“What city is your final destination?” asked the gate agent. “Casablanca,” I replied.
Landing in Casablanca is pretty much a blur. This was the fourth airport I had been in within the previous twenty four hours. And except for my home airport, I only had enough time in those airports to run between gates. (As an aside, why is it I always land in the furthest away gate in the most remote concourse, and depart from the gate that is as far away as possible and still be in the same airport?)
One of those flights took me from San Francisco to Montreal, where I would connect to the flight to Casablanca. Even though I wouldn’t be leaving the secured area of the airport, I still had to pass through Passport Control. No worries, I thought, Canada recognizes Global Entry and Nexis pass holders, and I have both. (Note: Nexis has been subsumed by Global Entry; I have what looks like a Nexis card, instead now it has “Global Entry” written on it.)
However, my Nexis/Global Entry card wouldn’t work in the kiosk, and neither would my passport, so I was back to standing in line. (I know,
quit whining about a First World problem…)
I flew business class on the Air Canada flight to Casablanca, and these had to be the oddest seats I have ever seen on a plane, particularly in business class. There was plenty of leg room, and the seat was comfortable enough, but the seats were angled so that your back was to the windows. I like to look outside during take-off and landing, and I could just catch a glimpse outside by twisting around in my seat.
From the airport I took a train to the central railway station to catch a train to Tangier. Train tickets are a bargain; a first class ticket from Casablanca to Tangier was 195 MAD, about 20 US$. There were not many people in first class; I had the six seat compartment all to myself as far as Rabat. Two gentlemen got on then, and they dozed most of the rest of the way. They were nice enough to help me get my suitcase down from the overhead shelf, where it had been placed by a helpful man in Casablanca.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see outside the window; lots of fields,
some cows, some sheep, some goats, a couple of industrial buildings. And between my lack of sleep and the gently rocking train, I dozed off as well.
I had arranged to be picked up at the train station, and I glad I did. I was staying in the Kasbah, and I would never have found my guest house on my own. Possibly Useful Information
Once you get through Immigration and Customs in Casablanca, you come out in the ground floor level of the airport. Immediately in front of you is an Information desk. The woman on duty when I talked to her spoke English and French (and probably Spanish and Portuguese as well.)
As you face the Information desk, walk to your right a little way and you will find an ATM, as well as a Telephone Maroc store where you can get a local SIM card. There are various plans available, costing between 150 and 300 MAD (Moroccan Dirhams.)
If you are not staying in Casablanca, but going immediately to another city in Morocco, your best bet is to go by train. The train station is one level below ground level, between
street to Kasbah Rose, guest house
I never would have found this on my own
Terminals One and Two. Look for the sign marked “Gare” (station.) You can see schedules at the Office National des Chemins de Fer du Maroc (www.ONCF.ma) ONCF
The first class coaches give you an assigned seat, unlike second class where you are not guaranteed a place to sit if the train is full. There are six seats per compartment in first class, eight seats per compartment in second.
Pretty much everyone speaks French – Morocco was a French Protectorate until 1956 – and many people know at least a little English.
If you are going by train, you need to get a ticket from the station at the airport to the Casa Voyageurs station; there you buy your ticket for your onward journey. A first class ticket to Tangier was 195 MAD, or about $20 US.
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