Blogs from Grand Casablanca, Morocco, Africa - page 10


Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca July 1st 2007

Arriving in Casablanca 3 hours late and arriving at 1am didn't give me a lot of time to experience the city. After waking my roommate for the trip, I slept well and woke up the next morning to introduce myself. Her name is Sarah and she is from Sydney. I am travelling with a company called Intrepid who do adventure travel. Our group is 12 people and I am the only American (thank shiva) all Aussie and English, and finally our tour leader, Margeaux, who is French. The first few days were a whirlwind, traveling by train to Rabat (the capital), and Meknes, famous for its handcrafts. As the group was getting to know each other a bit more on the train journeys, I revealed my profession, and suddenly everyone had aches and pains, where there ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca June 14th 2007

Our second day in Casablanca began much the same way the first day ended - lackluster. Having envisioned an exotic port of call in advance of our arrival, Gina and I found the dated, sprawling metropolis to be a better poster child for needed gentrification than a tourist destination. A thorough scouring of the Lonely Planet yielded only a handful of possibly interesting sites that we figured could be covered in a couple of hours. As a result, we decided to spend the balance of our day at the beach, taking advantage of the summer heat. Leaving the hotel after a lackadaisical morning, we retraced our steps from the previous evening hoping to catch the modern African art gallery during its open hours. We inched our way through Casablanca’s bumper-to-bumper traffic on foot, keen to make ... read more
Keeping Cool
Sacre Ceour Cathedral
Around the Side...

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca June 13th 2007

Newton’s First Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Unfortunately, Gene and I would learn this the hard way - we were bound to make a return trip on the same crammed, six- seater train car to Casablanca. While Gene and I thought ourselves lucky to be assigned the two window seats next to the air conditioning vent, we quickly determined otherwise as Gene sat elbow to elbow with another pretentious French bitch. Rising to use the washroom, Gene had to hopscotch over the interlocked legs of the other passengers to proceed to the connecting hallway. Before he could even get as far as the doorway, I thought the woman’s eyes would roll into the back of her head. She was, no doubt, twice as thrilled when Gene made his way back ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca May 30th 2007

I am writing this blog after we got home but I will add to it as I get time. I arranged a trip to Morocco as a present for my husband, Phil, for his 40th birthday. He and his family left Casablanca when he was 7 years old to immigrate to Canada and he never returned so I figured it would be a great way o celebrate the big 4-0!!! We arrived in Casa and passed through customs no problem, then on to Hotel Diwan which was a little pricey, but nice (it had a bidet!). Casablanca was the only place we stayed at an "expensive" hotel; all the rest were in Rough Guides "moderate" range. Casablanca is a weird mix of old and new. Mercedes and donkey carts, head scarves and Armani suits. It ... read more
Hassan II--the main hall
Great Art Nouveau buildings
Art deco

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca May 3rd 2007

Alex-Cairo-Casablanca Tom Griffithurl='/Videos/3009.html' onclick='dialog("/Videos/3009.html?popped=1","tbvideo",600,600);return false;' A Moroccan bar The name is one of Africa's most evocative, up there with Timbuktu and Kampala and Ouagadougou - "Casablanca", home of Rick's cafe and where Bogie and Ingrid Bergman had their cinematic love affair. The reality is not quite as romantic - actually, Casablanca is just a big, boring city in Morocco, home to about 5 million people and the country's main airport. It's not even particularly old - the French built it pretty much from scratch a century or so ago. There is a small medina (an area in Moroccan towns of old houses, labrynthine alleyways, and busy souks), but the city is mainly French-style architecture, modern office buildings, and wide avenues, wit... read more
Moroccan Renault
Look at my eel!
Hassan's Mosque and flag


Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 7th 2007

4/7/07 Rabat--Casablanca We caught the train to Casa in the morning. Since we weren’t staying the night there, we had to take our bags all the way to the bus station to hold them for us. It took us a bit to find the station, since street signs are not exactly a regular occurrence. From there, we made our way along the Blvd des Almohades which led us directly to the Hassan II Mosque. The Mosque is pretty much the only reason we stopped in Casa in the first place (I had heard that there really wasn’t much to do there). As we approached it, its size just kept increasing. It really is quite massive, and considering it is the worlds third largest mosque I suppose it would have to be. We paid our 60dhms (about ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 7th 2007

As much as I wish we could say we found Humphrey and Ingrid in Casablanca, I think we're some decades and a reality away. We did, however, find the third largest mosque in the world. This was actually our only reason for stopping in Casablanca since we had heard the city itself was a dirtier and less charming Rabat. From our walks between the train stations and the mosque, with the exception of a few nicer streets, we found this statement to be pretty accurate. The Hassan II Mosque is quite stunning; King Hassan II, who was inspired by the verse from the Quran that states God's throne was built upon the water, developed the idea for this mosque right on the ocean and made the project his crowning achievement. The guided tour (the only ... read more
The Great Room

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca March 12th 2007

Mohammed wears djellabah and tarboosh but inside is as westerner as the group of pale English tourists I have joined by mistake in Algeciras. We are in Ceuta, Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, and Mohammed is our guide. He’s tall and of slim constitution only corrected by the presence of a round shaped belly, clear sign of economic well-being. He’s got thick moustaches and wears a pair of old “smoke black” sunglasses that makes him look like a pimp from the seventies. I hate organized tours in general and I hate tour leaders in particular. As general norm, After the second or third embarrassing question, guides hate me too. Truly enough, Morocco didn’t enter in my plans of travel, but in Cadiz I had discovered that the ship heading to the Canary Islands only sails on ... read more
Tetouan Rooftop and Dryin Clothes
Hassan II Mosque's Minaret
Hectic Kasbah

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca March 12th 2007

Mohammed veste djellabah e tarboosh ma dentro è tanto occidentale quanto la comitiva di Inglesi pallidi cui mi sono accodato per errore ad Algeciras. Siamo a Ceuta, enclave Spagnola in territorio Marocchino, e Mohammed è la nostra guida. È alto e di costituzione snella solo corretta da una vistosa pancia, chiaro segno di benessere economico. Porta i baffi e un paio di occhiali da sole fumè da pappone anni ’70. Io odio le gite organizzate in genere e le guide in particolare. Per norma generale, alla seconda o terza domanda imbarazzante, anche le guide odiano me. In realtà il Marocco non entrava nei miei piani di viaggio, ma a Cadice avevo scoperto che la nave per le isole Canarie salpa solo di mercoledì e che non v’erano posti disponibili fino alla settimana seguente. Mi ritrovavo così ... read more
I Tetti di Tetouan e i Panni Stesi ad Asciugare
Minareto della Moschea Hassan II, Casablanca
La Movimentata Kasbah

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca February 17th 2007

So I land at LaGuardia, with temperatures more frigid than they have been in years, with only a wrap sweater for warmth. (Who needs a coat in Dakar and Ouagadougou, after all?) After the flight landed, I conferred with S to discover that yes, in fact, the flight to Dakar was cancelled for some unknown reason and South African Airways didn't have another available flight till Monday. Some of the coldest weather on record, and I, am coatless and possibly, homeless in New York. After many sighs, some finagling and a pleasant chat through crosstown traffic with a fine Pakistani cab driver (Yasseen), S and I lament our fate over a buffalo burger and vodka tonics. She's coatless too. Rather than hang around watching DVDs and otherwise killing time till Monday, we decide to reroute through ... read more
King Hassan II Mosque 4
King Mohammed V Hotel 2 (Atlas Hotel)
King Mohammed V Hotel (Atlas Hotel)

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