Tuesday 4 November 2008

Culture Shock in Morocco (Day 2)

The first night in Morocco went by without anything special. The only thing bugging me was a mosquito, desperately trying to whisper something in my ear.

When we got up, we packed our stuff and walked to the CTM bus station. There are many bus companies operating in Morocco. CTM or Compagnie de Transports au Maroc is one of the better ones. We weren't expecting it but their buses are quite new and well kept. We could easily compare them to European ones.

At the station we bought two tickets and after ten minutes we were already on our way to Rabat. No, that wasn't part of a plan, we were just lucky.

Today Rabat is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. It has been like that since 1912, when French invaders moved the capital from Fes to Rabat. In the new part of the city there are many administrative buildings and foreign embassies. It is quite well kept and like Casablanca relatively hassle free.

That is one of the main reasons why we chose to visit this city in the beginning of our trip. We hoped that this time we would make it without any substantial culture-shock. After all we have been to Egypt only a year ago. Well, nevertheless it hit us.

We were over it in a couple of days, but while in Casablanca and Rabat at some times we felt a bit disoriented and confused. Luckily we didn't have any shopping plans during that time. Generally it is a good idea to save your shopping for the last days in whatever country you are. If you do that you won't have all that stuff to carry around for the rest of the trip and you also have time to figure out what is a good price for that bag of spices/oriental rug/trashy teapot you need so desperately.

When we arrived in Rabat we first had to get to the city center. Five kilometers was a bit far for us so we decided to try local city buses. It turned out to be a very cheap, moderately uncomfortable, quite crowded and dirty option.

We spent the rest of the first day in Rabat wandering around the Medina and admiring Kasbah des Oudaias.

On our way to the Kasbah we were approached several times by locals offering help or priceless advice we didn't really need. We got rid of the vultures quite easily and found our destination without any problems.

Once we got there, we were approached with a local again. He told us that it was not appropriate to walk around the Kasbah during the time of Ramadan. We didn't know whether to believe him or not, but after a bit of hesitation decided to carry on with our wandering around despite his warning.

It turned out to be the right thing to do - there were lots of other people around and the locals didn't seem to bother at all. We couldn't figure out what was that man up to. This thing really got to M. and she was grumbling about it for the rest of the day.

Besides that event we found the Kasbah with it's surroundings very interesting and picturesque.


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