Once again with the wanderlust. This time for Africa. Waka waka into Casablanca jetlagged and a day late. Don’t fly TAP Air.
The fields were dirt brown as we descended toward the airport, but hey it’s winter here too. 33 degrees north latitude puts us about the same as Atlanta, Georgia.
Our apartment was in this neighborhood with a mix of art deco buildings, low rise apartments, shops, and modern apartment towers.
Satellites abound in our view from our balcony. We had a one bedroom with a decent back terrace and high speed internet that mostly worked.
Always plenty of street vendors. Bread, olives, tissues. Persimmons and pomegranates are the in season fruit everyone’s talking about.
Sidewalks weren’t the worst we’d seen (Bangalore) and are generally navigable if you aren’t in a wheelchair. Look what some virgins spray painted on the wall. This was pretty much the quality of graffiti in Casablanca.
Casablanca has been around for a while in some form or another. It was founded by Berbers, used as a port by Phoenicians and Romans, and colonized by Arabs, Portugal, Spain, and France. Today it’s the biggest city in Morocco with over 3 million people, but it only had 12,000 in 1906.
It feels like a fairly modern city downtown. There was some trash and rubble piled up here and there, but it wasn’t the dirtiest I’ve seen. Our Airbnb host assured us unnecessarily that other cities were much cleaner.
This skatepark felt abandoned on a weekday morning.
We were a short walk to the Arab League Park. You can see a former French church in the background (now a cultural center). The old arches in the art exhibit came from a former Portuguese colonial prison.
Shan couldn’t resist the glissade. We really should have tuned up our French for this leg of the trip but we got by.
It was cool to see new and different trees, and we had the park almost to ourselves. There were a few other couples, joggers, and kids playing soccer on a basketball court.
The medina (walled city) is the only part that feels old in this city, and even it was rebuilt in the mid-1700s after an earthquake. It’s labyrinthine though, and Google maps couldn’t quite keep up.
Alley cats everywhere, but few dogs. You don’t have to look out for cars, but motorbikes zip through the winding passages.
We could have spent a lot of time wandering, but I had to be back to work online by noon.
We had time for a breakfast for two at one of the top rated restaurants in the medina. O.J., tea, horchata, fruit salad, corn cake, fried dough, bread, pancake type things, eggs with beef, fruit jam, honey, olive oil, argan oil, almond butter, olives, and yogurt. A little over $15 USD.
We had just enough time to walk up the coast to see the second biggest mosque in Africa, Hassan II.
There were a few joggers (one welcomed us as he passed) and a handful of fishermen on the approach. You can pay for a tour inside, but we hopped in a cab, haggled the price down to 35 dirham ($3.50) and headed home.
And that brought us to the end of our time in Casablanca. Most people were helpful and friendly as we have experienced everywhere. We took a local train to the main station where we caught a high speed train.
Two hours, a Nescafe, and 190 mph later (I think that’s how time works? Like light-years right?), we rolled up in Tangier.
A parting shot. I liked the vaporwave aesthetic in the dining car we basically had to ourselves.