Morocco: Rabat

11:35 AM


I still remember the day Nami and I went to Rabat for the second time. It was just the two of us; with our backpack, ready to attend the Indonesian Independence day ceremony in Rabat.

The train station, Gare de Rabat Ville, the palm trees in the main street, the old medina; they all still look the same. Nothing has changed after a month. Of course Tasya, what were you thinking, a month doesn't do any difference.

It was cloudy, raining a little bit. The temperature was perfect, my kind of weather. Nami and I were both smiling because finally we went back to a place that feels so familiar. I knew the streets. I knew where to get groceries. I knew my way to the old medina. I knew the nice bakery to buy breakfast. I knew this city. 

There's this warm fuzzy feeling that touched my heart. So weird, I was only staying in Rabat for approximately a week. 

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5 weeks earlier, I arrived for the first time in Gare de Rabat Ville -- after taking a solo train ride from Casablanca. After approximately 19 hours of traveling and the drama of finding the right train in the Casablanca airport: I made it. I congratulated myself for surviving my very first solo trip in a foreign country. The first week in Rabat was an adventure by itself; the first time we were introduced to the Moroccan ways.


(Me in Dora The Explorer's style) Yeay first day exploring Rabat!
Cozy bakery near by our flat.
The day Pauline & Hurry arrived.
I met my very first friend Angeliki from Greece and the AIESECers from Morocco on the very first day. I still remember vividly our flat that is located in Quartier du Ocean within a walking distance to the tram station and the old Medina. My first room mate was Angeliki, Elif from Turkey, Pauline from China, and also Hurry, and the Egyptians girls: Nour, Menna and Yomna, Becky and Maysoon that are from different project.

I still vividly remember how Pauline made her tea before practicing Kungfu every morning, meanwhile Elif shared her Turkish delight for breakfast and Angeliki cooked noodle in our flat. And at the end of the day we will listen to King of Convenience's "Me in You" or Nu's "Man O To" from Spotify. Lovely. 

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I am not going to write the details of the places that I've visited. My friend Yassine (feelingsma.tumblr.com) got it written perfectly! Go check his blog.

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I didn't know that Rabat is the capital city of Morocco; the center of all governmental buildings and embassies. That's why the streets are well developed, the public transportations are modern, and the whole city feels urban. (Well, maybe not as urban as Casablanca but still...)
Hassan Tower



I would describe Rabat as a clash between the "Morocco" that I expected and the regular-predictable-normal-whatever-urban city. Once I was in the touristy area I felt the time suddenly stopped, as I need to take my time absorbing the atmosphere that feels so different with my hometown back in Jakarta. But as I went out to the city center, the time starts ticking again and everyone seemed to be in rush; children crossing the streets, cars honking loudly, the tram sliding through the city, and people trying to get their business done. 

Kasbah des Oudayas, where all of the houses are painted in blue and white.


My housemate Hurry (EPs from China)
Rabat Beach after the Ramadhan month in the summer: crowded!

One thing you cannot miss while you are in Morocco: The Old Medinas! I would like to describe it as a place where you can literally buy anything. For Indonesian reader; semacam pasar tanah abang. Semua ada disitu mulai dari pakaian dalam sampe kipas angin 😂😂

The best thing is you can find both traditional Moroccan crafts and also the modern goods for your daily needs, and it's possible to bargain. I think the old medina in Rabat has a slightly more reasonable price rather than the ones in touristic Marrakesh or Fez.

Old Medina of Rabat
Sammour and his Egyptian ability to bargain.
Yep. You can even find animals there. I wasn't sure if they're sold as food or pet though haha
Among all of the places that we went, I remember that one day all of the EPs went to Casablanca for a day but I was too tired to go anywhere so I decided to stay in our flat and skyped with some friends. It was my "cheat" day. I was just hanging around, taking my time, cleaning up. Something that I occasionally need to do after spending time with alot of people. 

In the afternoon, Pauline, Hurry and I went out with Aymen, an AIESECer from Rabat. That was really kind of him to show us around the city. He brought us to this beach where we just walked and ate dinner. Thanks Aymen! He's one of the AIESECer that became my "undercover" buddy and was being really helpful -- that time I didn’t get to know to a lot of AIESECer of Rabat, which was such an unfortunate. 


RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Dar Naji for Moroccan food! (Sadly I didn't take any picture there)

2. Pietri Palace to hang out. It reminds me of the central area of Jakarta where there are fancy cafes to take pictures with. Pietri Palace has couple restaurants that are really comfortable! I would love to go there to sip mint tea and chat with friends.

3. A Chawarma place near by Carefour next to the Tram station (okay, what a sketchy way to describe the address. I have no idea how to write the location). This place has THE BEST CHAWARMA IN ALL ENTIRE MOROCCO I swear! Elif - my Turkish friend agreed (Come on, she is from Turkey and a professional Shish Kebab eater and she loves the Chawarma -- which doesn't happen easily). 



Another moment that I also remember was the day we had a stargazing party on the rooftop of one of the EP house. We brought blanket, some drinks, speaker to play music and just chatted. We talked to each other. It amazed me how we didn't know each other couple days earlier but that night we just gathered, having a deep conversation about life and everything. And yep, I didn't take any pictures. I believe the best thing happen while you forget to take picture.




Back to the day I was exploring Rabat just with Nami, the day I felt the happiest just to be back in that city once again before my departure day to Jakart Rabat was once my home. An entryway to an adventure, the city where I discovered Morocco the first time, and headquarter of the AIESECer that united my fellow exchange participants friends.

It makes sense now why everytime I visited the other cities I kept telling myself that one day I'll be back in Rabat -- because that's exactly how you feel when you are away from home. Rabat, where I had fond memories spending time there with all the strangers that soon became my family in Morocco.

Home is not about places, it's about the feeling.

/Tasya

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