Treacherous Train Rides, OR: Life’s All About the Journey… Right?

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The trip to Tangiers started off well. After quickly losing my way to the nearby Rabat Ville station, I happily met my fellow adventurers five minutes before the train arrived. Armed with peanut butter and lemon sandwiches (mine), cotton candy-flavored water (a friend’s — meant to provide energy, she said) and a peanut butter granola bar (stuffed into another friend’s purse), we set out.

On the three and a half hour trip, we saw these beautiful, (somewhat) early morning landscapes:

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And “taxis:”

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We experienced many horses, quite a few cows and one rock, thrown murderously hard enough to crack a window… which continued to crackle half an hour after original impact.

After leaving the train and finding a taxi tour, we ate at a Lebanese restaurant. This was one of the only places where people (i.e., tourists) were eating openly. I happily ordered hummus, since it’s not usually on the menu here (contrary to what Rowan and I thought back in Milwaukee).

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Then, our taxi driver took us from one end of the city to the other, speeding with clenched fists (ours) and laughter (his) past royal residences and through crowded Medina neighborhoods. After stopping a couple of times on the highway for photo opportunities, he took us to several shops situated on a mountain:

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Where I was stuffed into a djellabah and hit over the head with a fes. Then, we stopped at Hercule’s Cave:

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And later, a beach:

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Tangiers18Where some of us rode camels:

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Around 6 p.m., we decided to catch the 7:30 train back to Rabat. As luck would have it, the only open restaurant within walking distance was McDonald’s… a very Moroccan McDonald’s.

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After eating the requisite cheeseburgers and McChickens, we learned that our train was actually leaving at 9:30. Though a bit annoyed, we enjoyed feeding a peanut butter/lemon sandwich to a rough-looking street cat, drinking lait au chocolat (or, more unpretentiously, hot chocolate)

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And imbibing this beautiful landscape:

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Getting home took a bit longer to get home than expected. After a bleary six hour train ride, which I deceitfully called an ‘adventurous journey’ to keep up my optimism, we arrived in Rabat around 3:30 a.m. As luck would have it, my taxi driver didn’t speak English or French, and had no idea where the American Embassy was. Luckily my fledgling Arabic was enough to get me home, and I finally sank, gratefully, into my comfortable Rabat bed.

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