Welcome to Dar el Beida

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on August 29, 2010

Moroccans know Casablanca as “Dar el Beida.” Highlights from exploring Dar el Beida:

  • Mosquitos and the humidity kept me from sleeping. I walked out of the room onto the roof a couple times. The second time this happened, around 2:00am, I noticed a man at a table eating the early morning meal before fasting for the day. I was going to let him alone but he invited me to sit with him while he ate. Actually, he offered me some of his food but I declined as I had no intention of fasting that day.

We chat about Casa while he eats. He gives me some tips for exploring the city. After his meal, he brought out fruit. Cool, I dug that, eating healthy. For the next part, he did something that I can only credit as an only-in-Morocco moment: rolled some keef, Moroccan marijuana, to smoke. Oh, Morocco, how certain behaviors befuddle me here!

  • For the most part, I acquainted myself with Casa via walking tour.
  • Hassan II Mosque, one of less than a handful of mosques in which non-Muslims are allowed to enter. I don’t have my carte se jeour (identity card) yet but my Tashleheit served as my “proof” that I’m not just a tourist in Morocco. As such, I was allowed tp pay the discounted price for my admission ticket on the guided tour. Yippee!

Random memorable facts: floors are heated in the winter. Only men sit on the floor; women sit above/upstairs on the un-heated “balconies”. The roof opens up. Mosque built in 6 years. Turkish hammam will be open to the public, date TBD. It is so grand, majestic, and awe-inspiring.

Across several religions, I noticed there’s a common sense of tranquility in all houses of worship. It’s powerful. I love it.

  • Lunch at Rick’s Café, made famous in the movie “Casablanca.” Catch of the day and brownie…absolutely e-mimm (delicious).
  • Medina…I’m medina-ed out. Their goods might be slightly different, but medinas are similar enough to each other. Not to mention crowded.
  • More racial ignorance in the form of unwanted attention. Sometimes it’s easier to travel alone because I have developed my own strategies for this. On the other hand, traveling with others offers people a glimpse of what I go through on a regular basis while traversing this country (and, actually, anywhere I don’t look like the majority group, the States included). Thank goodness for friends who speak out on others’ behalf.
  • Discussion about affirmative action on the train ride from Casa to Rabat Ville.
  • In Rabat, meeting up with other PCVs and having dinner at TGI Friday.

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