19.09.2015 - 20.09.2015
Today we woke at 5:30 to the sounds of the prayer call and the locals starting to go about their day. The day before, we spent a couple of hours in a taxi driving in circles trying to find the right apartment building and then relying on locals to walk us around and call our contact. We were then greeted by the friendly face of Fatima (Fati, pronounced Fashee, for short) who showed us around and bought us pizza for dinner. She was a friend of the owners of the apartment we were staying in. Having gone to bed at 7:30pm due to sheer exhaustion, I was awoken by a knock on the apartment door at 10:30pm. Slightly startled and extremely drowsy, I shuffled over to open it, only to be startled by a lady in a hijab staring back at me, looking just as surprised at my presence as I was of hers. With her speaking not a word of English (and I speaking even less of Arabic or French, which are the local languages), I let her in with the decision to work it all out tomorrow. It turned out her name was Kaltoum (pronounced Kaahltchoom), a primary school French teacher. Fati brought over some traditional breakfast in the morning and then took us into central Casablanca for the day. Casablanca certainly isn't my favourite city, but it offers a diverse impression of the people of Morocco. Crowded with people, particularly men who stare with very little shame, the occasional hippy, tourists who stick out like sore thumbs and an abundance of cats, this beach city is certainly good for people watching.
We spent the day looking at local shops, walking through the market in the bazaar and eating grilled fish.
Come the evening, we said our goodbyes to Fati and met our tour group at the Hotel Transatlantique, a beautiful hotel (with shocking WiFi) that has been around since 1922. The décor is traditional Moroccan, with green tiles, lion statues and chandeliers galore.
Next stop, the Mosque and Moulay Idris