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Published: April 4th 2011
There are two types of taxis here in Casablanca. The larger ones that haul several people and head off to other cities are called Grand Taxis. The smaller ones for around town are called Petit Taxis. I finally discovered what the translation means: Deathtrap. Well, perhaps it isn't the literal translation, but hey, if the shoe fits. The ones I rode in were falling apart, burning oil and driven as if we were in an amusement park bumper car ride. At first I thought the white lines down the street were to indicate lanes, but it seems that the Petit Taxis use them as a guide rail or something, so the cab is driven down the center of the line. Pedestrians are just as bad, darting in and out of traffic, walking down the center of lanes and don't even start me on all the mopeds and their driving. I am so very grateful that I am not driving here or walking too much.
One sight that I really wanted to see, and is the reason I did not go to Marrakesh today, was the Hassan II Mosque. It is huge, covering 20,000 square meters and can hold 25,000 worshipers.
The minaret is the tallest religious minaret in the world and is absolutely beautiful. This is also one of the only Mosque that allows non Muslims to enter it. I took the hour long tour, so was able to see the huge prayer hall with the roof that slides open. The size was mind boggling. Every surface was marble or cedar, carved or decorated. I was very impressed as I knew I would be. We also went downstairs to the ablution hall where worshipers wash themselves at one of the 41 fountains. Under that are 2 hammams that are not currently, nor have ever been used. I will post some pictures of the pool that we saw. My mind instantly went to the Hearst Castle and the incredible pool that I saw there.
From the Mosque I wandered around until I found a cafe for lunch. The rest of the day was mainly spent walking, riding in taxis and trying not to make eye contact and end up with rugs, shoes, jewelry, silver and so on. I have enjoyed my time here in Casablanca, but am ready to move on to Tangier tomorrow.
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