Weds 9th & Thur 10th September
Casablanca, Morocco – Weds 9th & Thur 10th September
We take the afternoon train from Rabat to Casablanca once our passports have been collected. The walk to the station with approximately 30kg’s of luggage is a hot, sweaty and an all round exhausting experience. We have to fight our way onto the very crowded train which is not easy carrying so much luggage. During the journey a large rock unexpectedly comes crashing through our window with a loud bang and sending shards of glass far and wide. Fortunately the blind was down preventing the rock itself from actually hitting anyone. We struggle to get off the train at Casa-Port as people start pushing their way on board before we can offload. Loaded down with luggage, we end up descending down the train steps on the non-platform side and crossing the tracks in front of oncoming trains! Then we are crammed into umpteen ‘petit taxi’s’ for the mad drive across town in Ramadam rush hour traffic.
We are all kept awake by the mosquitoes and a loud thunderstorm followed by a torrential downpour which cuts short Ramadam night parties and our sleep.
All the non-Brits of the group (majority) head off to the Senegal embassy early the following morning to obtain visas and this time get asked to produce their Yellow Fever certs. The rest of us explore the Souks in the Medina in the pouring rain. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by a French architect, situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic. There is room for 25,000 worshippers and a further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque’s courtyard. The 210m minaret is the world’s tallest and the whole building is vast. Just a stone’s throw from the mosque is Casablanca port, one of the largest artificial ports in the world.
We finally find a place to eat only to be told again that 95% of the menu is currently unavailable! Back at the hotel we catch our first sight of the Truck, at last! Tortuga and Darren have made it to Casablanca and we will finally be making our first journey by truck power tomorrow morning with a full crew of two. I’m slightly concerned by the electric wires hanging loosely along the side of the truck but all in all she looks in good shape. Goodbye hotels, hello tents! Hope it’s not raining in Fes.