Casablanca! I eagerly looked forward to experiencing my first impressions of the north African country of Morocco. What was I expecting? Not what I saw anyway.
Yes, there was the highest minaret in the world towering over the seventh largest mosque all silhouetted against a royal blue sky. In the courtyard Muslim women came to say prayers, or sit quietly in these serene surroundings to eat lunch at midday.
Arches frame views over the city on one side and out to the sea on the other. This place is huge, spreading across wide steps and courtyards. Two women perhaps exchanging gossip or confidences sit in a heart to heart muffled conversation. The exquisite tile work is a perfect backdrop to their natural beauty.
But this is not a church as I know it. Forty foot doorways with formidable metal artwork makes for a heavy feeling. Yet the Koran too, records the teachings of Jesus Christ. Did you know many Muslims are interested in these very same verses?
There are no images of animals or any living thing because those are only the things God created and God is above all that exists on our planet. A grandiose design and modern architecture shows off a richness to their cultural temple. But a few blocks away, it was quite a different story.
Dusty, busy streets hold a myriad of sights and smells. I marvel at the presence of America’s infamous Coca Cola monopoly still hanging onto the faded plaster of an old building.
Most women have regressed to once again wearing head coverings and robes down to their ankles but now they sport loud fuzzy housecoats that could have come from K-mart. When I asked to take this next picture, the mother shyly acquiesced while the shop keeper slid down behind the counter to hide.
The colourful butcher shop had a little four-legged beggar that was clearly focused on what he wanted!
Numerous carts overflowed with food stuffs. Oh, but the fruit was beautiful. I’ve never seen such huge pomegranates, have you?
Walking through the old quarter market streets makes you want to bag up some of these wonderful spices and smell them like perfume.
Sean couldn’t resist picking up the phone and pretend he was calling home at this sidewalk telephone booth! What wonderful tile work decorating this still oh-so-important means of communication.
But best of all for me were the shops, especially this one selling all kinds of antiques. Where else could you buy a well-used Muslim scimitar in its jeweled scabbard? Or (my favourite) a silver teapot adorned with polished camel bone? Oh, if I had only brought an empty suitcase!
Casablanca, not for the finicky traveler but certainly a city of contrasts.
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