July 3rd 2016, Casablanca, Morocco
Kindness is all that keeps us human.
It’s early morning, I’m right after a great Omani adventure…
And oh, Rick…I’m traveling to Casablanca
…for the first time in my life
…yet again, to meet my destiny.
…but I don’t know it yet, although I know it deep down, my soul knows.
Every now and then, in life, you lose. You lose in love, you lose your photos from the whole trip or you lose something you wrote, like I lost my diary on Casablanca. Maybe it was supposed to be rewritten, so here it goes…
This month for me was the month of Casablanca. Having two trips at a distance of 10 days seemed to open and close a cycle. And as all the times when a cycle is closed, a new one must start.
Again, I met some key people, I went through some risk and danger, did not leave a day go by without going to the mosque, drank some wonderful Moroccan tea, showed my thoughts the wide sea, photographed the people of Casablanca, I let myself be seduced and later someone just let me…be. Fell in love with you…looking at Casablanca, watching the waves break in the rhythm of my soul vibrations. Strong, wild, with rage, attacking with force and retreating with gracious moves. Leaving foam of melancholy behind.
I like the city from the very second. It looks old and not too modern at first glance, but I love that. Small, small cars and it’s impossible not to notice that coming from a SUV lovers’ country. Petit Taxis are adorable, especially the very small ones. They are red and most of them are produces in Romania – Dacia cars.
You might say it’s not civilized, but being able to buy fresh oranges and fruit and vegetables in the street, from the street you live in, it’s a great luxury.
At Hotel Excelsior in the Place des Nations Unies, across the Souq, managing to catch a good picture with an old Mercedes on the foreground. Our hotel is nearby and I’m in room 1111. Many of those in these trips, indicating clearly there is something about this country/city/place.
Loving the black and white geometrical motifs of the hotel. I wear my black and pink floral/mandala motifs and am off to explore the city.
It’s still Ramadan, one of the last days of this year’s Ramadan. Some of the colleagues are resting to go to pray to Mosque Hassan II for Iftar. I’m looking at the pictures and I see my all smiling face needing no words.
The girl I’m with is at her first layover and I remember the excitement of my first month. I still keep most of it, which is quite rare, but I cannot compare it with the cocaine I was on during the first months.
What do I need? Well…money. Dirhams – bills and coins.
On the streets of Casablanca. Fresh orange juice in the street, Café Les Negociants, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Art Deco. Casablanca is familiar to me, even the French is music to my years. I love to be in a French speaking country that is not…France.
Two city train rails, like serpents, going parallel, then embracing a square with palm trees, in the middle of the white buildings with French balconies. Patisserie Glacier Salon de The. Le Buffet Que J’aime. My green and blue ballerinas and long silk dress. The ultra new and technologically advanced train arrives in the station and the contrast is visible.
Cinema Empire and some blankets spread with small things to sell. In Marwa store I buy two sheika looking dresses for $30. They have a butterfly shape and floral prints. I will chose one for this trip and one for my next one, when walking in a good restaurant of Casablanca he sees me and thinks I’m…maybe Japanese?
I walk through Bab Marrakech in the Souq, right past Globe Terestre, a metallic structure hiding…a lot of garbage underneath. This is the story of Casablanca, it’s a city of contrasts, mountains of dirt and garbage and luxurious places, forever changing scenery and people about the same.
The market is like any other market, but a simple one. I heard it has nothing to do with the authenticity and size of the one in Fez or Marrakech. Clothes, fakes, caftans, cactus fruit, some leather items, a Teleboutique where I pretend to call someone I used to know with my bracelet/ring I just bought. Red pieces of fabric with a green star on it, ladies doing henna by the walls, a limousine in front of Air Algerie, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, half restored buildings, turquoise or blue wooden window protectors, a teddy bear hanging from a window…
Finally at the Mosque by Petit Taxi. It’s around 6PM and very windy. Temperature dropped to 20 degrees and I’m really cold. Consider two days ago I was in Oman, where there were almost 50 degrees.
Fascinated with the colored tiles, the patters of the mosque. Fascinated in a deep, meaningful way, that to the end way. It’s a kind of beauty, a part of art I identify myself with. The only one. Islamic art makes me burst with joy on the inside.
Around two hours and it’s dark. The waves, the wind, the sea, the mosque. When I’m thinking he was only a few meters away from me and I did not know him and he did not know me makes me shiver. Do you ever wander what other people are doing at a certain moment? If you are in the same city in Asia at the same time with someone you will meet next year in Europe. What is the person you will do tomorrow doing right now? What are they going through?
All I knew was that Casablanca will bring a lot to me. And it did…I just did not know it yet.
Walking on the streets of Casa without any destination. It’s getting dark and I’ve been warned not to walk at night in the city, but how many things haven’t I been warned about? We get a taxi a go to Rick’s Café Americain Casablanca.
We get a table in the middle of the restaurant – it only has maybe 10 small tables at first floor – right in front of the band. Candle light, cozy atmosphere, bringing up something to do with mystery and a safe place during…war?
Always been fascinated with those perdition places where people gather to drink and oh well…drink during war. That’s why, in Bucharest, one of my favorite places is…Athenee Palace, now Hilton, right by the palace of music where I spent so many weekends, the Romanian Athenee.
You know I’ve never seen Casablanca, the movie? I have too many movies in my head to watch movies.
Menu is not too diverse, yet the lamb chops I ordered were delicious, a huge portion with great taste, together with 4 small plates with different vegetables cooked with different spices or in different ways. Really delicious, together with a glass of Moroccan rose wine.
Back at the hotel, I walk by the interior huge pool. Lights are off and I’m with my far away thoughts.
Night is about to be over, but I get a phone call when I get to my room and we go to Ain Diab. We walked for hours and talked about men and women, about relationships, marriages, Mohamads and other devils.
Drank my first Moroccan tea and loved it – that’s a wow for someone like me who thinks tea is for sick people, stepped into most of the night clubs, thought about having another drink at Brooklyn, looked at the huge pools, right by the sea shore.