NIMAR fotoselectie 0014
NIMAR fotoselectie 0014
"Traveling by train seemed to be more of a social occurrence than anything else."
Isla, student about her experiences of the Nimar-Minor:

Living la vida local 

After spending twenty four hours in the rambunctious city of Marrakech, I took a train to Rabat, hoping to escape the sweltering heat that I had experienced while spending time in the medina’s. It didn’t take long before the pockets of beautiful green vegetation transitioned into an endless stretch of desolate terrain. I had some trouble finding myself a seat, clumsily navigating through the carriages with my backpack and suitcase. Moroccan railways do not compare to the NS and there is definitely no such thing as a ‘silence compartment’: traveling by train seemed to be more of a social occurrence than anything else. Moroccan rap music was blasted and people did not refrain from talking to one another.

 After a couple of hours on the train, I grew more restless by every stop that I had to ask “is this Casa?” and every time when the reply was “no”: I should have been there by now. Suddenly, I realized, horrified by my ignorance, that I forgot to change the time on my watch and probably got on the wrong train. Luckily this train would stop in Casablanca anyway, and the people in the compartment assured me that it would be no problem at all to get to Rabat.

While waiting for the next train to Rabat on the station’s platform, I was very amused to find a woman seated there with a ‘Hoogvliet’ bag around her shoulder - there would be no way that she was not form the Netherlands. About twenty minutes later, the train arrived, and it was jam-packed with people. While people attempted to leave the carriage, others didn’t hesitate to do whatever it would take to get on. It was clear that there was not an inch of space left for me.

What happened next was simply wonderful: a couple of women pulled me into the carriage with all of their strength while another young gentleman tossed my baggage in the toilet cubicle. The next hour was exceptionally uncomfortable yet unforgettable. The train was so full that the doors had to remain open, which meant that I was holding on for my life while we were traveling at a pace of a hundred miles an hour. Despite all this I was still smiling, and the perfect strangers smiled back at me. I spent the rest of the hour clenching onto the door handle and gazing into a dazzling sunset, which made everything a little more idyllic than it already was in my perception. When the train finally reached my final destination, the same young man made sure that my suitcase and backpack were carefully placed on the platform and even went as far as to get off the train and lend me his hand for me to comfortably get down onto the station. I wanted to tell him that he was a good man, but didn’t quite know how, so I just told him ‘shokran’ about a million times.

And there I was! After an eventful journey by train I finally made it to Rabat. It was then that I realized that this would be my new home for the next months. I couldn’t wait to find out what it had to offer me.