Jason on Train
It's not quite the right focus, but I like this picture. This is on the back to Marrakesh. Well, more technically this is the train to Fez. Sometime after this, we went to change trains in Sida Kacem, and catch the train from Fez to Marrakesh . But I missed it. I was gathering my stuff and the train began moving. Jason was organized and off though, watching the train leave. So Jason is on the platform, set up for the next train south. I'm on the train, heading east. Panicked. this really is not how I wanted this trip to end! I was fairly distraught, and the kind Moroccans in my berth tried to help me out. They figured out, as I was figuring out standing in the back of the train smoking my only cigarette of 2017 frantically playing with my phone, that next stop was Meknes, and there as another train coming through Meknes going to Marrakesh. It passed through Sidi Kacem. I couldn't reach Jason on the phone (he didn't have a SIM card) but my hope was that he keeps to the plan to go to Marrakesh and catch the train for which he had a ticket. I would catch the next train. Worst case scenario: we both get on the same flight leaving Marrakesh the next day.
In fact, due to kindness of strangers (my berth mates made damn sure I didn't miss that stop) and a bit of luck, the best scenario transpired. I got off in Meknes and went straight to the ticket booth. The guy in the booth didn't speak English, but a young woman behind me did. She explained in French what was going on, not because she really got the details from me. but because she seemed to have recognized the situation immediately (was she familiar with dumb Americans? I felt like dumb American). So did the guy in the booth, and I suspect that is a frequent problem with tourists. He told me, through her, that I was free to get on the next train to Marrakesh with my ticket, but I would have to sit in 2nd class. This was great news! I am not one of these fancy people who needs to sit in 1st class. Or even should sit in 1st class.
There were a few more gates to get through, and the young woman talked me through all of them and made sure I got to the platform, and on the right train. As we passed by the stop where I last saw Jason I looked at the platform but saw no sign of Jason. After another half hour, I decided to walk up the cars to see if I could find him. Even though I knew Jason could figure it out, I did have all of the hotel information about where we were staying that night and it would just be a lot easier if we found each other.
And we did. The train was a lot longer than I realized, but after 4 cars, I found Jason. it turns out that the 1st train was behind schedule, which is why we left the transfer station so fast. For this reason, Jason missed the train were supposed to be on, and got on this train. Of course, this lit a fire in me to ask for my deserved 1st class berth! The conductor spoke Spanish, as do I, but I was not fluent enough to explain the nuance and injustice of the situation. Luckily, Jason came back to 2nd class in solidarity. We made it to Marrakesh and the next night, we partied in Franfurt for New Years!