Morocco – Day 3: Back to Rabat!!

Right… The job search is now over… Going back to the public for a little while, before I decide on my future. Hopefully Brexit worries will be over next year. 😐 Will be travelling around London a bit, so thankfully I won’t be in just one place at all times.

Monday 29th July 2019

Back to Morocco. After a kind of big but quick breakfast, Mr Travels had to return his loaned car back to the Rabat shop, so we left our luggage at the hotel. The Travels family went to Rabat by car, and I went there by train…

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I think I got to Rabat before the Travels family, so I was waiting around at the station… Then Mrs Travels sent me their location and started walking.

We started walking around parts of Rabat that I never got to see…

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It was a long walk through the market in the Medina and out and around! 😣 Make sure to wear walking shoes!!

We ended up at the tomb of the late king…DSC_3397

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We found lunch at a cafe/restaurant. The Travels had recommended Tajine, a local Moroccan dish. This had meatballs (can’t remember if it was beef) with egg but it was delicious with the bread. It reminded me of the burger dish I had in Japan that I found too salty. The Moroccan version tasted better. 😅

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After lunch, it was time to go and play. The girls played on some toy cars… It was too hot for me, and I think I became too sensitive. A poor man started asking for money, and I lost to my emotions after he started swearing at me and believing that I was insensitive. Ugh. Grrrrr. Mrs Travels called me stubborn (yep I am) and I ended up being teary. Eek. Emotional Geek came out!

After an emotional afternoon, we went back to Kenitra by train… And walked back to our next destination. It was another long walk back to the next place we were staying in. An Airbnb place.

Then time for dinner… A shared one…

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Mr and Mrs Travels wanted to talk all night, but I was so tired… I ended up sleeping on the sofa that night with sunburnt shoulders. Miss A wanted to sleep alone in the room I was going to stay in. 😅😅😅

End of Day 3.

Hotel Ambassy – Kenitra, Morocco

Another hotel review.

A slightly expensive hotel in Kenitra – it was €60 for one night for this room… Apologies for taking a picture of a used bed and bathroom. We were all tired, and I only had time in the morning to take pictures.DSC_3363

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My kitchen facilities were better than the Travels’ family room. Nothing was broken.DSC_3365

Breakfast takes a longer time to prepare…DSC_3366

The only problems I had was the WiFi – didn’t have any in the room!

Also, right before sunrise, you will hear the call out for people to go and pray at the mosque or in their homes  (I think)… It’s sung in minor key. So make sure you sleep early!!

Address: Avenue Hassan II, Kénitra 14000, Morocco

Tel: +212 5373 79868

Hotel Tuxeda – Rabat, Morocco

In Rabat, I stayed in Hotel Tuxeda. It’s near the sea, but a little further away from the city centre.

It isn’t far from the medina, where the people are really nice. The hotel staff are really nice… even when I had trouble opening the door, the receptionist came to open the door for me!DSC_3310.JPG

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Facilities aren’t too bad. Thought the shower was a bit too close to the toilet, but at least there was hot water in this hotel!DSC_3298

The room was a bit stuffy because I couldn’t find the remote for the aircon… it may have been with the receptionist. Hmmmm. WiFi was ok. Breakfast was boring.

A nice place for a cheap price.

Address: 32, Bv Al Moukawama, Rabat 10040, Morocco

+212 5372 04223

Morocco – Day 2: Rabat to Kenitra

Currently jobless. Currently not feeling sorry for myself. 😆 Maybe it’s because I actually have loads to catch up on, like crochet, studying Japanese and doing housework which I’ve been avoiding.

Sunday 28th July 2019

I woke up on time for breakfast, but I was actually lounging around the hotel room feeling lazy to move.

The breakfast lounge of the hotel I was staying was on the top floor (fifth floor) which was the floor above me. You can actually here the scraping of chairs on the floor from my room.

