Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Casablanca - Morocco





A Dark Hole



pollution in Casablanca It's obvious I wasn't impressed with Casablanca. There's an aura of romanticism surrounding the city because of the movie by the same name (which, incidentally, wasn't even filmed in Casablanca, but on a Hollywood movie set). Coming into Casablanca from Fez on the train the air was so thick with pollution I couldn't see past 50 feet from my carriage.  When the soup cleared, I saw shanties and metal shacks, garbage and ragged, grungy clothing strung out next to the tracks where the dispossessed live their lives. It was pretty sad.




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Casablanca Youth Hostel
Inge and Caroline
Casablanca Youth Hostel
Inge's bed
I stayed on the train until the end of the line and wandered off to search for the Casablanca Youth Hostel, which was within walking distance of the station. Only a handful of people were there at the time, thank God, but I still had to share a room with two other women from Holland. They were fun, but with the amount of clothing they packed for their 3-week holiday, they could have opened a  secondhand clothing store back home. I remember packing that much shit when I hitchhiked across Europe. They took hours sorting and resorting and packing. They were great fun.


Casablanca Youth Hostel
Bryan
Bryan, the proprietor of the hostel, was very friendly and helpful. There wasn't much around that area, but a taxi into the city wasn't too expensive. Just make sure you know how much you should pay before you get into the taxi. I was offered a job at AMIDEAST in Casablanca, but after being there for one day I didn't even bother going to the interview, just cancelled. Who in their right mind would want to live in Casablanca?





The biggest attraction in Casablanca is the King Hassan II Grand Mosque.

King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque beachfront Casablanca King Hassan II Grand Mosque beachfront Casablanca King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque

King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque King Hassan II Grand Mosque



Special People


Emilio and Fay
The best thing that happened to me in Casablanca was I met Emilio and Fay, two Druze Lebanese from Beirut who were now living in Virginia. I went into a small restaurant to have a coffee and we entered into a long conversation. He was Bolivian and Lebanese – a mutt, as he said, who now owned a business selling plumbing fixtures and accessories.

We talked about Vietnam and the war and he told me his interesting story. He said he got out of going to Vietnam by enlisting and joining the National Guard. He then got a C7 leave and went to Mexico, stating that he had a family emergency. However, he never left the country, but lived under an assumed name. After the amnesty (from Jimmy Carter) he filed income tax under his assumed name and after five years of not paying a cent the IRS said he owed $280, but he didn’t have any money at the time. When he didn’t pay the IRS they sent him a warning letter stating that he owed and if he didn’t pay his debt they would come and re-possess his furniture. Shortly after, he resumed his life under his real name and life went on. Kudos to staying out of the war Emilio! America should never have been there to begin with, it was a disaster.