A city of contradictions. Fading colonial city. Bustling financial center. Mercedes sedans jostling with donkey-powered carts on the roads. Women wearing traditional Moroccan djellabas and babouche walking arm-in-arm with girls in skinny jeans and stilettos. Traditional Moroccan cuisine. Sushi bars. Severe pollution and smog. Pristine Atlantic beaches. A plethora of palm trees. Ubiquitous litter. And so on.
It's scary to cross the street in Casablanca, where over one-third of the Moroccan population lives, so I'm lucky I have help in my husband and his sisters and brother. They have to hold my hand. And there are no left-turn arrows anywhere. Red lights are seen as suggestions rather than mandatories. Moroccans are traffic scofflaws! No, I kid, I kid. You wonder why I keep talking about cars? It's really the only way to get around the place. Although a tramway is under construction...snarling traffic even worse in the meantime.
But Casablanca is fascinating all the same. In our two days, we walked at La Corniche (the beach), explored the old quarter called Habous, and luxuriated in the Hammam, a Turkish-style bath where I was lucky enough to get an argan-oil massage. Relaxed before holding my breath again for the scary drive home.
And did I mention, we ate...Moroccans are famous for their hospitality, which involves preparing elaborate meals for guests. It makes every day extremely delicious. We're walking for as many hours possibly on a daily basis to balance out the treats! :-)
The arch above an old mosque in Habous:
A booth at the extensive olive market:
Old Moroccan tiles and cookies in Patisserie Bennis, my favorite bakery!
The view of a typical Casa street from my sister-in-law's apartment:
Traditional seven vegetable couscous and fish stuffed with rice noodles:
"Breakfast complet" at a cafe included homemade bread with cheese, olive oil and thyme, an egg, yogurt, fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee (mint tea for Idriss). Not to rub it in, but besides being delicious with a tip this breakfast was $4.50 for two of us...
A beautiful carved door in Habous. Doors are remarkable here, I'm sure I'll post many pictures. "Mish" means cat in Moroccan...they're all over the place.