I would say that the selection for breakfast was quite minimal. Even the coffee cups are small… This was when I started reminiscing my breakfasts in Japan, how grand they were, and the selection in Japan was much more satisfying… No wonder the breakfast lounge looked a bit diminished.DSC_3306DSC_3308DSC_3309

It was time to check out, and to explore Rabat before moving onto my next destination.

Thought it was quite interesting to see street names of worldwide cities in Rabat. It might be where foreigners used to stay when they came to Rabat.

 

Next I moved towards the station but ended up in the market which is inside the medina!

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This is where I bought a cheap Nokia phone for 200 Dh. Not bad!! DSC_3352.JPG

After about an hour or so in the market, I needed to get to the station.

 

After a long walk and a bit of a search for the station – had to ask some guards for directions in French/English. (Maybe I need to start learning and speaking French again).

Bought my ticket to Kenitra Station and prepared to wait for the train.

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I arrived in Kenitra quite quickly! So I had my lunch and a Starbucks… I actually sat in the station for about 6 hours in total waiting for the Travels family to arrive.

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After the six hour ordeal of waiting – thankfully there’s free WiFi to use, I received permission from Mrs Travels that I can go out and walk around plus look for food! I ended up walking along a long street… The thing I realise is that there are mostly men sitting out in the cafés and rarely a muslim woman would sit outside and join them.

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I ended up in a Japanese restaurant for dinner… Erm… I needed something that I was familiar with. I think the owner thought I was Japanese because I started talking in basic Japanese… 😅 Nevermind. A little boy was sitting inside, and he said the food is super great! ^_^DSC_3359

The food was fairly basic. They didn’t have some of the things that I wanted, but that’s ok. It took a while to prepare the food, but you know what the chicken karaage was worth the wait! The bitesize karrage was very tasty – probably tastier than the ones I’ve tasted in London and Japan!!DSC_3361DSC_3360

I think it came to less than 200 Dh and the owner was trying to sell me some miso soup to make 200 Dh… Moroccans really try to make a deal out of everything!!

Address: Tokyo Sushi, Kenitra, Morocco

Finally got info from Mrs Travels; they were looking for a hotel for all of us to stay in as the Airbnb owners abandoned ship, and it was hard to find a place in short notice. I walked to the place that we were going to stay in… And finally met them!! 😊😄

 They haven’t had any dinner, so we went out to find food… and a smoothie… Think I was a bit constipated, as I was passing out wind in public. LOL!! I think Missy A missed me. Heheheh. The Travels family said she changed when I appeared. DSC_3362.JPG

After this long day of waiting around, we all went back to the hotel… I seemed to have a better room than the family room, LOL – so they say. But it was expensive for €60 a night!

The girls, Missy I, Missy S and Missy A all used my bathroom – I’m not sure what Mr Travels was thinking. Why my room???  😫

Well…

End of Day 2.

Morocco – Day 1: Entering Rabat

So last month I ended a 3-month job as a freelancer in the private sector of doing something similar to my old job – I was given too much freedom, and I enjoyed it. Will still be freelancing (currently working two jobs at the moment – old and partly my new job), but I’ve also applied for a job that’s one day a week – a management role involving some old managers and teams of mine in the public sector. We’ll see how things will go… Scared and grateful of all these opportunities I’ve been given at the moment. ^_^ I just need something secure!!! Life is not so simple for now… 😅

As the 3-month verbally agreed contract ended, it was my time to go on holiday! Another one? Yeah!!

Saturday 27th July 2019

I was invited by the Travels Family a long time ago – I think it was when I was in China at the time, to go to a wedding of a very close family friend of Mr Travels’ parents in Morocco… I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco, so I decided to go in the end! Just for the experience.  😉

Travelling around the world seems like second nature to me, but this time I really had to travel like a cheap skate, so I took a National Express coach to Stansted Airport from Waterloo – an hour and a half on the coach for £5!! That’s a mega deal!! Hint: The coaches are quite regular, and they have a tight schedule to keep to, so make sure you either have cash on you in case the driver’s card machine doesn’t work.

