Friday, 12 August 2011

Racisme and French Lessons (MD in Morocco II)

Yesterday we went on a ramble round Marrakech to hunt out the train station. We'd been told it was 90 minutes by rail to Casablanca, so thought this would be an entertaining trip. 

Extent of my French skills
What we found instead was the bus station, though it was many minutes before we realised our mistake. As is their wont, when we entered the mysterious station, a number of burly-ish, drunk-ish Moroccan men started hassling us. My GCSE French gets rustier by the hour and MD (though a dab hand with cockroaches) is similarly limited on the Gallic front. You'll be amazed to learn she can't even speak Arabic. 

'TRAIN?' we bellowed to them, in a French accent, hoping to achieve some understanding. 


So we ignored the madding crowd and decided to explore the station - trying to make sense of it ourselves. We found something that went to Casablanca, though this confusingly appeared to be a bus.

A small quite sweet chap came over and addressed us in English:
'You want bus to Casablanca? Number 5. Here.'

At this, we understood where we'd gone wrong. But by now the burly crowd was upon us. One in particular was waving and aggressing with fists and face: 'You want ticket from him now? Not me? [Thrusting ticket book at us] I have ticket!'

MD looks fairly put out. Enough to make most sensible beings scuttle away in fright, but not Bolshy Bus Man, Oh no.

'See! [Again with the ticket thrusting in face thing] Ticket! You! You RACISTE!'
'Excuse me?' [From MD. Kate cowers. A passing bug flees in opposite direction.]

'Raciste! Raciste! Raciste!'

At this point it looked a little as though MD was considering whether to punch BBM in the face or depart. I stood back aghast, mumbling mildly rude things at the man under my breath ('No fat man - YOU raciste' etc).

But, taking the higher moral ground, MD turned her back and walked away, me at her side. BBM proved a surprisingly persistent persecutor of 'racisme' in tourist form, but he wasn't great at keeping up with us in the sunshine. We headed for the nearest taxi, and finally made it to the Train Station.

Turns out Casablanca is actually a six hour round trip. We ended up on an hour long jaunt to an air base instead. Of which more later.


  1. 6 hour round trip, or even a bus trip think of the KitC possibilities! MD should have obliged really...

  2. racist in favour of trains over buses, perhaps? how baffling. have you been to a souk and have you seen a camel? my own MD is hankering after a trip to morocco but ryanair's flights are not co-operative. sincerely, after much absence, MYSTERIOUS L xx

  3. Take your mysterious ma via expedia and bmi to les deux tours....

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. A dramatic turn of events - particulary enjoying the homage to Malick's Thin Red Line. Intended? Doesn't matter. Am hoping air base visit involves a high spirited standoff. And at least one arrest.