Precisely at 7:10 Saturday morning, T. and I met up at the hallowed Building 34 (my dorm) to begin our journey to the center of Rabat. After walking to Ifrane, we found a grand taxi to take us to Meknes, where we hoped to catch the 9 o’clock train to Rabat. The grand taxi contained three boys. During the 45-minute trip, in which the driver consistently stayed between 20 and 50 kilometers above the speed limit, the boys played numerous Arab and explicit American rap songs, and T. almost threw up because of motion sickness at least once.
We arrived in Meknes, where we learned the word for “pharmacy,” bought anti-nausea medication and experienced an uneventful two-hour train ride to the Rabat Ville train station. We ate an uneventful meal at an uneventful place near the train station.
Then, we entered the medina… And that’s when the fun started. T. found some sugar cane juice, which reminded her of her childhood in Egypt.
We passed by a couple of spice stands:
An odd pair of children’s rides:
And multiple strings of sheep’s wool, hanging off walls and spilling out of old furniture.
We passed by turtles trying to escape their milk crate cages:
And through a sun-dappled alleyway filled with shoes and artisanal wares:
And then, we found the briefs. Yes, Calvin Klein briefs, right in the middle of the medina, and for a very good price! Imagine our luck. Sure, mine said Gavlin Kleim, but that just makes them more exclusive than yours. My camera died, so no pictures, but let me tell you: they’re yellow, tight and oh-so-awesome.
Later, we met up with our great friend M. at Rabat’s corniche. He introduced us to snail soup at a food stand, and demonstrated how to suck the juicy snail out of its dark and silent lair:
Full disclosure — M. took this picture:
While T. ate chips, I bought a poison apple. Man, these things are ridiculous. Covered in a hard sugary glaze, the apple was impossible to bite into until another friend bashed in its surface with a fork.
We stayed at the wonderful A.’s residence in the Rabat suburb of Agdal, and had a beautiful breakfast the next morning from the French Café Paul. After meeting another friend for coffee, T. and I, joined by our friend E., headed to the train station to peacefully return to our studies.
Or so we thought. Please, count yourselves lucky that my camera died at this point.
After missing the 1 o’clock train to Rabat, we headed to the train station café to eat sherbet and Peanut Surprise ice cream (not to be confused with Peanut Butter Crunchy). We were able to find seats on the 2 o’clock train – not always easy in second class – and settled in comfortably enough. I visited the bathroom, saw train tracks rushing beneath the toilet seat, and felt secure in the knowledge that I gave back to the Moroccan rail system. Someone else had experienced this fortune, as well, judging by the dried vomit on the seat.
We got to Rabat and spent an hour waiting for a grand taxi, which seats six people plus the driver, to fill up. Finally, we had a large enough group. In the car, we listened to a screaming, badly recorded call-and-response song that lasted for 15 to 20 minutes, which inspired me to think of ways to torture my future children should they misbehave. It was character building, truly, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rabat, thank you for the memories. I look forward to returning.
Also, here’s an obligatory beach/boat picture, which is symbolic of serenity or something. Maybe you’ll find your life’s purpose in it.