Africa Bound

Last week, my friend Julie and I left for a grand advenuture- Morocco.

Months ago, as I was dreaming up my new life, I watched an episode of Covert Affairs with my parents (because you know most of my life revolved around the office and the couch/tv).  That episode she went to Marrakech, Morocco, and for some reason this struck me as extremely amazing and exotic and made my list of “Places I Want to go Before I Die”.  It’s a pretty long list.

So when I met Julie back in Rome and she mentioned that she was going to Morocco for a grant she had received to research microfinance, I jumped on the opportunity.  Luckily for me, Julie took the reins on this trip and planned everything. I met Julie in Granada, Spain, where she is studying, last Thursday and on Saturday we took the bus from Granada to Algeciras, where we stayed overnight.  Early Sunday morning, we woke up and made our way to the port to catch our ferry.

There were so many emotions running through my body that day- I had read so many scary things about Morocco that I was sure I was going to get something stolen from me, or that I would be harassed constantly on the street by strange men.  But regardless of that, I was so excited!! If you would have told ‘Couch Brittany’ that she’d be going to Morocco, she wouldn’t have believed you! Plus, since one of the things on my bucket list is go to every continent, I was majorly excited about going to Africa.

The ferry ride was pretty simple, Julie and I spent the majority of it sitting on the deck, because we wanted make sure we were out there to catch our first glimpses of Africa.

We were both so excited about the new stamp in our passports
We were both so excited about the new stamp in our passports
Squinty eyes & thumbs up
Squinty eyes & thumbs up
Africa!!!!
Africa!!!!
My view from the deck
My view from the deck
Me with Africa!
Me with Africa!
Arabic writing on the side of a mountain
Arabic writing on the side of a mountain

The ferry brought us into port at Tanger Med, and we had to figure out how to get to the Tangerville train station about an hour away.  The only problem is, the only way to get there is by taxi, and we don’t speak Arabic or French, the two languages of Morocco, and we don’t know what a standard fare is in Moroccan dirhams (100 dirhams is roughly 11 euro or 8 dollars).  As we were standing in front of the stations looking like idiots, a young Moroccan guy walks up to us and asks us if we are going to the train station and if we’d like to share a cab.  While normally I’d think this was sketchy, we didn’t really have room to be picky, so we said yes.  As he’s haggling with the cab driver over the fare, another young Moroccan guy walks up to us and asks the same thing, he joins our group as well.  Not long after that, two young Spanish guys join us, and suddenly we’re a group of six all trying to take one cab.  The fare is finally agreed upon, 35 dirham per person.  The six of us pile into this car, the Moroccon boys and Spanish boys each having to sit on each others laps while Julie and I got our own seats (perhaps chivalry isn’t dead).  Suddenly, the cab driver shoots off like bullet from a gun.  I was startled, but things when from bad to worse.  The way to Tangerville is on this windy mountain road.  The cab driver thought it was a great idea to weave in and out of the lanes passing people, even on blind curves.  I started hysterically laughing (which for anyone who knows me, knows that this means I’m terrified… I’m weird), and whisper to Julie, “I don’t wanna die in Africa!!”

After an hour of terror, we safely arrived at the train station, and once we were settled in the train Julie and I finally relaxed for our four hour trip from Tangerville to Rabat- as much as you can relax while you’re on a train in Morocco…

We survived!!!!
We survived!!!!
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