I went via the fast-track route, not sure why I paid for this but it was better than waiting in the queue… I had a couple of hours to kill, so I looked around and also had a late lunch. The waffle fries here were good, but the chicken burger needs improvement… Not sure if this “secret sauce” of mayo and thousand islands suited the burger well enough. Disappointed.DSC_3281.JPG

Once in the air, it felt like I was back home in the skies… I sat next to a family and their youngest daughter screamed too much. I tried not to get so angry, so I giggled to myself at all the bad experiences I’ve had. I started reading “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang (I haven’t finished it yet) and listened to a lot of music.DSC_3283DSC_3290DSC_3293

Once I arrived in Rabat Airport, passport control was right in front. You have to fill in one of those landing cards beforehand… The queue was long, and the wait was more than an hour! People behind me were so inconsiderate that they kept bumping into my backpack. I hate people who bump into me for no reason. I am obviously in front of you, stop pushing me!!

The officers worked diligently, as they have to check your purpose for entering the country. It’s a Muslim country, so they suspect everyone who enters. I get it… but hire more staff. It was my first time in Morocco, and I kind of felt disappointed already… 😫Mrs Travels text me for a bit, and she couldn’t even understand why I wasn’t in the taxi yet.

An old taxi driver was waiting for me, and I had to explain in easy English that the queue was sooooo long. I felt sorry for him, but at least he tried to guide me in broken English and some easy French some of the sites in Rabat. The hotel said it was 200Dh for the taxi, but the driver asked for 250Dh because of the wait… a bit sneaky, but at least he waited. Really grateful.DSC_3296

Once at the hotel, I went to my room (and I couldn’t find the air con remote), rested a bit beforehand… and tried to figure out how to use this free sim card from Maroc Telecom which you can get at the airport. The staff take a copy of your passport picture before you use it. Unfortunately I realised the phones that I brought along were both locked to EE, so I couldn’t use the sim card. Make sure you always bring an unlocked phone.DSC_3301

After the ordeal at the hotel, I really needed food. They serve Spanish food at the hotel, and they recommended the fish… I don’t like bony fish that much, but I had it in the end. This cost me 200Dh (~£18). The bread was a bit too much. The veggies was nice. The fish was ok, just too bony.DSC_3302DSC_3303DSC_3304DSC_3305

It was time to get some rest, and plan what to do the next day.

End of Day 1.

 

Manga Exhibition @ The British Museum

On June 2nd 2019, I decided to go and view the Manga Exhibition at The British Museum.

I was having a Japan moment. Missed the country and the food! The exhibition ends today, and I didn’t want to spoil it too much for those who wanted to go and have a look.

Here’s some pictures from the exhibition…

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Manga version of snakes and ladders – I think Japanese people love this gameDSC_3058

I really loved the basic introduction to manga and features for fans. I really liked the reading section which was in the middle of the exhibition. I really want there to be a real manga library somewhere (so that I don’t have to keep buying the books) – I know lots of public libraries lend out manga, but it’s not enough (for me)!

Hopefully we’ll see an English Manga library available to let us borrow books… maybe an Online-Delivery service… It might be expensive but considering costs of manga these days… Hmmmm… 🤓

 

Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 14 – Homebound

Friday 12th April 2019

And finally it was time to say goodbye to Osaka and Japan! It was so nice being back after five years!

As soon as I checked out, I took the cab that was booked via Bamba Experience. I was ready to go!! The ride took forever… It took so long to get to the airport.

After check in, I bought some snacks – like Kit Kat for blogging later! (Still haven’t had them yet).DSC_0325

I also bought my breakfast… I didn’t bother to eat at the hotel in case I missed my cab and flight.
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10 hours on the plane from Japan to Helsinki… The flight was ok, I sat to a couple of Italians. The flight was fully booked unfortunately.

