Existing Member?

The adventures of the Mel

Casablanca

MOROCCO | Friday, 4 July 2008 | Views [856] | Comments [2]

Wow. I’ve only been in Morocco for four hours and I’m in love already. What an amazing place. Everything is such a wonderful assault on the senses and I’m only in Casablanca!

Before arriving into Casablanca we did nearly lose our baggage, along with about 20 other people. They just lost an entire crate and people went berserk; screaming, cursing, getting very upset. For reasons unknown to me (particularly because I was hungry) it didn’t stress me out at all, so when it all turned up about half an hour later, I wasn’t really surprised.

We jumped onto the train into town (the airport is 30km away from the city) and started a long, hot and sweaty journey in. We arrived at a train station which was not the one we wanted, but thankfully the driver’s mate knew a bit of English and went out of his way to get us onto the next train which took us to Casa Port, the train station in the heart of Casablanca.

We wandered off and found our way into the medina where our hotel was, but where exactly this was, we had NO idea. So we wandered around like ignorant tourists, not speaking a damn word of Arabic (wait….we ARE ignorant tourists). We were just about to admit we had no damn idea what was going on, when a local approached us and spoke in near to perfect English, asking where we wanted to get to. He owns a café here and he left his café to take us to our hotel, and then insisted that we have to come back for a coffee when we are ready. He refused a tip, which left me with a wonderful sensation of how amazing people are. Morocco is supposed to be a tipping country – everything warrants a tip – and twice within half an hour people went out of their way to help us and not expect anything in return. I don’t think I’ve stopped grinning.

We got into the hotel, where yet again we were met by somebody speaking English, warmly welcoming us and making us feel, well, really damn welcome. We went for a wander for a couple of hours, and had what turned out to be dinner. We were stupidly surprised at how spicy it was – sure, go to Morocco and don’t expect to be fed spicy food. Yeah, yeah. Shaddup.

Things have been a lot easier than we thought so far – we’ve met quite a few people that speak English, and most people speak French as well; it’s their second official language. This means that all street signs and informative stuff has names written in French as well. Thank freaking god!! I do have to brush up on my French, but I don’t have to stress about being able to read Arabic. Phew! Mind you, I hate not being able to speak the language. I didn`t realise how much I was used to Spanish; I feel crippled and stupid not being able to communicate. Note about communication - their keyboards have a few keys swapped around which makes it really frustrating to type after touch typing for well over a decade.

We continued walking and looking at the contrast of the city – very modern, westernised buildings next to dilapidated, crumbling ones, ones with beautiful though stereotypical archways and unfortunately, even a McDonald’s and a KFC. We found our way into the medina from the other end, marked by a beautiful gate, and wandered in. Immediately I felt an overwhelming ‘in Morocco’ feeling. Vendors lined the plaza we walked into, selling their wares from shoes to traditional smoking pipes to snake charming flutes to bathers to….hell, you name it, they were selling it.

Locals wandered through bringing life to the ‘country of contrasts’ label – conservative muslim women, covered head to toe (though minus the berka) to younger, more modern girls in singlets and medium-length skirts. Andrew was essentially the only man in shorts – I have NO idea how they don’t overheat. We did get stared at a lot – I think we were the only two non-locals walking around.

I think I figured out what your comment meant though Dogbait – it took us over an hour to find our way out of the medina, all the twisting, winding narrow streets that lead us from place to place had Andrew lost within minutes. It was just wonderful to wander through the locals; women rushing from one market place to another, bargaining with the vendors; men standing around conversing; kids playing soccer and riding bikes, staring and sometimes smiling with a ‘bonjour’ for the strange looking tourists. You can’t walk through with an iPod or anything – you need to be aware of your surroundings as motorbikes fly through the narrow corridors and slow down indeterminably for you. So much I just wanted to capture on film, but knew that you can’t exactly put ambience into a photo, and I didn’t feel really comfortable pulling out my camera when I was being stared at the entire time.

We made our way back around the median (outside the wall this time) to our hotel where we have discovered an English TV channel – at the moment playing Bond – I know you wish you were here Spunk. Hell, I know you ALL wish you were here. Hehe, suckers.

Casablanca photos.

 

Comments

1

Omg when u leave u and andrew have to go to the airport when its all foggy dressed in overcoats and hats and u'll say "i'll never leave u"
"and u never will, but i got a job to do and where im going u can't follow ... *something i can't remember* ... he's looking at u kid"
and then u run off to the plane and as it leaves andrew walks off with the cafe owner and says "louie i think this is a start of a beautiful friendship" and then it should all fade out and u guys wont be able to see anymore as these names just go flying past u in an upwards motion

... im actually suprised i remembered all that, i watched the end of it like 4 weeks ago waiting for bill and ted's bogus adventure to come on haha

  jordmans_quest Jul 5, 2008 10:04 AM

2

I thought you wouldn't be disappointed with Morocco. The Hassan II Mosque is well worth a visit too. A lengthy walk but good exercise if you need it. Wait until you see the World Heritage Medina at Fez. "Freaking" awesome!

  Dogbait Jul 5, 2008 10:30 AM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


 

 

Travel Answers about Morocco

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.