Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Impressions of Casablanca

Main Street in Casa Beach in the Corniche/Ain Dab Area

Hotel Suisse has its rooms set around a central courtyard with glass roof.
My room is on the third floor

The bars on the beach fill at around 6pm for drinks (mostly coffee and non -alcoholic). Even at a "European bar" it is mostly the men who fill the bars.

Kids will be kids - and skateboarders often get a gaggle of local girls watching

Date palms line the avenue along the lengthy beach

Patterns in everything - here a sports club.

And another club - with patterned sand castles beside the pool.

Remnants of a "Sports Club", built in better times, line the beach

The beach at Casa is wide and long, and clean

The Gum trees which line the freeway leaving the airport, along with the flat, grey green land on red earth remind me of home.

The rain falls hard and fast, like in a Sydney spring, starved of water for months.

Moroccans seem to have a good sense of humour and smile a lot.

The old “give them a basket of bread and a bottle of water that hasn’t been ordered, and get them to pay a lot for it” trick is alive and well in Casablanca.

Check your change – twice!

“Sports clubs” abound on the seaside – with no-one in them, but security patrolling the gates. These are members only establishments that provide a built-in swimming pool, tennis courts (seen better days) and children’s amenities (as well as some indoor facilities I didn’t have access to check out) and which ruin the pedestrian access to the beach and the view from the promenade.

Beach Football is a national sport, and no-one seems to need a real field/pitch marked out.

It’s hard to order local food when you don’t speak the language (even though you try). Pasta Arabica was the closest I got.

McDonalds CAn be a blessing (and even here I couldn't get what I wanted).

There is a “look” amongst a number of men here that I have not seen elsewhere –tall, olive skinned, short and tight curly hair, even-featured, large dark eyes -and it is very attractive! There are some of the most beautiful women on earth here (which makes the next impression all the more astounding).

Any woman over the age of 35 is rather large of body, probably from eating the fairy floss, waffles, ice cream and or popcorn which seems to be “de riguer” for strollers along the beach. Otherwise, they are dressed in a long coats or must be invisible.

Is it the redish hair, or the fact that I am a woman walking alone (without a long coat) that makes men half my age, as well as those older, stare at me to an uncomfortable extent? Or do they do that to every woman? I have already been hassled by a youth in a group of about four, who seemed to be saying something like “show us you T..s!” (gesturing with his own shirt being pulled off its buttons by a hand either side of the middle) until I rudely put my hand in front of his face and kept it there as he walked along side me. For the record, I was dressed in a loose, long sleeved top with black short cardigan over the top, and long black trousers over flat heeled boots.

After the first incident, I donned my scarf as well, to wrap around my neck and flow loosely over my chest. And still a group of youths in a black car called out to me in French, waving and “hello-ing” –twice, when my walk caught up with the strangled traffic on a Saturday night for a second time. Younger women are walking around, apparently un-accosted, who are rather more scantily dressed and even those wearing a scarf often have a tight top, coat or jumper revealing their “t..s”.

Best to be in the hotel by nightfall.

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