Before my return flight from Casablanca to Paris, my friend and I had the morning and afternoon to squeeze in a few more activities. Not that it felt rushed at all (not until later, anyway).
We had breakfast with her friends at their usual spot, then took a long walk to a market so I could buy dried fruit and nuts to bring back to my friends and volunteer group.
I was in heaven. Dried fruit is usually expensive in France, but in Morocco not only was it a reasonable price, but also the number of choices boggled the mind. I filled clear plastic bags with dried figs, dates, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, and almonds. At the time I did not realize that the figs would later become an obsession due to their deliciousness; I would grab two or three each time I left my Paris apartment, savoring them and trying to stretch out the bag as long as possible.
Next was a shopping trip to an open-air bazaar, during which my friend coached me on the art of haggling. As I expressed interest in items, she told me what she thought they should cost and advised me to keep in mind the highest amount I’d be willing to pay. I bought one leather bag for my sister and one for myself, as well as three little money pouches for friends. I was happy with my purchases, but that was enough haggling for me—I don’t think I would enjoy shopping at the more touristy cities like Marrakesh, where the sellers are more aggressive.
I was kind of surprised how quiet the market was, given that it was a weekend.
We drooled over the rugs and vowed to come back one day when we had more money. As we browsed, the shopkeeper asked, “How’s your friend?” At first we were confused until we realized that he remembered that my friend had previously brought other visitors and was asking how one of them was!
Another square of the market featured platters of olives. On shelves nearby were bottles of Argan oil, which is supposed to be good for the skin. I bought a small bottle. Since becoming aware of it I’ve seen big brand shampoos in France and the United States featuring it as an ingredient.
Of course, I had to have one more taxi story before leaving Casablanca.
After a quick snack and gathering up my belongings, my friend and I headed out to hail a red taxi to the train station, after which we’d buy tickets to the airport. I mentioned before that taxis in Casablanca are shared. That means that a taxi that is already carrying passengers going to different destinations may stop for more passengers who are going in the same direction. We stood at the side of the road, and my friend hailed taxi after taxi, but they were either all full or not driving on a route that included the train station. After being turned down by cabs in a span of time that felt like an eternity, my friend informed me that she’d put me in the next one that had one spot going to the train station. Time was now tight. I knew I could figure out how to buy tickets to the airport at the station, but I really didn’t want to lose my guide and have a quick goodbye as a full car of passengers waited for me.
As luck would have it, one of the next cabs she hailed took us, and we were off.
I got a little teary at the airport as my friend handed me a bag of food that she had been toting around, waiting for this last moment to give it to me. Along with it she told me what questions to expect at customs. It was easy to answer truthfully: No, I am not transporting a large amount of dirhams out of the country. I spent it all on figs and taxi rides.