The coast at Casablanca.
And so begins Day 2 in Morocco
We had our complimentary breakfast overlooking the patio and breezy coastline. Within ear shot was an extremely french couple, the woman skinny, gazelle like and head to toe in linen. The man was wearing thin rectangular glasses that I have been pining after as of late - mine are I must admit gargantuan. They ate like birds of course and probably smoked des cigarettes après.
At first we were intimidated by the hordes of young Moroccans playing soccer on the beach, but the black and red sands, expansive sky and threat of rain moved us onward. We walked as close to the water as we dared - every so often the breaking wave would rush on so quickly and so uniformly across the beach that you actually had to run away from it. Aside from the teams of boys and men bright soccer shorts, there were a few groups of teenagers lounging in the sand.
As soon as we checked out and haggled for a reasonably priced cab fare, it was pouring rain and they had to shut down the mosque, a cool and vast place of marble nonetheless. Unable to find another cab to the train station for quite some time, we trekked through the rain with our cumbersome duffel bags but did see a good portion of the city. Much like the mosque there was a pervading marble color to the tiling, palm trees everywhere, carts heaping with tantalizing fruits, fresh bread or vegetables.
Suprisingly dry we kipped into a random café near the train station for lunch, again filled with Moroccan business men. The chicken tagine was to die for - by far the best tagine we had in Morocco. Our train ride to Marrakech was like a waking dream, transitioning from idyllic poppy fields and sheep flocks to what looked like Jurassic park. Whilst reading jihad, I unfortunately fell asleep and happened to be sitting next to a scholar of islam. I definitely missed out on what could have been a rousing discussion of Sayyid Qotb.
After dismissing a faux guide who had suspiciously perfect english, we once again walked to our destination. The wide avenue in the new city was strongly reminiscent of a grand boulevard in Paris and a stark contrast to the bustling medina in the old city, where the stalls boasted anywhere from fresh goat head to moutains of mint leaves. It was utterly hopeless trying to find the nook our hostel was in, so we paid a teen to show us the way.
Riad Massin was by far the best riad in Marrakech - unlimited mint tea, loving people that treated you like family, free internet use (a community laptop), organized excursions, beautiful, clean and really really cheap (I think it was like 11 euro a night).
We had dinner at "the stalls", basically glorified picnic tables at the main square called Place Jemaa el Fna. The stalls were lined up in succession - some had only locals, some had only tourists. Each stall was manned by a loud, multilingual dude that yelled stuff at tourists to attract them to their stall. Our favorite was the one who used "finger-lickin' good" on us KFC-loving americans. Everything was a bit flavorless and disappointing except for the fried eggplant, which was delicious. We were too intimidated by the stalls with all locals. This was compounded by the fact that the menu signs were in arabic and not french.
And so ends day 2. Many more pics on my flickr.