First we walked from the train station to the crowned jewel of Casablanca, the new Mosque built along the Atlantic Ocean. The tower alone is 700 feet, Gates built of titanium and amazing tiles and marble work throughout.
|In the Medina, people selling from the ground|
At one point a man started yelling in Arabic throwing jackets onto the street in a huge pile. He was making such a big commotion that I had to check it out. Suit Jackets, coats, windbreakers… I happened to reach down and lift out a Helly Hanson sailing jacket that fit me perfectly. It was 47 Dirham (about $6). Knowing this brand and checking that it is indeed not a fake, I imagined the man was yelling “Hot jackets, cheap, buy them quick before the police come after me,” in Arabic. I bought my 47 Dirham jacket and quickly moved on.
All this shopping was done while dodging speeding motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles who flew though the lane with no intention of stopping.
But all in all, I was not hassled much by shop keepers. In fact, I’ve been hassled more by time-share marketers in Florida than in the cities of Morocco.
We made our way out of the Medina and found a hamburger joint that made cheeseburgers that tasted like I was in someone’s backyard for a barbecue. (a far cry from what I swear was a dog-food burger in Almeria, Spain…my last attempt at a little Americano.) Although the ketchup was 50 percent sugar and uneatable, and the mustard was spicy hot. This burger was incredible…or I was really hungry.
As I walked out, we noticed what looked like a dive bar. It was unusual because none of the cities I had been in had I noticed a bar and they didn’t sell beer or wine in their cafés. Mark was with me and mentioned it almost like a dare, so I boldly walked through the wooden beads dangling from the doorway as a cover and got to the other side. Mark followed. In front of me sat a room full of men in a dingy setting with small tables and chairs and one long bar where several men were standing. Everyone, everything stopped for a moment and I felt all eyes. I had my shoulders covered, which I learned the hard way the first day in Morocco. Even after spending a summer in the Mediterranean, I have never felt so naked as wearing long pants but my sleeveless LIVESTRONG shirt in the Moroccan market.
The bartender hesitated for a second but I made eye contact. I asked for a beer at the same time Mark said it in French, the second language here. Two short beer bottles appeared, and I sighed a secret sigh of relief. I had a general idea that women were not a usual sighting in such an establishment. Soon, the man next to me started up a conversation. His name was Amead. Amead and his friend answered some of my questions, the first one being: “Where are the women”? I was explained that this was a Man Only bar but because I was a stranger and I was welcome. They said there were co-ed bars that women could go to. I wondered how any women would have time to go to a bar when all the men were sitting around in bars or on the street cafes drinking mint tea ALL DAY and the women appeared to do mostly everything else…but I didn’t bring this up.