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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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The Atlantic Larache, Morocco, Thursday, 18 December 2008 11:30pm

It's a beautiful clear day and I'm sitting at a cafe, looking out over the sea. Ok, technically the ocean.

The bus ride from Rabat went smoothly. I got a blue cab to the other long distance bus station (a little way down the road from the main station). Since it only serves one bus company (CTM), it was a lot less chaotic than the other station and I was able to buy a ticket for a departure in 40 minutes.

The bus passed terrain that looked more like what I'd expected than what I saw flying in to Casablanca. Drier, a bit more windblown. There was still quite a bit of agriculture, including bananas grown under plastic sheeting. The bus speaker system played dance music in at least four languages, spanning styles both traditional (80s) and contemporary (80s revival). Some of the music in Arabic and French did sound more classic.

The highway seems quite reasonable; well-paved, and well-signed. I'm a bit sad that I didn't work out the wrinkles of a car rental. It would have made a great motorcycle tour.

We got to Larache a bit earlier than I'd expected. It turned out that was because we hadn't actually gotten to the bus station. We had stopped at a rest-station on the outskirts of the city. While most of the passengers had a quick meal or washed up, I tried to figure out why, if this was Larache (as the people at the rest-station confirmed), they weren't giving me my luggage. I eventually found one of the bus drivers, who told me "Not yet." After a while, they honked the horn and everyone piled back into the bus for the last fifteen or twenty minutes of the drive, winding to-and-fro through city streets on a route that seemed chosen only because they were streets the bus could actually fit down.

The guidebook map for Larache is not labeled nearly as well as the other places I've been, so I ended up asking a jeep full of police for directions to a hotel that was all of a block and a half away.

After dropping off my pack, I wandered over to the waterfront. This cafe serves two different ketchups with their pizza. KBK would love it.

Hawai tropical: The label shows a slice of orange, a half-coconut, and something that might be a kiwi. I'm not sure I taste any of those specific flavors, but it does capture the taste of "tropical" eerily well.

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