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Published: August 2nd 2010
last days in Fes
MY LAST BLOG FROM MOROCCO
HAUNTED AMUSEMENT PARK
We went to an amusement park that I swear you would find in any horror movie ever made. I think 6 rides were open in the whole park and it looked abandoned. The rides that were open look like they were bought from Lincoln Park. Do you remember Lincoln park? Probably not because I think it closed in the late 70’s, well I know where the rides went. I actually went on one of the rides! Look at the ride with the cardboard on the seats and the trash under it and all ripped up. I had so much fun on that piece of junk!
Ain Diab is the most popular area of Casablanca. It is a tourist destination spot. It is on the coastline and tons of restaurants, beach clubs, beaches, hotels, vendors, Glaciers (Gelato), amusements for kids and too my surprise on the other side of the street is NIGHTCLUBS. I love this area though. It cracks me up there is china town with a Chinese restaurant: We decide to check it out the menu is in French and other than a few Chinese
Lanterns I see nothing Chinese. The cooks are Moroccans and the menu offers things such as Chinese beef and Chinese chicken but they never tell you what is in it. There is no rice on the menu???? How can that be? And check out the Picture of Tio Pepe's, what do you think they would serve there? Mexican? Syyyyyke, its Moroccan food. Remember 5 seasonings only! Let me tell you though, I finally found some curry powder in a little store I couldn’t believe it. I made some curry shrimp it wasn’t half bad except I had to put it on Moroccan rice which has absolutely no smell and no taste, but I was happy. Ok back to Ain Diab…Ain Diab has a McDonalds and a KFC (halaal!) aaaandddd there are several Pizza Huts in Casablanca (happy happy joy joy) and they are legit! Even though when you go to pizza hut you can’t order a pizza and pick your toppings. You have to order one of the pizza combinations listed on the menu and subtract the items you don’t want (I wish I had a confused puzzled face that I could just insert after each of these little blurbs).
Anyway that’s Morocco! I told my husband that they should put a big banner in the Airport for everyone to read upon entering Morocco. The banner should Read: MORROCCO- WHERE NOTHING IS EASY
Because I am Cape Verdean and my Dads life revolves around the waterfront like so many other Cape Verdeans, I decide to go to the waterfront in Morocco to try and get some great pictures for a gift to my Dad. Very interesting place reminded me of home, the smell of the ocean and fish. Reminded me of Galilee on Steroids. I got to walk far down the docks and around the corner and sneak pictures of some the secured area. Notice the battleships!
Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is in Casablanca and he has his own castle here, in Ain Diab. There are armed guards all around it. This particular day I decide I am going to get a picture of the armed guards. You are not allowed to take any pictures of any type of security, as I am told in fez when I try to take pictures of certain areas of the castle. Also when I take a picture of a police
Faris the Cowboy
station in Ain Diab and the officers start yelling at me and I yell to my husband (who didn’t even realize that I had stopped walking to take the picture) “ Hey Najd, come back I think I’m in trouble!” They made me open my camera and delete the picture of the police station. I told them I was just trying to get a picture of the sign and they told me that no pictures of any security places are allowed. OOOOkay. Still the castle is fabulous and Prince Abdullah is here I would like to get a shot at all the fuss, especially the armed guards who are En guarde as they say. As we are riding to Aunt Hesnas from Ain Diab we pass the castle. I notice traffic is stopped at the castle and the guards are no long at their posts. Army trucks loaded with soldiers are flying out of the castle and riding by me. This is my last chance to get a picture…I roll down the window…stick out my camera and just randomly shoot in the direction of the convoy. I notice one of the soldiers sitting in the rear of a truck look
dead at me (I hurry up and snatch my camera back in the window). But I see him on a black phone of the truck, now I get nervous….thank God he was in the last truck to pass us before they let the traffic move…we hurry up and get out of there. For at least 2 hours I wait for the Army to come knock on the door. No one comes. Prince Abdullah has left Casablanca. I think maybe he was here for Throne Day, which is an Eid in Morocco that happens every year.
We spend a lot of time at Khalti Fatima’s house I like it there because she has children that are around our age and one of her sons speaks English. We joke around a lot because she has 2 sons that want to get married. It’s so odd experiencing a different culture and how they view things. In Moroccan culture my husband tells me that Saad would be the more desirable type among Moroccan woman, I tell my husband his cousin Aziz is definitely the more desired type in the states. (See pictures) Anyone interested let me know! I think it is
sad that many people here do not get married until they are much older because they cannot afford an apartment or to have a wedding. Most people do not have premarital sex so they stay virgins well into their 30’s or 40’s and some never get married!
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca was completed in 1993 after great expense and artistic labor, and the result is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world. Its gleaming newness and tremendous wealth is a stark contrast against the rest of Casablanca.
The great Hassan II Mosque was commissioned by its namesake, King Hassan II, in part to provide Casablanca with a single landmark monument. On his birthday, July 9, 1980, the king declared:
I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time... I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean.
Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, construction of the Hassan II Mosque
Ain Diab at night so umid that the camera picked up water droplets
began in July 1986 on land reclaimed (without compensation to the former residents) from a run-down area near the sea. The goal for completion of the mosque was King Hassan II's 60th birthday in 1989, but it ended up not being finished until August 30, 1993.
The project is estimated to have cost as much as $800 million, funds that were remarkably raised entirely from public subscription. International reports have suggested both local resentment and less-than-voluntary donations to the project, but Moroccans seem to be genuinely proud of their monument. The massive fundraising also had a positive side-effect: it temporarily reduced Morocco's money supply and brought down inflation.
Nearly all the materials of the Hassan II Mosque are from Morocco, with the sole exceptions of the imported white granite columns and glass chandeliers (from Murano, near Venice). The marble is from Agandir, the cedar wood is from the Middle Atlas and the granite comes from Tafraoute.
Over 6,000 Moroccan master craftsmen and artisans were employed to work these local materials into the intricate decorations that embellish the entire structure. When construction passed its deadline in the early 1990s, 1,400 men worked by day and 1,000 worked by
night to bring the vast project to completion.
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