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Checking Into Dulles on the Way to Morocco

A few months ago Royal Air Maroc starting flying nonstop from Washington, DC to Casablanca. From there they fly directly to Nairobi. Most importantly, though, they had special ticketing prices, so we jumped on it.

The layover in Casablanca is six hours and it’s not that far from the city center, so the plan is to hop out for a few hours before the second leg of the flight. We generally leave at night east coast time and arrive on the other side of the planet during the day so it should work out perfectly.

As usual Najwa is hyper excited about getting on a plane. The long lines and long waits don’t seem to faze her. She has become a seasoned pro. And now that she has her own little suitcase, with wheels that light up to let everyone know she’s coming through, she was ready.

Nduku and Najwa arriving at Dulles International Airport.

Though it’s only a two week trip, I generally can fit whatever I need in two thirds of a suitcase. Najwa’s clothes are smaller so she might need half a suitcase but we’ll say two thirds as well. I can’t tell how much luggage real estate Nduku needs for her personal stuff because whatever she’s packing, it takes up almost four entire suitcases!

Even though I knew this already, when anyone goes back to their home country, it’s virtually an obligation to bring back a ton of stuff for family and friends. Nduku spent most of the holiday shopping season buying stuff for everyone back in Kenya. Though it’s mostly clothes, we get within ounces of the 50 pound limit per bag. Actually, one bag went over by a pound or two, but the ticket agents let it slide.

Half of what’s packed won’t be coming back with us.

While waiting to check in our luggage, Najwa has a way of finding things to keep her occupied. We’ve been fortunate to not have a child who’s always complaining about the long lines like her daddy.

Najwa making friends while we wait to check in our luggage.

Najwa after making it through the security gate, ready to fly.

Finally, we board. Nothing extraordinary. The pilots are going through the pre-flight checklist, the stewardesses are reminding us to buckle up, and Najwa almost immediately goes to sleep.

Who cares if the blindfold is upside down as long as it keeps the light out, right?

The flight leaves around 10 pm ET and arrives in Morocco at 10 am. With the five hour time difference it’s only about a seven hour flight. When we reach land, I’m expecting sand. Lots of sand. I always thought of it as part of the Sahara, but to my surprise, it’s a very green country. Apparently the desert can’t figure out how to cross over the Atlas Mountains.

Morocco is a much greener country than I anticipated.
Five minutes until we land.

When we arrive at Mohammed V Airport, it’s a bit cold, windy for sure, and quite cloudy. We landed about 30 minutes later than planned, then had to take shuttles to the terminal which took a while, and once we got there, it was confusing to figure out where to go next. Meaning, it ate into the time we were going to spend grabbing a bite to eat in Casablanca somewhere. I was determined though. I asked a bunch of people where to exit, how to get to the city, recommendations of where we should eat — English is not as common as I hoped. I found one security guard who spoke English; he said we couldn’t leave. I wasn’t sure if he meant literally, we weren’t allowed to leave the airport because we were on a layover or that we couldn’t because we wouldn’t have enough time to make our flight, but we decided to scrap that part of the plan.

Huge disappointment. I get the feeling I’ll be spending the next two weeks planning escape from the airport. Until then, it’s off to Kenya.

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