights make the best birthday gifts.
I’ve read (and then confirmed with the information desk) that the only way to get into the city is by taxi. I agree on a fixed price of 150Mdh (Moroccan Dirham), which is equivalent to about 15€…or $20 Canadian. I’m not sure which exchange to compare on my blog now. I’m thinking in euros, but the only person who reads this is my Mom and she uses Canadian dollars so….
Anyway. Back to the taxi. Actually, before I get to the taxi, I must state that the currency exchange in Barcelona tried to rob me damn near blind. 60 euros was only going to get me about 40 euros worth of dirham. Hell no. The woman assured me I’d never find a better rate, and I rolled my eyes. When I got to the Tanger airport they gave me 60 euros worth of dirham for my 60 euros. Imagine that. A fair exchange.
Okay so my taxi. The driver and I communicate in French which is difficult for me, mostly because I haven’t spoken it properly in years, and also because I’m trying to learn Spanish, so now I just confuse the two. He speaks mostly Arabic and claims his French is horrible but I can assure you it’s better than mine. We have a nice little chat on the way into the city, and he doesn’t try to rip me off when I arrive. He does take me to the wrong address, though, and now I’m pretty lost. I don’t want to look toooooo useless, but I also don’t want to pull out my phone in the street, so I ask someone for directions. Again, we converse in French and he points me in the right direction. Being me and having a poor sense of direction, I screw up somewhere along the line and go the wrong way. He chases me down to set me straight again, which, at first I find a little concerning. He’s just been low key following me down the road? I stay a little on guard but once we get close to my hostel he leaves me on my way and doesn’t even ask for money. I’ve read/heard you can expect to be asked for money for any sort of advice or help, and was preparing for how I’d deal with that in this moment. No need!
I’ve only been here for maybe an hour…but I already think people back home have exaggerated the danger of Morocco. The people here are lovely!
I now know I’m close to my hostel, but still not exactly where it is. I have 5 hours before I can check in, so I stop at a cafe for some wifi and to get my life together. I order a mint tea and croissant. It costs 1.20€. I love it here.
The sun is shining, there is a homeless man singing across the street, and a raggedy little cat stares me in the eyes as it takes a poop in the planter next to my table. Have I mentioned how much I love it here?