A trip from a colorful hostel in medina to the railway station in Marrakech, Morocco
like a man who’s being stood up on a blind date for five more minutes when I remembered something that happened to me when I went on an amazing trip to Ouarzazate on my second day in Morocco that might explain why Ahmed had not approached me yet. I called the hostel again to ask to call Ahmed and tell him to look for the biggest Asian guy in the room. Less than a minute later, a skinny guy introduced himself as Ahmed and asked to confirm if my name is Enriquez.
While we were walking to the hostel, I told him the Philippines was a Spanish colony for three hundred years and that our ancestors had to give up their last names and pick a new one from a list of Spanish last names. He kept walking without a word. He didn’t seem to find my basic knowledge of Filipino history to be amusing.
The guests I hung out with the night before immediately greeted me and gestured to invite me to sit with them. I was surprised they were up so early after we stayed up pretty late at the hostel’s rooftop to talk about gross movies (do not google “The Human Centipede”) among other things. Before I knew it, I had one cup of tea too many and only had a little less than an hour left before I take a train to Rabat. I needed to reach Rabat not later than 6 pm to make it to my 8 pm flight back to London.
If everything goes well, I will reach the taxi stand in 10 minutes. It will take me another 20 – 30 minutes to reach the train station in a taxi. I stepped out of the hostel and saw the medina like I’d never seen it before. he alleys were devoid of tourists and most of the stalls were still closed because it was too early. This seemingly new environment threw me off a little bit so I ended up making one wrong turn that caused me at least five extra minutes.
I hopped in the first taxi I saw when I finally reached the stand. Filled with overwhelming anxiety, I was convinced that the only way I could be certain that the driver knew my destination was for me to speak in French using words I’d picked up in the past few days.
“My friend, road close,” said the driver.
I stared at him. “Why?”
I understood what he meant. “Ha. Like Tour de France?”
“Yes! Like Tour de France, Tour du Maroc.”
“Perfect. Why do healthy people always ruin things for me?” was my irrational response.
“What? We can go other way.”
“Don’t worry. It’s fine. I’ll walk. Merci!”
It was drizzling. I stepped out of the taxi, put my hood up, and ran to the train station like I’ve never run in my life. With the inflatable arch behind me, it looked like I was running away from the finish line. I don’t remember how long it took me to reach Gare de Marrakech. Before I even had the chance to catch my breath, I asked someone at the ticket counter if my train has left the station. I was about two minutes late.
“M*rde,” I cursed under my breath. At least I learned I could say one French word with conviction.