Whitefish Lake near Elgin, Ontario, Canada. Photo taken just before sunrise this morning!
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada.

Where are they going next? Barbados! Arrive on October 25th!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Made it to Tangier, Morocco!

We didn't have to rush yesterday morning because our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 12:30pm. And so we finally got caught up on our blog posting and photo editing from our three days away in the desert without internet.

We said goodbye to our AirBnb hosts Jamila and Mohammed. They were really good hosts and we're glad we found a common ground communicating in Spanish. That wouldn't be the case with our next host!

We walked over to the train station at around 11:30. Glad we had bought our tickets the day before because was there ever a lineup at the ticket counter! Busy place. Also glad we paid extra for first class and guaranteed seating!

We were happy to stand waiting at the platform knowing that we would be sitting for the next four hours.

Our train was 5 minutes late arriving. Sure enough, 2nd class looked pretty full and it would have been unlikely that we would have nabbed a seat. We had been waiting where the front of the train would have stopped, but this time they had the one single first class car right at the back! We had to run all the way!

The first class car is made up of perhaps 10 compartments that seat six people in each compartment. The seats are bigger and comfier than 2nd class, and there is certainly more room. There were maybe seven 2nd class cars, so obviously there aren't a lot of people willing to pay the extra 30% or so for more comfort and a guaranteed seat. I've read that the average salary here is around 4,000 dirhams ($565 CAD, $440 USD) per month so that would be a big factor.

When we sat down, our compartment then only had one empty seat. But three of them got off at the next stop, and another girl got on. For most of the journey, it was just the three of us.

Again, we had a dirty outside window, but here are a few pics along the way...








There were quite a few times when the train just stopped for no apparent reason. Sometimes, it was for a train to pass going in the opposite direction, but other times we don't know why. That made us late to arrive in Tangier.

The first internet SIM card that we had bought for 30 dirhams ($4.20 CAD, $3.30 USD) had lasted just over a week. So we had purchased another one from Maroc Telecom for the same price because I had read they have better coverage than the INWI one we had. When the INWI one ran out, I insterted the one from Maroc Telecom. It picks up the signal, but I can't get it to work on the internet. I've changed the configuration setting to what are supposed to be correct, but still nothing. Looks like the phone itself works fine, but no data. I'll have to go to a Maroc Telecom store today and try to get it fixed.

Finally arrived at Tangier about 5:30pm...an hour late. Our communication with our AirBnb host has been through the daughter who lives in Paris. Her English is perfect, but it's her mother here in Tangier who runs the house. She only speaks Arabic and French. 

The daughter had told us that we can get a taxi from the train station for 15 dirham ($2.10 CAD, $1.55 USD) for the 4 km (2.4 mile) journey. But we had been sitting for four hours and wanted some exercise. We decided to start off walking and if we felt like flagging a cab, we could.

Where we are now.

Taxis are very cheap in Morocco, but we simply didn't feel like possibly having to put up with another person trying to rip us off. We're tired of having to deal with that. So we walked the whole way. Besides, when you regularly walk long distances like we do, 4 kms is nothing!

Our apartment is located pretty much right downtown on a busy street on the third floor of an older building. Our host Faiza was there to greet us, but when we knocked on the door, a young Frenchman opened it. Fortunately, he speaks quite good English and he said that Faiza was busy praying (as the Muslims are supposed to do five times a day) and she would be with us shortly.

We got ourselves settled in the room. We're actually staying in a smaller room, and being moved to the larger one tonight that the young Frenchman is occupying. He's leaving later today. 

It's not cheap, at $200 CAD ($160 USD) for five nights. But it's clean and tidy with a good location and our hostess Faiza really dotes on you trying to look after you. She had fabulous reviews, and we can see why. 

Regarding the French language, we can pretty much understand most of what she's saying, but we have a hard time responding or asking questions. Parts of it are coming back to us though. I think if we spent some time in a French environment we would end up doing okay. Considering we've only been here just over a week, we're doing okay!

It was getting late and we still hadn't had dinner. She recommended a nearby restaurant that we walked to. It turned out to be a fairly upscale place, where we shared a big chicken salad, I had a hot chocolate and Ruth an ice cream fruit smoothy. Total bill including tip was 110 dirham ($15.50 CAD, $11.50 USD). Sure put our ripoff meal in Marrkesh in perspective.

Today...we're sticking around town. My dad was here in Tangier back in 1954, so we're going to try and match up a few more of his photos!

Temperature is a little more refreshing here... calling for highs around 24C (75F) and sunny. Perfect!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On deal of the day today at Amazon.com...


And in Canada...furnace filters are 30% off...buy 'em now cheap and be ready for next year!





21 comments:

  1. Well strangely I thought the price for accommodation was reasonable compared to here. Loving the updates..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "compared to here", yes perhaps. Keep in mind that this is just a private room in someone's apartment. It's not a hotel. We have likely payed half their monthly rent for our five night stay.

      Delete
    2. Your downtown location for touring and Faiza's fabulous reviews, in my opinion, are why you are paying more per night in a private residence. When surfing through Air Bnbs for our trip to Havana, it was noted that the cost per night seemed to correlate with convenient locations, small amenities, and rave reviews regarding the hosts.

