Casablanca, Morocco

                                                                            Hassan II Mosque

October 21, 2009

Casablanca is a place we’ve long wanted to see, and not because of the movie (Susan didn’t see it until after she’d visited the city).  Actually, Susan used to know several people that loved Morocco, and so was interested in it.  We are sorry to say that Casablanca was something of a disappointment.  Part of that is the culture, which is okay with letting their buildings decay.  Another part of it is that we were on the last of 26 busses for the tour we chose, and our “guide”, was a guide in name only.  His English was apparently not very good, and he told us very little about his city, beyond the fact that the Mosque Hassan II is big enough to allow 80,000 people to pray there at the same time.  

Our tour took us first to a traditional market, where we saw lots of fish, produce and flowers, along with a few ceramics, including tagines, the traditional ceramic cooking pots.  From there we went to a very nice Catholic church.  The other thing our guide told us several times was how tolerant the Moroccans are of religions other than Islam.  We stopped at Hassan II mosque for a photo opportunity, and then proceeded to a waterfront hotel, where we were given a beverage of our choice.  From there we drove around a bit more, and were taken to a craft market where we could buy souvenirs.  Even though we asked several times about how long before we needed to be back at the bus, our guide just said, take as long as you want.  Somehow we all made it back to the bus, and then back to the ship.  I consider this to be somewhat miraculous, as the guide never once counted or recounted the people in the group.  The craft store was also disappointing.  They were trying hard to sell us rugs, but after the other ones we’ve seen, we found these to be of comparatively poor quality.

There is some very interesting architecture in the city, and some beauty, but we were amazed by how many times the guide told us that a particular park was beautiful, but all we could see was a ratty-looking area.  There were some that were truly nice, but compared to other places we’d been, they weren’t that great.  We did pass Rick’s Cafe, the one opened in response to people who had seen the movie.

Although Casablanca was a disappointment, we can’t tell anyone not to go there.  What we can say is that if there are a lot of buses going, don’t wait to be on the last one!

There are a couple of additional photos in the album.

© Susan L. Stone 2015