We are in Africa!!! We are actually on the continent of Africa!! As we took our bus from the port into town, Sky asked, disappointedly, “where are all the huts?” I guess I didn’t do a very good job with expectations there. Her only impressions of Africa so far, have been from Disney’s The Lion King. She was expecting the savannah, instead she got a thriving, modern city. She loves lions. She thought she was going to see lions. There were no lions.
So Casablanca, Morocco; it’s crowded and bustling. We had to take a bus from the port to the town because the port area is not a place you can walk around in, there’s a lot of tankers and freight stuff going on. When we arrived at the drop off area, we got a cab to the Hassan II mosque, one of only a few mosques that non muslims can enter. Of course, we got there fairly early, and they don’t let visitors in until after 2pm. We couldn’t wait that long. We walked around the area and took lots of pictures. If I remember correctly 20,000 people can pray inside, and 80,000 can fit in the outside area.
We had a wonderful cab driver, Hakeem, he took us through the old city of Medina on the way back to the drop off area, which is right in the middle of town. He actually stopped in the old city, in the middle of the road, jumped out of the car and ran off. About 4 minutes later, he returned with a toy for each of the girls!
There was a bizarre type shop nearby the pick up area, so we went in. Wow! I could have spent all day in that shop, it was enormous and filled with everything and anything you could possibly want from Morocco. I wish the prices were in Euro’s because I would have spent so much more! I didn’t know the exchange rate for dirham (DM) so I tried to be conservative. I ended up spending only 61 Euro’s! If the girls hadn’t been tired and complaining about getting back to the ship, I would have gone back for more. As it is, I got us all a pair of fancy slippers, a small (runner sized) carpet, 2 smaller ones that could be used on end tables, and a bunch of knick knacky type things like magnets, etc.
Before we had gotten off the ship, everyone was saying, “be careful” and “keep your eyes open”, giving the impression that it was slightly dangerous, that people would be rude or standoffish. We had the complete opposite experience. It was wonderful! Everyone was exceptionally kind. Our taxi driver, besides buying the kids toys, invited us to his home for lunch so we could meet his wife and young son, (we didn’t go) and the sales men in the shop gave us each a hamsa pendant to keep as a gift and referred to me as, “my sister”.
We were back on board by 2pm for late lunch in the lido, but what a day. Beautiful people, beautiful experiences. I cannot recommend Casablanca enough, it was truly a fantastic place to visit. Morocco, here’s looking at you, kid!