It was my first time in Finland… Luckily didn’t have to pick up my luggage in between flights!!DSC_0327

Finally left Finland to get to London… Thankfully I had two seats to myself. Yay!!! No one sat next to me.DSC_0328

This was a perfect journey going home by myself… I even took a black cab since I didn’t spend much in Japan.

Afterthoughts: I came back with a lot of money leftover. I took around ¥20,000 which is approximately £1,500 as spending money. But I had only spent around £800 – for food, drinks, tickets, shopping… As a lone traveler, you have to think of spending less. Plus I was practically jobless at the time I was travelling. The rest of the money was exchanged, and used for my rent. How clever is this Geek? Very clever!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this journey. Next journey coming up soon!!

Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda – Osaka, Japan

The Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda is practically right next door to Osaka Station. There are a lot of eateries inside and outside the station area for you to try out…DSC_0300

The room is quite small compared to the other rooms I had stayed in, but it is decent.
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Bathroom is nice and clean!DSC_0025

But I was faced right next to the train lines… Fortunately I could sleep… The main noise was from the people next door to me. They were all loud, coughing and other things. Hmmm.DSC_0028DSC_0029

A nice hotel. Loved the breakfast buffet. Easy to get to.

Address: 3 Chome-3-55 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 13 – Osaka Last Round

Thursday 11th April 2019

My last full day in Japan! Had to make it a memorable last full day. So I made sure I ate a lot for breakfast, and made sure I left my card at the table so I could get my extra coffee… The day before, the restaurant staff just took my coffee away when I was getting more food.

Then out I go. Out to the shopping district of Osaka. Tenjinbashisuji. As you come out of the Temma Station. You go to one side, then back to the middle… then you walk the other side, then back to the middle… OMG… that was so long! Luckily I had lots for breakfast. There’s a lot of shops, most don’t open until after 10am. So just walk back and forth.

After shopping, it was time to eat… I haven’t had much sushi on this trip, so I decided to go to this store outside Temma Station.

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It’s just like Yo! Sushi… but much more fancier, and much more tastier…DSC_0234

I had 10 plates and free DIY green tea… the expensive dish was the one on the black plate – OMG, raw prawns are AMAZING!!! I could eat these all over again… Cost less than ¥3000.DSC_0245

Address: 回乾寿司 マリンポリス, Temma Station.

KFC was next door… I had to take a picture of Mr KFC.

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As I was leaving, I had to take pictures of these…
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On the Osaka Loop Line, there is a station called Sakuranomiya. Can’t find much history of this spot but I guess it was a man-made area dedicated for sakura, cherry blossom viewing for the locals and the tourists. It stretches for a few kilometres… I could have walked a bit more, but I was in need for a toilet… drank too much tea and coffee!

If you’re in Osaka between March and April, I recommend you go to this spot!!

One food item I bought at the market was a box of gigantic dango. I actually wanted one skewer, but got a box instead. Hahahaha!! Too embarrassed to refuse, I just decided to buy it and eat it at the hotel. The sauce is like sweet hoisin sauce… The dango was like tough mochi. I’m actually craving for these!DSC_0301DSC_0303

I took a really long nap at this point – I was really tired.

Then I suddenly woke up, and went for my final dinner in Japan… I went out looking for omurice. Thankfully there’s a stall near the station that makes omurice.DSC_0310DSC_0309

You may think there’s a lot of tomato sauce, but it was just right. It didn’t taste like ketchup, it tasted like Italian pasta sauce.DSC_0306DSC_0307

I had chicken omurice… and it was amazing with that sauce! Where can I get that sauce!!??DSC_0308

Also had some fried chicken… why not?DSC_0305

Address: Japan, 530-0001 Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 3 Chome−1−1 3

As I finished eating, I decided to walk around the shopping areas… Mr Games wanted pictures of fake food… so here’s a pic of fake sushi.DSC_0311

Couldn’t find a dessert shop in Osaka Station, so I bought some desserts from 7Eleven – cheap and cheerful, but too much plastic wasted. Sorry to the environmentalists!DSC_0312DSC_0314DSC_0316DSC_0313DSC_0317DSC_0315

It was a long night… Shouldn’t have had that nap… And next door I could hear a couple having a romp. 🤣🤣🤣 They weren’t ashamed of people hearing them I guess…

Goodnight Osaka!
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Very hard to get to sleep… But at least I slept in the end…

End of Day 13.

Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 12 – Osaka Castle

Wednesday 10th April 2019

When you check in at the hotel I was staying in Osaka, they give you breakfast coupons – as with all the hotels I have stayed in… The person at reception gives you a card to place at your table to ensure you reserve your own seat. Here’s another buffet breakfast. I really liked the croissants!!!DSC_0086DSC_0087DSC_0088

The dining area is so classy… You can see the public walking past and rushing to get to work… It was raining that day, so there were a lot of umbrellas out.DSC_0089

I really needed to go out… Didn’t want to because of the rain. This was the first time I think that it’s rained on me in the morning.

When I got to the station, and as it’s so big, I decided to listen to other tourists and go to the tourist reception for advice. I wanted to go to Osaka Castle… So I went onto the Osaka Loop Line, then got off at Osaka Jo Koen – Osaka Gardens.

The surroundings of the castle is amazing, even in the rain I felt its magnificence. There was a lot of uphill walking, but that was ok compared to Hakone!

In the end, I bought a ticket for ¥600 to go up the castle… It’s spectacular from the top!

I love this castle! So grand!DSC_0136

Next door is a museum and where there’s some shops… One of the shopkeepers in the Ninja Shop took a lot of my coins in exchange for notes. I think it’s hard for them to always go to the bank during the day to get change I guess. Oh well. But I did rebuild my coin collection. I was going to use some of the coins for my laundry, but I ended up hand-washing some of my clothes instead of wasting my time in the laundry room.DSC_0139DSC_0140

The surroundings of the castle is beautiful…

Time to head back to the hotel… I didn’t like this rain… As it was too early for me to go back to my room because of the cleaners, I went exploring in Osaka Station where I found the Pokémon Centre! Woohoo! Pikachu, I found you!! 😊

And then I had ramen… You’re allowed to help yourself with kimchi and bamboo shoots. The kimchi was so sweet – I think to suit Japanese people’s taste buds – not bad!

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Address: 3 Chome-2-136 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

I found this statue quite funny… Not sure what it’s for…DSC_0198

Well, one thing I really wanted to try was the takoyaki balls from the West Coast of Japan. This place looked decent, and I think may have been featured in a manga series called The Solitary Gourmet, where a business man goes out to places for meetings, and then ends up eating alone in a place he bumps into… pretty much what I do in my life when I travel…
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This was a nice random shot… I didn’t ask the guy to pose for me. Hah!DSC_0200

The takoyaki balls are very different to the ones I would have. They don’t add mayo and fish flakes on top with a lot of seaweed seasoning… it was rather plain, and not doughy at all…DSC_0201DSC_0202

Ended up eating inside the shop… I even asked for lemon shochu… maybe a bit too early for drinking in Japan (it was early afternoon – so a lunchtime drink is acceptable for me), but I’m just a lone traveler passing through. Sorry to the family who sat next to me.DSC_0203

Address: Aizuya, 3 Chome-2-136 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

Went back to the hotel room, took a bit of rest,  and then went back out to see the other side of Osaka, and see if there was anything exciting near the hotel… nope… nothing exciting… all the shops seem to be underground as well.

Last meal of the day was this tonkatsu bento from Tonkatsu Ganko near the hotel… I was missing my vegetable intake.DSC_0209DSC_0211

The shop has an Instagram campaign, whereby if you take a picture and post it, show the people that you have posted it and you will get a free dessert…DSC_0207

Address: Umesan Kouji, 3 Chome-2-136 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

Well I had a long day… I was also contacting Bamba Experience to sort out my transfer to the airport on this day. Didn’t want another mishap!

End of Day 12.