Yesterday around midday, Marites and I were trying to firm up our travel plan and figure out how we were going to get from point a to point b (and c). There was a lot of conflicting information online and around about various price points and comfort levels, and I admit we were a bit flummoxed when we set off to take care of our plans. In addition, the mobile card I had purchased for Marites was impossible for us to activate because the only language offered on the setup line was Arabic, so we had to take care of that as well and needed to return to the shop where I had bought the card. We started at the Grand Taxis stand, and tried to ask a price for taking us to Essaouira, but it was chaos and the price was ridiculous. We walked on figuring we would need to walk to the bus station (but which one?) and met a different guy a little further down, and at that point my experience in India kicked in, and we were able to successfully negotiate as I had there. Who knows if this guy Youssef is really on the up and up, or even if he really drives a grand taxi, but as long as we make it to our destination in one piece, I am fine with it. In addition, despite the shop where I bought the phone card being closed, we found another guy to help us, so now both Marites and I have phone and internet, yay. As you might have guess from the above, Marites and I leave this morning for Essaouira, then back to Marrakech, then on to Casablanca briefly, Fez for a few days, Chefchaouen, Tetouan, and finally Tangier. We will worry about how to get to the other places (and where we will stay) later, but it will probably involve a combo of trains, buses and private drivers.
I have to stop a moment here and say something about the amazing hospitality we have received here from just about everyone, but most especially our hosts Jai and Madison. They have been so wonderful, opening their home and spending time with us, it has really made my trip fantastic so far.