Friday, January 15, 2010

The Real Casablanca

I had the opportunity to go to Casablanca with a friend of mine, who is Moroccan, who is a native of the city. This was my third time in Casablanca but this was defiantly the most rewarding and exciting visit yet. Being with Aziza I felt very well taken care of and was given the royal treatment. Being in Casablanca with a resident of the city is the best way to see exactly what you want to see.

After arriving, Aziza showed me her apartment and I had a little rest. I told her that I needed to buy a few things for my apartment and she took me to the best places to get the best prices. The amount of things to buy in a big city is really unbelievable. It’s impossible to find exactly what you are looking for unless you are with someone who knows where to go. I took advantage of having a wide assortment of articles to buy as well as having a Moroccan with me, who is much better at bargaining than I am.

After a little shopping we went home for lunch. I had expressed to Aziza that I wanted to visit Mosque Hassan II, which is the largest mosque in Morocco. Visiting this mosque was one of my goals while here in Morocco and so I was glad to take the opportunity to see it. The mosque was completed in 1993, built by Morocco’s king, Hassan II I really enjoyed my time viewing the mosque and I really hoped I could go inside. Just a I stepped foot inside the door a woman working there quickly identified me as American and said that I may not enter. I was afraid of this because I was aware of the Islamic rule that non-Muslims may not enter most mosques. I was hoping that this attraction might be welcoming to all people, but I was wrong. I was pretty offended and disappointed by this and to spare you my words of anger I will just say that I do not agree with this religious rule. 

The mosque is on the shore of the Atlantic so I also truly enjoyed looking out into the ocean and listening to the waves crash along the shore. We walked to chic area nearby with lots of hip cafés and restaurants along the beach. We stopped in a café called Tropicana and had some coffee and conversation.
Afterwards Aziza took me to Marjane, which is best described as the Wal-Mart of Morocco. Any opportunity to go to Marjane I get, I take gladly. Our first stop in Marjane was to the attached McDonalds. There I was delighted to have a hot fudge sundae. It was delicious and helped me to feel like I was back home. I enjoy the ease of shopping at Marjane because such a large variety of products are available to you, and is just like shopping in the USA. I have been trying to find oatmeal for quite some time now and it is proven to be an obnoxious challenge. Trying to explain oatmeal to someone who doesn’t have any idea what it is, is not easy. I have never had to explain a food before. I was also trying to explain something like Bisquick, with no luck. I decided to give up and deny my desire to look for maple syrup out of discouragement. It is nice having a large display of foods to choose from but there are challenges when they are all written in languages you do not understand. 

Even though I was exhausted from all the events of the day Aziza took me to her parents house for a “short” visit. Her family was so very kind, warm, and welcoming, and was patient with me when I tried to explain who I was and what I was doing here in Morocco. After leaving her parents we went back to her apartment and watched some t.v. together. It was of course nice to be with a friend sharing a laugh and a good time. She told me that there are many more places she wants to take me in Casablanca and so I can’t wait until my next visit.