I’m a huge advocate of volunteering overseas. Not only is it relatively cheap but it’s also a great way to immerse myself into the culture. I love sharing my stories to people back home and always recommend my volunteering networks to them if they are at all interested. I managed to convince one friend of mine back home to volunteer in Morocco for a month. Her name is Lisa and we actually work together back in Michigan. Another great thing about this is that I would be able to meet up with Lisa in the capital city of Rabat, since we would be in the country during the same time.
After spending one more night in Marrakech, Chris and I took a train ride north to Rabat. On the way up, we met three Americans who were going to Casablanca. They traveled quite a bit and we shared our stories with each other pretty much the whole train ride. We arrived to Rabat a lot sooner than we anticipated! I’ve heard stories about how bland and boring Rabat could be, but out of all the places in Morocco I’ve been to, Rabat was the cleanest and nicest looking city of them all. Especially considering there was a McDonald’s within walking distance!
I booked a hotel nearby which also was actually really nice. Once I got Wi-Fi, I messaged Lisa letting her know that we arrived here hours earlier than I told her before and we can meet up whenever she’s ready. She messaged back saying she was in the middle of her work placement and that we could meet at a bar on a boat on the sea-shore, along with a couple of her other volunteer mates she’s met here in Rabat. We didn’t know exactly where this ‘bar on a boat’ was but she left us some directions. Later that evening, we left to search for the boat. We walked through the Medina of Rabat which resembled the Medina of Casablanca. We ended up getting a little lost and had no clue where we were, so we had no choice but to find a taxi to take us to where Lisa was. The driver didn’t understand a word of English, so I motioned “drinking on a boat” with my hands and he understood. It was actually nearby to where we were and it actually WAS a boat in the ocean. Looked like a pirate ship! Chris and I walked in and we saw two girls sitting near the front deck waving at us to come to them. Neither of these girls were Lisa but I walked slowly towards them, not sure if it was us they were waving to. Turns out they were Lisa’s friends, Capucine and Maria. Capucine is a travel blogger too and has a very, very impressive blog site which you can see here. Maria is headed to Spain and Italy after her time in Morocco. A few minutes later, Lisa came over! So great to see her again! We caught up on everything and she told me what her placement was like. She works with women and children in the city and lives with a host mother in the medina. It took her a few days to adjust to everything but now she’s loving it!
The five of us enjoyed a few drinks and talked for a bit before we headed to the small-scale carnival right outside. When we saw the carnival, we all decided to go on the bumper cars. I haven’t been on the bumper cars since I was a kid and I remember that I was always stuck in the corner or jammed between other cars. But this time was not the case!
After our brief yet amusing time at the carnival, we all walked back through the Medina to our respective stays, but we made plans to meet up here the next day. We all met near the tram tracks and headed to the coast to have lunch. I ordered up a burger and fries (typical) and then a brownie with chocolate sauce and ice cream for desert! It was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while!
After we stuffed ourselves, the five of us ventured further along the coastline to see what else Rabat had to offer.
It takes a lot of dedication and discipline to write a blog regularly. Capucine has all the discipline in the world! I’ve only met her yesterday, but I noticed she takes her camera with her everywhere. I try to do that too but sometimes I just want to enjoy my time without carrying such a big piece of equipment everywhere. Based on the photos on her blog, I think it’s worth carrying around everywhere. Anyways, we walked through a fort where there were dozens of young locals just hanging out and eventually to Lisa’s and Capucine’s homestay. They live with a host mother and her daughter in a small abode branched off from the busyness of the Medina.
The daughter came by and offered us tea which was amazing like all the tea I’ve had in Morocco so far. Lisa said she likes her new home, minus the constant noise outside of her window early every morning, which I fully understand! We chilled at her place for a bit before Chris and I left so they could eat dinner. Later on, Lisa and Capucine met us at a bar near our hotel for one more go before Chris and I had to leave Rabat in a few hours. It was very difficult to find a bar in Rabat that was open and catered to both men and women. One, it’s tricky to find alcohol anywhere in Morocco if you’re not in the right places. Two, a lot of the bars in Rabat catered only to men. We had to make sure the bar we found accepted both men and women.
We had a few drinks, then beelined straight to McD’s before we said goodbye to Lisa and Capucine. Lisa would be volunteering in Morocco for a month. Afterwards, she will head to Paris to try and land an internship at a local bakery there, while living in an apartment in the city. Good luck with everything Lisa!
Chris and I booked a night train up even further north to Tanger that would depart at 1:57 am. Off the whim, we decided to extend this ‘trip within a trip’ by taking a boat across the Gibraltar Strait to Spain!