Category: Morocco, 2019

Leaving Kasbah Tamadot for Madridj

March 18

Note: because I failed to put a title on yesterday’s blog post, you may have had difficulty finding it. Here’s a link in case you’d like to read it now

Having packed yesterday, we have a relaxing morning after breakfast at the hotel. Carol reads on our balcony; I sit out by the pool.

Our driver, Moustaffa, picks us up at noon to drive to the Casablanca airport. The road from the hotel is steep and winding. All-beige towns blend into the landscape. Sheep and goats appear periodically by the roadside, and life goes on in the villages we pass through.

We drive through the new part of Marrakech, which could be pretty-much any modern city, except that everything is in beige tones. A beautiful new train station houses a McDonald’s, easily visible as we drive by. Our contribution to Moroccan culture.

Just had the highlight of our trip. Checked in at the Casablanca airport for this evening’s flight to Madrid, flying to ORD  at 11:35 AM tomorrow, and they checked our bags thru to ORD. I had specifically asked our fancy Kasbah Tamadot people to check whether this would be possible yesterday, and they reported that it would not. Just reinforces my view that you never trust nothing that nobody tells you. Now, of course, our bags may not make it to ORD, but I’m not sure I much care. Losing them would be a fair trade for not having to schlep them to and from the hotel in Madrid, and retrieve and recheck them. The fast track service our travel agent has arranged through immigration saves us considerable time and allows us to spend an hour in the VIP Lounge.

On the bus that ferries us to the plane, I strike up a conversation with a young guy who has been in the desert in Morocco for a week, training for a motorcycle race that’s coming up soon in Dubai. Boarding the plane, it turns out that his seat is a row in front of ours, and there’s an empty seat next to him. Just before takeoff, I leave Carol to her book and slip into the seat next to my new friend, Andrew Short. I quiz him about the type of racing he does, which is basically unheard of in the US, but popular in much of the rest of the world. He’s old for the sport, thirty-six, the father of 11- and 8-year old children, and says he’ll only race for another one or two years, but he clearly loves the challenge, excitement and strategy involved. His Dubai team will consist of three of its usual six members, the other three having sustained serious injuries in the last race. Weighing the pros and cons carefully, I’ve pretty-much decided not to throw my helmet into the ring to pursue this as my next career.

We arrive in Madrid at sunset

clear customs and, after quite a long wait, take the shuttle to the Hilton. Have I mentioned how nice it is not to have four more bags? The hotel is actually quite nice, for an airport hotel. We go down for a late dinner, Carol not eating, then retire.

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