It’s true. Sometimes, you rely on the kindness of strangers when you’re in a foreign land and you don’t speak the language. I was a recipient of such kindness on a train during my very first trip to Morocco. We had just landed in Casablanca and armed with my poor version of “Deux billets pour marrakech s’il vous plait”, I got me and a friend on the train from Mohammed V airport to the Casa Voyageurs station where we needed to take another train to our final destination.
Trouble began when we couldn’t find our seats on the train to Marrakech. Our tickets had seat numbers printed on them but the funny thing was we couldn’t find the seats.
All eyes were on us as we paced up and down the aisle lugging our bags. We felt so silly we started to giggle as if to hide our anxiety when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was a lady and using sign language, she offered me a seat with her family and another seat across the aisle for my friend.
She had the friendliest smile and then uttered something that sounded like “marksh?” I smiled back and nodded thinking she meant Marrakech as her little son who was sitting beside me offered some sweets.
What followed was a pleasant two hour journey and when the train came to a stop, the lady tapped my shoulder once again which meant we had reached our destination.
Moroccan Arabic and French are widely spoken in the country and Spanish in some parts in the north.
For information about rail travel in morocco, log on to the following sites: