My first impression of Morocco was not a good one. It was 1998 and we had taken the boat over from Spain to Algiers. Our 7 year old daughter was with us along with my cousin, Katy.
After exiting the ship we were greeted by men who insisted that we needed their help to get to the train station. After being repeatedly harassed we were determined to either:
A: re-board the ship due to the harassment
B: Somehow get to the station ourselves.
We opted for the latter. It is the only time that I have traveled that I felt scared and as we were leaving the ship yard sounds of “They are going to kill you out there!” trailed along behind us. But finally we made it to the station, where without much of a wait, we boarded a train to Casablanca.
What an experience. Men who refused to wear deodorant surrounded us along with a few caged chickens here and there. We saw shepards herding camels and sheep dressed in traditional garb. We watched as hard boiled eggs were purchased by the riders at almost every stop. We saw community wells where women washed their clothes together and farmers with machetes harvesting sugar. Donkey carts trotted alongside the train as we crossed the countryside. Slices of Moroccan life flew by as we made our way along the shore and then inland.
The train was a comfortable place to view a little bit of this exotic country if you discount the bathrooms on it. Standing over an open pit while using the facilities with a train swaying to and fro was a testament to good balance…or not.
One of these days I would like to return to Morocco. I would like to experience Fez and the surrounding area. Until then I remember with fondness our ride on the slow train through the countryside of Morocco.