After the all-day bus trip from Essaouira, I find myself in the filthy, noisy city of Casablanca. As the backdrop for a Hollywood classic of the same name, any of the glitz and glamour this city may have exuded has long since faded away. One bit of good news is that I am holed up in a four-star hotel for three more days. If nothing else, I can soak in a large tub, lounge by the pool, and catch up on some writing while steering clear of all the noise and filth this city has to offer.
I’ve pretty much had my fill of Morocco anyhow and probably should have chosen my destinations more carefully. Then again, I don’t much care for the country, the culture, and the widespread aversion to ethics of any kind. I see little point in wasting my time in countries whose attributes fail to lift my spirits or stimulate my curiosity. I knew by the time I left Marrakech that Morocco and I were through. Essaouira was an improvement, but not enough to make a difference. The same issues surfaced there, but just in a more subtle fashion.
Bottom line is that aside from the cultural issues, Morocco’s environmental factors alone discount it from being a place in which I would want to spend time. So if you’re not into dry and dusty, and if crumbling infrastructure isn’t your thing, don’t come here.
Club Val D’Anfa Hotel – This is clearly the high point of my visit to Casablanca other than perhaps a quick visit to the third largest mosque in the world. The other good news is that “Casablanca” is on Netflix, and I haven’t seen it in decades. It’s a great movie, and it resonated more deeply given my recent exposure to Morocco even though it’s unlikely a single frame of film was ever shot here. They still captured the duplicity and thievery that is the fundamental substance of this country.
At least the visit to Casablanca brought about another viewing of that classic film. It’s amazing how much I had missed in my original viewings. Bogart is amazing, and Bergman is beautiful as she blinks away tears in those moist and soulful sad eyes at the end of the film. This city will forever ride on the coattails of that classic film, doomed to forever fall short of its cinematic glory.
I think I’ll take the pool over the beach. The only problem with traveling the world is that so many places begin to fall short of previous destinations. In fact, if I wanted to get ripped off by taxi drivers with prettier beaches and cheaper hotels, I could just as easily have gone to Vietnam. Now they do throw trash everywhere, but at least it’s not dry and dusty.
Even the sky has a dirty cast to it. I don’t even want to think about the water.
MOSQUE HASSAN II – Empty space earmarked for major seafront development. I finally got away from my hotel and visited the famous Mosque Hassan II. I can’t say I was particularly impressed by the sights on the way there. The Old Medina is a crumbling mess of ancient rubble, and the modern buildings are a nondescript conflagration of decaying architectural banality. They are looking to upgrade this seafront area as well as the Grande Théâtre de Casablanca, but it would take a great deal more to lure me back to this dry flavorless cracker of a city. Even the food here has been disappointing.
These are the plans for a wide promenade with parks and recreation which should make for a nice prelude to the mosque itself. It should be a considerable improvement over the current state of affairs.
MOSQUE HASSAN II – This view should be very nice once they complete the seafront project. I have wondered during my visit how a culture that dashes off to pray five times a day can justify the sheer dishonesty shown to the tourist population on a daily basis. One can only conclude that there must be truth to the rumors that the Q’ran justifies lying to infidels. Whatever the cause. I shall not return to this Allah-forsaken country ever again.
Regardless it’s a nice looking mosque even though it seems to have little effects on its adherents.
VILLA DES ARTS DE CASABLANCA – A beautiful little art deco villa housing free exhibitions that are changed frequently. This is a little gem in an otherwise write-off of a city.
His exhibition offered up an assortment of sculpture and mixed media pieces.
Hassan SLAOUI – Fez Town Supported – 2012
Hassan SLAOUI – Inlay – 1981
Hassan SLAOUI – Self-Portraits of Artists – 2015
This place is such a wonderful contrast to the rest of Casablanca’s filthy and disordered nature. It was like taking refuge in an Aesthetic Embassy where no filth nor degradation can interfere with free expression and absorption of artistic mediums.