Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Morocco: A Dream Destination that Almost Never Happened

Morocco Travel Guide Blog

I am a mediocre dreamer. My dreams would often include very attainable stuff that a go-getter person would easily realize it in no time. I don’t work really hard for it, I don’t see it as a motivation in my everyday life and I don’t like to be fixated on that thought. I just let things go by slowly and let myself be swayed on wherever life would bring me.

There's this one time when a professor in Graduate School asked us individually on the reason we wake up each morning. When it was my turn, I suddenly uttered, "I wake up for Morocco!". It wasn't a conscious thought but it was the first thing that came to my mind at that time.




Morocco was included in SEA 2 Africa 2018, our annual two-month summer backpacking jaunt. After our trip to Bali (Indonesia), East Timor and Singapore, we left for my ultimate dream destination. Morocco's visa-free policies for Philippine passport holders lessened the burden of applying for a tourist visa (third world problems). I ain't so much about personal achievement and numbers but it's our first time in African continent. The third continent for me and my buddy 'coz after we got hitched, we both went out of Asia for the first time and explored Australia. So imagine our excitement as we started the journey literally halfway around the world in Africa.

▶️ Where to stay in Morocco - Click below to see room rates and discounts.

As usual, my buddy arranged everything including the hunt for the cheapest possible flight that we could take as well as the trip’s itinerary. We specifically allotted one month for this trip and planned on going around Moroccan key cities including Casablanca, Rabat, Asilah, Chefchaouene, Fes, Sahara Desert, Tetouane, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, and Essaouira. We got no fixed date and time on a place though.

I always take care of the day-to-day expenses during the trip on the other hand. We got the essentials first like getting a sim card with data connection for a month as soon as we arrived at Casablanca. 

Morocco Travel Guide Blog
Snow-capped mountains somewhere in Morocco (maybe the Atlas Mountains). View from my window seat.
While we were on the first leg of our trip, we met a problem with our flight. Because of the confusing Egyptian visa requirements, we cannot take our original flight as we didn’t have the proper documents for our 17-hour layover in Cairo, Egypt. After checking the possible connecting flights that we could take, we knew that we couldn’t buy tickets on-the-spot because of the steep airfare. 

Hello, Saudi Arabia.
Goodbye, Saudi Arabia.
Surrendering to this sad fate, we settled on not pushing through with the Moroccan leg of our trip anymore and just planned to backpack around Southeast Asia, we were at East Timor at that time. But then, one of our best friends decided to buy the ticket for us so we could go on with the said trip. We were so elated then and there. 



It was midway during our summer trip and after spending three days with our friends in Singapore, we embarked on a trip of a lifetime. 


One of the changes on our flight was that instead of having a stopover in Cairo, we had a 10-hour layover in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We were getting close to our final destination that I could almost feel Morocco as soon as we boarded the plane from Singapore, or so we thought. 

Another concern surfaced as we arrived at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport.

We got there at around 9:00 pm and went to the transfer desk to go along with the procedures. We had two different airline companies for our Singapore to Jeddah and Jeddah to Casablanca flights so we couldn’t use a specific transfer lounge. 

We were directed to a specific guy where we relayed our concern. He then requested us to wait on the bench just before the immigration counters. And so we waited. 


We waited for hours not knowing what was happening and what to do next. We were thinking about our checked-in backpacks that were probably going around the carousel endlessly now. If this thing happened in some of my comfort zone countries, I would’ve asked for the airport manager and complain but no, there was this restrained feeling about everything that was happening that we could not explain why. It may be the new environment or the strict laws in the said country. 

We were reunited with our bags after a while but were still asked to wait again, on the same bench.

In-flight meal from our Jeddah-Casablanca flight.
A lifesaver after almost 24 hours of no food at all.
Two hours became three and then four before I got lost in counting. I was dead tired but I couldn’t sleep at that time. 

After countless hours, a new guy went to us and asked to follow him. We didn’t pass by the immigration counters and went back to the arrival gates in which we boarded a special bus—its destination, we didn’t have any idea. 

We were transferred to a different arrival gate on a different building and were endorsed to another guy which asked us to wait, yet again. 


I was in trance as we haven’t had any decent sleep for the past I dunno how many hours. But still, we waited again for that guy to get back to us. Hundreds, or maybe thousands, have already arrived but we were still there. 

I usually don’t mind waiting as long as I know what's happening. But at that time, we didn’t have any clue on what was happening as nobody would tell us why. And yet, it wasn’t as if they were purposely doing all of this as I feel their genuine concern to us.

Hello, Morocco!
Hours went by with no food, water or sleep. We were still there, waiting. 

I was about to shout and cry in despair (exaggeration) when a guy approached us and directed us to a concealed door. It revealed an x-ray area which we subjected our bags into it. After which, we were given our boarding passes and we immediately arrived on our designated gate with an hour to spare before our flight. 


At that point, we were already numb of any emotions but still cautious on any possible trouble that will arise. Our excitement for this trip plummeted because of the accumulated stress. We went on without having anything to eat or drink although there are a number of food stalls around. We just wanted to board that plane to leave the country ASAP. 

I heaved a sigh of relief as I settled on my seat. I watched the very elusive Saudi Arabia from my window as the plane took off and then my body surrendered to the seat. I only woke up to the smell of coffee, it was time for our in-flight breakfast. My life rebooted after my first cup of coffee. 

Morocco Travel Guide Blog
Morocco, finally!
I was thrilled when I saw Morocco unfolded before my eyes. It was the trip that seemed to be difficult to get to and yet we were destined to be there. The next 30 plus days went by smoothly with minimal hitches on the way. And what was the first thing we did when we finally arrived in Casablanca? We feasted on burgers, fries and soda on a famous fastfood joint and then slept for sixteen solid and uninterrupted hours!






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