The trip back from Essyland was so astonishingly bad that it warrants a post of its very own. Let me begin by setting the scene. I’d not slept well in Essy due to the wind making doors bang (it is famous for the wind) and also the huge numbers of bugs. On the Wednesday I got up early to sort the house out a little, because I was in the first group to leave. There were 4 of us, and we were heading out at 11.15 so that we could travel in the light.The taxi came on time, but we realised part-way that one member of our group was on track to miss her bus because she’d got the time wrong. We stressed a little, but made it in the end. To find no bus, and apparently no tickets. Nonetheless she decided to wait (a choice which paid off because there were a few no-shows). Looking back, I should have gone with her to Marrakesh.
But no. We had a new plan. Rather than Essy-Marrakesh-Rabat we were going to do Essy-Casa-Rabat for a lower price. But Essy-Casa was by bus. 5 hour bus. So, when we got to the bus station and the guy suggested a different, but air-conditioned bus, we naturally said yes. Who wants to sit on a Moroccan bus for 5 hours without air con? Well…
Our new bus arrived at 1.15. The air-con existed, but if I owned the bus, I would be raving about it. We got on, and waited until 2 before we finally left Essy bus station, after spending a good 30 minutes creeping towards the gate. I tried to sleep, but it was hot, smelled bad, and was loud. We stopped at every little hovel and shack that we saw. The real kick in the teeth came when we found that group 2 (the chilled group who had left the house at 1 after a nice breakfast etc) had left Essy bus station at practically the same time as us.
So we were in a bad mood. Which worsened as the journey dragged on, in the end taking 6 hours rather than 5. Group 2 beat us there. When we got to Casablanca bus station we were greeted by the usual hoards of annoying Moroccans. Normally I am fine and just ignore them, but I really couldn’t hold in my anger. I swore vividly in English, and hit one man with my bag. Unfortunately none of them seemed deterred.
We got inside and met Group 2. They were mostly going on to Fes, and so me and one friend split off, to head for Rabat. Let me say that had we gone via Marrakesh we would have been in Rabat already. And we had declined the option to just stay on the bus for another hour as well. By this time, it was about 8pm. We got a taxi to the train station in Casa, and went to buy tickets. No-one was working. After a few minutes a woman pointed us to the platform and said to just get on the train. As we got there, it left. It then turned out that we were at the wrong station anyway for most of the Rabat trains. Casa has two stations. Stupid us.
So we grabbed a taxi to the other station, hoping to make the train at 9pm. The taxi driver seemed lovely, until he over-charged us by nearly 20Dh (OK, so it’s £1.50. So what? It’s my money) we pegged it into the station, only to discover that there was no 9pm train. Only 9.30. There had been a train at 8.30 which we would have caught had we come to this station first. And at the other station there had been, as it turned out, a train at 9.15. But who cares. We bought our tickets, and waited until 9.30.
On the upside, I rode on the top deck of a train. Yes, a double decker train. We need more of these in England. I finally arrived at the family place in Temara at 11.15pm an entire 12 hours after we set off.