And yet…how could we go to Morocco and not see Casablanca? I mean, round up the usual suspects? Where I'm going you can't follow? Of all the gin joints? I just had to. (Uh, plus it’s where the overwhelming majority of flights to Morocco land, so I didn’t really have the option NOT to at least pop by.)
(PS: If you think I wasn’t rattling off Casablanca one-liners the entire day and a half we were there, you’d be mistaken. You’d also be mistaken if you thought that George didn’t throw a “Frankly, my dear” in there before pausing, looking confused, and saying: “Wait. That’s Gone with the Wind, right?” Right.)
Parc de la Ligue Arabe: This lush and pretty park is full of nice lanes to wander, tall palms, and Moroccans young and old sitting on benches and strolling along. At the end of the park were some teens playing a pretty heated soccer match, and we paused to take a look before a photographer approached George and asked to take a shot of his jeans, as part of a spread the tourist bureau is allegedly doing on men’s fashion. Who knows if it was true. All I know is that it was HILARIOUS and you better believe if I spot that pic online I’ll be sharing it with you asap.
Hassan II Mosque: This thing is pretty darn impressive. It’s huge (the biggest in Africa), is sandwiched between the Atlantic and a beautiful sprawling plaza, and has some serious tilework game. I mean, I’d never seen anything like it (and it certainly beats the botch job that our home’s previous owner did on our shower’s subway tiles). The grounds were full of couples, families, and tour groups checking out the impressive architecture, and there’s a nice adjacent seaside walk where the locals seemed to be hanging out enjoying roasted nuts and the ever-present (and always delicious) mint tea.
City Streets: So when I say streets, I don’t mean the streetscapes, per se, although they were pretty cool (lotsa glitzy shops among some pretty compelling Art Deco architecture)…I mean CROSSING the streets. You know, without dying. Or, similarly, being driven around the streets, also without dying. Are there lanes in Casablanca? Sure! Are there stop lights? Absolutely. Is that any reason for all hell to not break loose on the road? Apparently not. Whether you’re in a car or on foot, it’s like one big game of Frogger going on at high velocity. Dodging pedestrians, motorbikes, BMWs, taxis, and the occasional animal-drawn cart makes for some solid memories and is, once you survive and wipe the tears of terror from your face, kinda hilarious.
I think it’s safe to say that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.