Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm BACK. For good.

(view from our hotel in Casablanca)

After a stint in candyland in which I lost my internet savvy, fear no more I am back in the U S of A and ready to go BLOGCORE.

I have my itunes on shuffle, Beck is serenading me and I am ready to climb the formerly insurmountable mountain of a task that is recounting my time in Morocco from April 15th - 22nd.

But first, there are a few things you should know about Morocco (from my interpretation at least) before delving into my memoir:

1. Morocco is a muslim country in North Africa. This means droning prayers throughout the cities several times a day. The women are liberally

2. Morocco was formally a french colony, thus many of its inhabitants, especially the younger generation, speak french. Even the smaller towns have chairs spilling out of the cafés onto tiling. The entire country is very clean... for this and its convenient location it is what I dub "the white man's" vacation in Africa

3. 11 dirhams to the euro. Pretty sweet exchange rate.

4. Every price is negotiable. There is not a single thing bought without bargaining.

5. Moroccans are some of the most hospitable people out there.

Day 1

My friend auspiciously chose one of the nicest hotels in Casablanca, which the cabbie informed us was located on the "Champs Elysées of Casablanca". Indeed it was on the nicest road with all the other hotels and nice restaurants along the coast, but even then there was gravel everywhere. Aside from the palm trees, the beautiful mosque and the beach, Casablanca was vaguely polluted, open and desolate. The night was chilly, windy and moist and salty from the sea air.

We shied away from a rather nice restaurant that french tourists decided on and went with another that was more of a hashisha bar. The waiter outside was very convincing. As we would soon find out later... there's always a welcoming borderline obnoxious man trying to flock you into his establishment. We descended the stairs to find live music (which is generally traditional arabic music + a dude singing it), moroccan business men sitting at white clothed tables and certainly no tourists. The effect was instant - we definitely looked odd amongst them.

About halfway through our meal of probably the best couscous we had our whole time Morocco, heavily made up women wearing tight clothing and stilettos, basically walking ads for baby phat morocco, strutted in accompanying older, portly moroccan men. My companions were convinced they were paid escorts, but I like to think that the generous wallets of their men guided them into the state of holy matrimony.

We ended with mint tea - about as omnipresent in Morocco as Speidi in fine media outlets. Since I was lame, tired and still feeling the heavy weight of my epic jihad paper, I read jihad by gilles kepel (excellent but damn near killed me) and my companions frolicked on the coast.

So ends day 1.

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