Monthly Archives: February 2016

Laura flys home & Casablanca awaits.


With regret, it’s time to pack up and hit the road again, after five lovely days on a superb site with 75% of the (immediate) family present, in Marrakesh, it’s a sad morning when it’s all got to change. We’ve had such a great time being visited by Laura our daughter, but ‘all good things’…etc. The camp site owner enquires “where you going next?” answer, not 100% sure, we were thinking of scooting all the way up to Moulay Bousselham (a good 6 hour drive north).
“don’t miss the Mosque at Casablanca, It’s a sight to see, those doors, the size of it…don’t miss it!”…’Ah…Ok’ She was not the first to mention ‘The Mosque at Casablanca’ and once we got there…we could see why.
The cross town route to Marrakesh airport was not straightforward, we got there in the end, with lots of time to spare. Tears welled as Laura left us to our own plans again, we know she had a great time, we did too and it was superb to see her here,…in Africa, so very far from home. Not every young lady has the courage to get on a plane unaccompanied, so thank you, we loved every minute of it.

Casa (Portuguese for house) Blanca =  white  … White House

First to a camp site just to the north, within striking distance of Casablanca, Mohammidia, where we met the occupants of the first British MoHo we’d seen in many days.
After formal introductions were taken care of “are you going to the Mosque in casablanca?…you know, you can drive into Cassa & park right outside!”
Touch…so first thing in the morning (about 10ish for us) after an hour of bumper to bumper tip-toe-though-the-city of Casablanca, there it was. The 3rd largest Mosque in the world, the largest outside Arabia, the largest being the one in Mecca, then Medina, then this one. The only Mosque in Morocco non-muslims may enter (for a €12 fee), it will hold 24,000 people, the list of statistics goes on & on. The guide seemed very proud it only took them 6 years to build it and they are so proud of it, there are pictures of it on the currency too.

The King, the President & The Mosque

The King, the President & The Mosque

We had arrived a little early for entry into the Mosque, so had a wander around the streets, where it seemed a huge marquee had been erected for some kind of carnival for children, we never did find out what exactly it was, but there were hundreds of school-busses in the car park and hordes of children in and around the Mosque, may-be we shouldn’t have come on prayer day, Friday.
None of these photos do any justice to the splendor, grandious-ness or gargantuan proportions of this working modern Mosque. There isn’t an ounce of silver of gold in the whole place, muslims are not here to worship earthly rare metals or symbolic idols, but the craftsmanship and detail are more intricate than anything we’ve ever seen.

The sheer scale of it! The tallest building in Morocco!

The sheer scale of it! The tallest building in Morocco!

May have been a better picture if I'd got it vertical, my bad.

May have been a better picture if I’d got it vertical, my bad.

All the plaster detail, hand carved, in situ.

All the plaster detail, hand carved, in situ.

IMG_1409

Carved Ceder suspended floor.

Carved Cedar suspended floor.

IMG_1411

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wash-room. A vital ritual before prayer

Wash-room. A vital ritual before prayer.

I could go on uploading pictures for a while, the place is so photogenic, but they would still not do the building any justice at all. A ‘must see’, so glad we didn’t just sail by Casablanca.

Grinding through the traffic coming out was worse than the trip in, so many taxis, so many people!
Warning…Rant alert: There’s one traffic rule here, I still can’t get my head around. As the French designed & built most of Morocco, most the road system is down to them, the closest guidance I can find is the quote from the ASCI guidance note for France traffic regulations, it quotes:
“You have priority (you:being the driver I presume) on a roundabout if this is indicated by a triangular sign showing a roundabout. If there is no such sign drivers entering the roundabout will have priority.”
So in reality, whilst your driving on unfamiliar roads, on the opposite side of the road you normally drive on, swerving suspension killer pot-holes, dodging pedestrians: who walk on the road because the paths all torn up, cyclists: who seem to think it’s OK to cycle against the flow of traffic, umpteen scooters: weaving in and out of every gap, donkeys pulling carts: coming at you as the cyclist rule applies to them too, the occasional wild dog, people attempting to cross the road because Zebra crossings are ignored so they may as well cross anywhere, checking the sat-nav for the correct route (don’t get me started on that one…again!) …with all this going on, WATCH OUT FOR THE LITTLE ROUNDABOUT TRIANGLE! Because it changes all the rules on the roundabout into a sort of ‘give way’ all the way round the bloody thing. I detest roundabouts at the best of times, but this takes the biscuit. In reality, whilst going around the roundabout,
you must stop & give way to the traffic on the right entering the roundabout! Nuts…utter, absolute, bonkers! End of rant.

Moroccan style electrics

Moroccan style electrics, don’t ya think it looks like a face?

‘Of all the sockets in all the world, you had to go stick it in mine’…Have a great week-end. Wayne X