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!