Long Trip and World Cup Final

Waking up on the roof in the morning, I took a shower (the hotel actually has one, which was a nice change since I have been using a bucket and a water scoop to take “showers” at my host-family), packed, and was ready to go to the train station. I kind of wish I could explore the city a little more, but with the train ride being 7 hours long, I had to leave in the morning in order to arrive in Fez in the evening. After getting another glass of orange juice and a bottle to go, we took the taxi to head for the train station. I managed to get a shot of the Koutoubia Mosque in the taxi.

Until today, no taxi driver has tried to overcharge me for a trip. Yet this taxi driver did not use the meter, and was asking for like 50 Dh for the trip to the train station (it costs around 10 Dh using the meter). After negotiation between my French-speaking friends and him failed, we continued to sit in the taxi, gave him a 20 Dh bill when we got to the train station, and walked away from the taxi as fast as possible. I think I saw him yelling at us, but it was him not following the rule of taxis have to use the meter.

Deciding that 2nd class is really not that much different from 1st class, I bought a 2nd class ticket. I wouldn’t call it a big mistake, after the train ride, I wished I had bought 1st class. One compartment in 2nd class seats 8 people, with no individual seats. I got into one with two other people from our group, three Moroccan women who turned out to be sex workers, and two Moroccan men. Definitely not the most comfortable part of the trip after certain language exchange behaviors. I was glad to switch to the compartment next door even though the air condition wasn’t working as well and it didn’t smell really well. The sign of Fez was a huge comfort after 8 hours.

Originally I thought I would just go home and rest, but my host-family decided not to be home. Can’t get into the house and didn’t want to spend money to go into a cafe, I went to the ALIF Riad, a study place in the medina with free Wi-Fi (they pronounce it “wee-fee” here) and shades. I watched the World Cup final there on someone else’s computer, and went to a hotel to continue after the Riad closed and the game was going past the 90 minutes. The moment Spain scored, pretty much the entire city was yelling (part of Morocco was once controlled by Spain). It’s really amazing how a sporting event could attract so much attention. Now that the World Cup is over, I wonder what those people sitting in the cafe are going to do…

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