      Delete
    3. Dee, some of the places that we stayed in Italy and the one in Nice, France were also great locations and walking distance to downtown and all had great views and they didn't cost this much. Europe is suppose to be more expensive than Morocco but it doesn't seem to be working that way for accommodation.

      Delete
  2. The language of kindness often brings people together. Whenever you do get your internet back you might download a french/english app, there are lots of free offline ones and great in case of emergency or where you run into a communication roadblock. $200 does sound expensive for a room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smiles and hand gestures are wonderful ways to communicate! Yes, we have the free google translate offline app on our phone but we like to try as much as possible to not use it because we find that you don't remember the vocabulary as much. We like to try hard first to remember our French and it is slowly coming back to us. We almost totally understand what Faiza is saying to us which is a big help but we stumble with our French. I am really wishing that I hadn't let my French lapse the way that I have over all these years. Once we get a better handle on our Spanish we will start working on our French. :-)

      We think it is a bit expensive too for the five nights we are here, especially because this is more expensive than any of the places that we stayed at in Italy and France. We are getting breakfast included though, which is a nice bonus.

      Delete
  3. Enjoy the next few days, looking forward to the stories...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow love the countryside photos. I'm not sure about cost in Morocco but $32 a night American might be a tad high for two people. During fishing season in Alaska, I once stayed in a small hotel with a bed that sank in the middle. It felt like sleeping in a bowl....you couldn't stretch out you had to curl up. I complained but there were no rooms available elsewhere. I paid $110 a night without taxes. It was very clean and close to downtown. Next time I stayed there with daughter, they gave us the same sunken bed room but I said no. The manager said they upgraded the room to two double beds and new bathroom at the same price. Wow what a difference. I'll stay there again next time I travel there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. I should learn Spanish. I know small phrases to get by i.e. donde está el baño.

      Delete
    2. Keep in mind this is $40CAN for us! Yes, I think for Morocco, this is expensive, although it is a nice place and Faiza keeps it nice and clean and is a very pleasant and helpful host but we have also had great places and hosts in Italy and Nice, France. We just can't quite figure out why accommodation is more expensive here in Morocco when most other stuff is relatively cheap unless you don't pay attention to prices and get stuck paying tourists prices. ;-)

      Here in Tangier our Spanish is quite helpful to us but French is still more prevalent.

      Delete
  5. You're white, Canadian, young, so you fit the profile of someone with money. That's the reality of the world we live in. We have hyped ourselves up so much in Western countries about "the dream" that what people see on television and the internet must obviously be true. In many ways it is when you find out that most people make less than $400 a month in most countries of the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that they look at any foreigner here and think that we all have money, not just Canadian or American.

      Yep, many countries make much less but then their living expenses are also much, much less and many grow a lot of their own food for themselves which is more than most Canadians and Americans do.

      Delete
    2. I deal with alot of wealthy Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, African, Middle Eastern and Latino folks that could buy me 10X over at the drop of a hat. They would say the dream of upward mobility exists around the world and many of them have come from incredibly humble backgrounds and achieved much greatness. Many in Mexico from Lebanon orignally who migrated to Mexico to start businesses. Can't judge success based on skin color that is for sure. In this context would imagine that most of the Moroccan locals who target tourist dollars know that anyone who is not 'from here' but 'got here from away' has a few dollars worth going after and of course they would be right. Lot of Chinese with alot of bucks or yuan in this case to spread around and thus power the locally drven tourist industry.
      The dream of success is alive far and wide and I'm always amazed how people from most horrendous situations have battled all odds to succeed and raise up their next generation of family members. Cheers to them!
      X

      Delete
    3. Totally agree with you X, every country has it's haves and have nots and it is all a matter of working at making life better for yourself. Some have the mind and the gumption to do make their lives better and others only enough to survive until the next day.

      You are also right on the locals targeting any tourist that doesn't look like they are here and if they can separate you from your money then they have done their job and you haven't done yours. It is hard work sometimes though, figuring out who genuinely wants to help you and those that are trying to take advantage of you because you are a tourist.

      Thanks for your insight!

      Delete
  6. Happy that you enjoyed your trip in Morocco being a Moroccan living in Canada.
    Most of what you mentioned is correct , taxis behave strangely even with local people . There is few safety issues but the law in Morocco is very harsh on crimes against tourists than locals which helps safety for tourists.
    Knowing french is an asset since half of the country or more can communicate in French

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Despite a few problems we have enjoyed our trip to Morocco and would like to come back again because there are so many places that we would like to visit that we just didn't have time for this trip.

      We really have felt totally safe here in Morocco but we are still always conscious of our surroundings and careful not to carry too much money with us or wear lots of jewelry just like we would anywhere else.

      Yes, knowing French is definitely and asset and at least we do have the basics and all our school French is starting to come back to us. We really wish we had kept on top of our French so many years ago.

      Delete
  7. I've enjoyed most of your trips and appreciate all your work sharing them with us.
    It just happens that we are arriving to Tangier
    today Friday. Would it be a way for you to share the link to your airbnb?
    I would appreciate it soo much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mina...of course, here it is...

      https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/16070236

      The daughter, Randa, is in Paris, but is very quick about responding. It's the mother, Faiza, who runs the house in Tangier. Very nice stay, and Faiza will do whatever she can to make you happy! The daughter speaks perfect English, but the mother only French and Arabic. Really nice people.

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...