As I stepped through the door from customs into the greater Casablanca area, I realized that no one was there to meet me and, once again, the feeling of “What the Hell am I doing?” washed over me.
I realized that I do this to myself intentionally and, like being unable to travel at all, the thought of not going through this process gives me the willies. But I listened to the voices around me and heard Arabic (I guess) and some French. But no English. I saw a smattering of people around – some greeting friends or family, others, I learned, were waiting to offer taxis to the lost. It was, just about, the emptiest airport I’ve seen in a long, long time. (Not that it was empty, but it was very unbusy for the middle of a weekday.)
Happily I wasn’t that lost. Just because it’s unfamiliar doesn’t mean that I hadn’t studied a map of the airport and reviewed the best way to get to my hotel in downtown Casablanca. I knew I needed cash and, though, I knew that meant looking around and looking lost, I still wandered down the hall looking for a bank ATM.
The taxi I did take to my hotel was a Mercedes. Not the kind that will ferry you as a German taxi. This car had been ridden hard and put away wet. Still comfortable, it got me it where I needed to go. The cabbie did, however, stop along the way to pick up some photocopies. I didn’t get a cut from that.
This experience is representative of my feelings of Morocco so far. There are very few black people. Lots of whites and lots and lots of brown. The country is the most advanced African country I’ve been to, but that number is limited to Tanzania & Seychelles.
Their passport agents have computers. Their Mercedes cars are beat up and old. Places are clean, but their ghettos don’t officially exist.
Morocco stands on the border. Still not sure if it belongs to Africa or Europe. Only the Straits of Gibraltar separate them – well that and a strong Islamic tradition. It is a 2nd world country (the 5 largest economy in Africa).; it is far from a first, but head and shoulders above a 3rd.