Saturday, January 26, 2008

Morocco travel letter: Tallinn-Helsinki-Agadir

This year has a good start for me. I get to add another country to my collection. It’s 28th by the world66 and 27th by the facebook count. I don’t have very high hopes for Morocco though. It’s in Africa, but is an Arabic country and I’ve been to Egypt already twice and expect the two to be rather similar. Plus, I remember well enough how tiresome the excess attention can be. However, it’s about how you travel and not where you travel, right.

We start our journey Wednesday evening with N. This must be the only positive aspect of her changing the jobs – it’s been years since we’ve been able to travel together. We take a fast ferry to Helsinki and the plane from there to Agadir early in the morning. It’s a full tourist package but with lastminute price it’s cheaper than just flight. All around us the Finnish mummos and ukkos start ordering drinks – wine, beer, gin tonics, rum colas – it is holiday and they intend to enjoy every bit of it. The middle-aged overweight man next to me fixes himself a rum cola and offers the rest of the coke to me. I don’t like to drink fizzy drinks on plane but I accept it. After all, he does it out of the kindness of his heart when he sees I’m not ordering anything. The poor Estonian girl, he must be thinking. They’re friendly, the Finns, always trying to make contact and talk to strangers. It’s hard to believe it, considering the way Estonians are, but it’s true. The 6-hour flight goes rather smoothly, despite N’s paralyzing fear of flying, especially during take-offs and landings.

We arrive in Agadir in the afternoon and are greeted by the bright and warm sun. On the transfer the guide with hypnotic voice tells us about the excursions we can buy and what there is to do in and around Agadir. I don’t pay much attention since we’re going to do everything on our own. The hotel is a monstrosity and reminds me of the hotel we stayed in Moscow – the spooky and ragged kind with long corridors, where you can easily get lost in. Seeing the rest of Agadir, we’re more than happy that we have the room already booked in Marrakech for the next night. We intend to leave early in the morning, so we have to get the tickets from the CTM office. CTM costs almost half as much as the small local bus companies, but with the help of Lonely Planet we know where their office is and at least it should be comfortable for the long 4-hour ride.

We have our meal at a seaside outdoor restaurant and drink our first sweet mint tea. Just before the bill arrives the waiter presents us with 2 roses. That’s a first! A petit taxi takes us back to the hotel. The petite taxi system is genial, they’re different colour in different cities (orange in Agadir), take up to 3 passengers and cost next to nothing. It feels good to pay less than 10 dirhams for taxi. On the way we see a MacDonalds, which has a MacArab on the menu. The rest of the evening we spend playing dice and cards and getting drunk of the wine we’ve brought along. The second wine shows a lot of resistance when we try to open it but has to surrender to the strength and willpower of 2 real-life McGyvers.


Anonymous said...

Thanks :)
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Anonymous said...

really an eye opener for me.

- Robson

Hernes said...

Hope you read the rest of the travel letter as well, not just the introductory post:)