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Casablanca: Business, not pleasure

Posted by daveb on April 4th, 2008

Casablanca is more interested in business than it is in the tourist dirham, with the exception of the Hassan II mosque which is the world’s third largest mosque and is open to the paying public. (The two largest are in Saudi Arabia, including Mecca.) An impressively-scaled building, built on reclaimed land in the Atlantic ocean. Friends’ weddings aside, it’s probably the only mosque that we will be able to visit and so we jumped at the chance — even if it did cost us the equivalent of two night’s accommodation in the city. Favourite moments include:

Tour guide: “The men sit here at the front of the mosque to pray. The women go upstairs and to the back. Or outside, if upstairs is full.”
Male tourist: “So do important people have a special place to pray here?”
Tour guide “No my friend. In the mosque, everyone is equal. So the rich man and the poor man sit side-by-side and pray together. Everyone is equal.”
Female American tourist: “Everyone, except women, that is.”
Tour guide: “WHY?!”
(All other tourists look down and stare at their feet.)
Female tourist: “Oh never mind…”

Casa’s coastline is said to be playground for the young, rich set who want to see and be seen. Towels and cossies in bag and with high expectations, we caught a taxi over to the coast to hunt-out an upmarket beach club for the afternoon.

Sometimes I want to sit down with the Lonely Planet authors and ask them what drugs they had taken before writing various chapters. Take a look at the pictures to see for yourself — what a ‘hole! In fairness, recessed a road back, there were one or two nice looking bars/restaurants. But on the beach-front itself, the best place we found to eat was a Kentucky Fried Chicken. A KFC. On the beachfront!?! Please, I ask you! Having said that, I lurve KFC and so took the opportunity to munch a few chicken strippers on location… :-)

In the evening, we escaped all-things-Moroccan to the Ibis/Novotel hotel bar for a juice and had a cracking sweet and sour chicken in the local Chinese restaurant which, as I went to great pains to explain to the chef was “the best food I’ve had in all of Morocco”. Squiffy later explained to me that my pidgin French had actually translated to “I don’t like you”.

Another day, another cultural boob.


Comment from Andy
Time: April 5, 2008, 11:39 am

Claire, have you committed some sort of crime along the way? Trying to disguise yourself with hats, scarves, shades & newspapers will not work you know!

Comment from Sista
Time: April 6, 2008, 4:03 pm

Hi kids,

Wavey, I’m sure you won’t remember but it was Casa where I spent a short while back in the days of yore (ie when I was 18). If you come across a neighbourhood called Mohammadia, this is my old hood! And I used to hang out at the beach club in Skirat with the king of Egypt’s daughter, Fazia. Beautiful beach, beautiful people…

Aah, those days of yore – and 3rd degree sunburn.

All well here lil’ bro – the air con went on today for the first time this year. The summer is fast approacing.

Comment from Claire
Time: April 6, 2008, 8:20 pm

Haa haa! I hadn’t realised I looked so suspicious. Mind you, even with all those disguises the touts spot a westerner from 100 paces.

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