Traveling to Morocco During Covid - Part One
Well, I made it to Morocco and back and lived to tell the tale. In hindsight it seems almost like a dream -- a week goes by so quickly. After taking a car to the ferry on Martha’s Vineyard, then the ferry to the bus, then the bus to the airport, I arrived at the Boston airport nice and early. This was a good thing, as I immediately ran into challenges.
Upon check in, which I thought I had thoroughly read all requirements and was totally prepared for, I was told I needed to have a health declaration form for Morocco printed and filled out just to get my boarding pass. Now, having been to Morocco before, I knew that one typically gets a document like this on the plane to fill out prior to landing. But of course these are covid days, and things are not typical. The Delta clerk was not able to print this form out for me, and after being referred to baggage claim help and getting laughed out of the room when I asked to print a document, I felt my blood pressure rising.
Luckily, I had a flash of brilliance and realized that there was a hotel connected to the airport. After a marathon walk over to the hotel, I was able to get the form printed and breezed through check in and even through security. I had my covid vaccination card and PCR test results handy in case they were required, and prior to going through security the vaccination card was examined along with my passport. I was not asked for the initial PCR test at any point during my journey, but I was still glad I had it, just in case. I didn’t want anything coming between me and Morocco!
I was pleasantly surprised that in the Boston airport, the flight to Atlanta, and in the Atlanta airport there were no issues with mask wearing and even seemed very well behaved and compliant. On the plane to Paris, there were a few people that needed to gently be reminded to put their mask on properly, but overall it was a non-issue. I had expected many more issues, but it wasn’t until the Paris airport that I really saw a lot of people not complying with mask ordinances. Lots of under-the-nose action there.
France was much more vigilant about checking vaccine status, however, and prior to getting on the plane to Morocco my information was checked at least three times. I saw at least one person who didn’t have the proper paperwork getting held back, much to his chagrin. After an easy flight to Marrakech with a delightful cheese sandwich provided as lunch, I was ready to tackle whatever the Marrakech airport threw at me.
Honestly, I’ve never had such an easy time getting into Morocco! The lines for customs were much more orderly and fast-moving than usual, and I quickly was grabbing my luggage off the return and heading to the exit. I was quite nervous about putting my luggage through the final inspection prior to exit, as I had brought along all kinds of cords and electronics, but I had no problems at all. (Once, when I brought a suitcase of books, I was pulled aside for extensive questioning.)
Five years to the day after our first meeting in Morocco, I was back in the heat of Marrakech and the arms of my beloved Mohamed. After more than two years apart, texting all day every day nearly the whole while, to be reunited with both Mohamed and Morocco was quite overwhelming. It was such a relief and I felt so lucky to be able to make the trip. From leaving at 8am Wednesday to arriving at 5pm Thursday, the nearly 36-hour journey felt more than worth it, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.