Day 1: Here we go again - Racpat Morocco to Holland 2023 - CycleBlaze

February 15, 2023 to February 16, 2023

Day 1: Here we go again

Flight to Casablanca

“The plane is in the air now, we’ll still have an hour in Salt Lake. There are 7 on this plane to catch the plane to Paris.” Patrick checks at the counter when our flight out of Boise is delayed by 20 minutes shortening the time for the connection. This is always a worry whether the gear and bikes will also make the connection. Bob picked us up at 0830 to take us to the airport. We say our goodbyes to Kim and the Kitties.

Only Miles sees us off.
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Bob takes us to the airport
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“What is this about the third time?” Bob says. "Yes” we say, this is the third time taking us to the airport for the start of the tour and has become a tradition. Thanks Bob.

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It’s a bumpy approach and landing into SLC. We find our gate for the flight to Paris just as the plane is starting to board. We settle in for the long flight and orient to the plane entertainment. Rachel first watches the old 1942 movie Casablanca with Bogart and Bergman that conjures up exotic thoughts of Morocco. She hears the classic lines “here’s looking at you kid”, and the tune Sam plays on the piano, “As time goes by.” The movie storyline though of European refugees escaping the war to Morocco and waiting for a Visa to America is a reminder of refugees everywhere escaping today's wars, violence or disasters. We pass the time with other movies and trying to get some rest. We land in Paris the local time 0707 on the 16th. Boise time is 2307 and still Wednesday.

“'We’ll always have Paris' Bogart says…. Well, sort of” Rachel says. We have a 4 hour lay-over in Charles De Gaulle airport to the flight to Casablanca. We find an area away from the gates, Patrick tries to take a nap stretched out on the floor, but the floor is not insulated from whatever is below and freezing cold.

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The monitor to our gate is not working, no one is at the counter, and there are two gates close together.  Finally at boarding time we witness the French meaning of laissez faire. With a delay of the flight to Istanbul one at the next gate, our line to Casablanca first merges together, then staff makes the two lines clearer with posted signs. On board, the stewardesses also have a relaxed and chatty attitude while handing out the snacks and drinks. We doze as much as we can and land around 1600 local time.

At the baggage claim, we wait with anticipation if all gear made it and a sigh of relief as all arrive. The bike boxes are in good condition. Patrick exchanges some US dollars for Moroccan Dirham. Going through Immigration is an easy formality and with nothing to declare through Customs. Outside, Patrick looks for and finds the arranged driver to take us into the city and hotel. The airport is far away from city center. The adventure begins; our first experience of Moroccan traffic.

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“How was that ride being up front?” Rachel asks Patrick after a safe delivery to our hotel. “It’s like in India and Indonesia: they drive like crazy, but no one wants to have an accident,” Patrick replies. Morocco once a French colony, we expected the legacy of the French not being able to drive without honking. We are surprised at how little honking, mostly at lights turning green impatient to get going and the short beeps to serve as warnings to other drivers. Amazing that cars are not dented, scratched and looking like demolition derby cars. We get checked into the Moroccan House Hotel. It is an older building but good value for about $30 per night. The décor is traditional Moroccan and reminds Rachel of the Tibetan decorations. A friendly older man in the lobby is also the porter that helps us with the gear into the elevator and gives us a complete explanation of the room. By now it’s close to 1900 and Thursday and we are exhausted but happy to be in Morocco.


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Keith AdamsAnd so it begins...
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1 year ago