19 September 2007

Casablanca


The day's "contingency" on the North Africa trip worked well as my colleague and I managed to tie up the loose ends from the previous six days and also had plenty of time to explore Casablanca.

We spent most of the morning exploring the main mosque and a large part of the rest of the day walking around the old town (Medina) which is a warren of narrow streets full of shops that are a delight to browse through. We looked closely at shoes, leather jackets, electrical goods and jewellery. The atmosphere was lively but comfortable. There were fewer beggars than in London and they just sat at the side with their hands out. The biggest danger came from the motorcyclists who use the roads there even though they are mostly about 2m wide and full of people.

After the walk we explored the hotel that we had been staying in for the last three days and found a small balcony on the top (ninth) floor which was good for views but not so good for vertigo! This photograph was taken there and shows the roofscape of the new town looking towards the mosque, from this you get a good idea of just how big the mosque is. If you look closely you can also see that there are hundreds of satellite dishes with every roof having several.

I am going back to North Africa, Tunisia this time, on holiday in October and whereas before I was looking forward to this with some excitement mixed with some caution, I am now more excited about the prospect and have none of the worries. I really do like what I have seen of North Africa so far.

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