Friday, May 26, 2006

Well I made it to Morocco! (Although unfortunately my suitcase was not as lucky!)

When I picked up my car at the rental car place, I confessed to the young man at the counter that I did not know how to drive a stickshift, and he took pity on me and gave me a half an hour lesson. I actually learned very quickly! I took off for Casablanca thinking "this isn't so bad!" Then I arrived in the city where the lines on the street (when they have them) are just a suggestion, street lights are optional, and jaywalking is the national pasttime! Add motorcycles and scooters plus to the mix, plus the fact that I have absolutely no sense of direction and you can imagine the mélée that occurred. For the most part, I did pretty well, but whenever I got nervous (which was usually when I was in the middle of a major intersection) my car stalled! Driving a stickshift with no experience is definitely the most adventuous thing that I have ever done - forget about skydiving and waterfall splunking!

After getting lost for 2-3 hours in the city (there are virtually no street signs and those they have are mainly in Arabic), I finally found my hotel. I parked my car (or rather I had a guy on the street park my car for me since it took me awhile to find reverse) and went inside. The people from the airport told me to call them in two hours to get a status report on my suitcase. Since more time then that had elapsed, I gave them a call. Fortunately, my suitcase was there at the airport (and I suspect that it was there the entire time, but that it fell off the cart or something since there is only one flight a day from New York to Casablanca...) Unfortunately, that meant that I had to drive back to the airport (they don't deliver suitcases in Morocco). So, I got back in my car, and got lost for another two and a half hours as I tried to find my way back to the airport before I finally arrived. I picked up my suitcase, jet-lagged, sweaty, and tired of driving. I also happened to run into my driving instructor again and he asked me to dinner; I told him to come by my hotel at 6:30 so that I could shower and take a nap. Because it took me two hours to find my way back to the hotel (notice that my sense of direction is slightly i,mproving!) I did not really have much time to see Casablanca!

Here is a picture of Takir, my driving instructor!

(photo removed)

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