Later in the evening we caught the last train back to Casablanca, a four hour journey that left us at the Casa Voyageurs station where we’d first arrived two weeks prior. This time however, we noticed a wifi network that we hadn’t found our first time through. It just so happened to be that of the Isis Hotel (branch mayor @claytonhauck), which uses the same network name at all of their hotels and happens to have a location literally behind the train station.
As we were without a place to stay and the train to the airport had stopped running for the night, we decided to head to the hotel bar (this time less North Korea, more South Beach) and weigh our options. When the bar closed we brought our beverages into the hotel lobby and continued to weigh our options. By 2:00 AM, the hotel had caught on to us and we moved ourselves back to the train station where we were pretty much out of options. Around 5:00 AM we boarded the first train to the airport, which according to sleepinginairports.com, is one of the worst airports in all of Africa.
After discovering that our flight would not be leaving until noon, we set up camp in a desolate corner of the ticketing area and slept until the morning crowd began to roll in. After a final Moroccan coffee and a quick trip through passport control, we were on a flight to Madrid, where my dreams of spending one night in Iberia were given life by a friendly ticketing agent only to be shattered moments later by his supervisor. Clayton and I parted ways, as he was lucky enough to have an overnight layover in Madrid and I was unfortunate enough to be spending the night in Brussels.
After a decadent meal from cafeteria in Barajas Terminal 4, I was on a flight to Brussels, where upon arrival I walked no less than two miles to passport control and proceeded to wander the arrivals area searching for an ATM from which to withdraw Euros so that I could pay for a train into the city. From the Brussels Central station, I wandered aimlessly, extra careful of my surroundings as I’ve heard that Brussels thinks it’s Chicago and some of the streets are a bit stab happy. I’d decided that I would get a cheap hotel for the night rather than spend another night in an airport or train station, and was quite excited to find an Ibis, only to discover that the rate for one night here was more than the rate for one week in Morocco. Eventually I found a decent little spot in a converted apartment building, conveniently located down the block from the Delirium Cafe, where I was able to negotiate an acceptable rate with the clerk once I convinced him that I was in fact traveling alone and only looking to stay for eight hours. After dropping my belongings in the room, I set out to find dinner, which came in the form of an hour long conversation about Morocco, the United States, and life in Belgium, as well as a shawarma sandwich and a to-go beer from a Moroccan cafe down the block from the hotel. This of course was followed by a brief stop at Delirium before retiring to the hotel for a few hours of sleep and a shower before my flight back to New York in the morning.
Upon arriving at JFK, I was flagged at passport control and sent for further inspection, where I waited for no less than forty five minutes while the customs agent fidgeted with his Dell PC, attempting fruitlessly to log into his system while asking me why they even sent me over to him in the first place. Eventually, but not before breaking a sweat and trying to pawn his job off on another agent, he gave up, told me to have a good day, and waved me through and into the arrivals area. At this point I entered the United States with my backpack full of foreign currency, black tar heroin, and illegal immigrant stem cells only to be robbed of it all by a gang of unruly teenagers in baggy pants while transferring subways trains on my way home.