My job requires travelling from time to time, usually in Europe. Sometimes however I am assigned to tasks in more exotic places. In January I spent a week in Casablanca, Morocco. It was not vacation and every day was fully booked, but managing my time smart, I coult try to see more than hotel and office – here you find my short report.
Couple hours of travelling changed the image of cold, gray, windy and depressive winter in January into something more like an early summer, warming sunlight, clear sky, and crispy wind. I wished we had such winters in Europe.
Casablanka is very noisy and crowdy. Traffic is a total chaos for foreigners. Cars and motobikes seems to move with disregard to any law, except for survival. Horns vibrate in your ears instantly. People crossing the streets and fast moving cars mixes as if they do not care of each other. Closer look however reveals link between pedestrian and driver – looking at each other they calculate safe way to avoid colision: pedestrian whether to stop or move faster, the driver whether to circumvent on the left or right. Be very careful using crosswalk too, if it has no street lights; you have to apply the same rule of good mutual understanding with drivers, believe me I tried and was almost swaped off the street :]
The city is dirty and neglected, kind of arabic culture feature. The mixture of great buildings, cultural heritage, slapdashness of details and carelessness of sorroundings. Most symptomatic part was neighborhood of 3rd biggest mosque in the world, Hassan II, with the poverty district. Huge bargain located next to it, was unusual experience: food and clothes traded straight from sidewalks, fake brand goods in stalls, and smell of warm bread, fish and urine.
Hospitality and frendliness completes the picture. Thanks to Moustafa, one of training attendees, I had a chance to see local places like the building from Casablanca movie, enjoy the local rock band playing in the pub, and to observe how Moroccans are actually close to western culture.