My first impressions of Casablanca was that it was a bit more artsy than the other Moroccan cities I visited. I noticed a bit of street art on some of the buildings along the water. The Atlantic Ocean gave this city a bit more serenity than the others, and I was grateful for it.
We arrived in Casablanca early and had lunch along the beach. My roommate and I chose to split from the rest of the group and go to McDonald’s. We were both tired of the traditional unseasoned Moroccan food. More so, we were tired of the amount of energy it took for a large group to pay the bill at the end of the meal, so we were happy to stray away.
After lunch, we headed to Hassan II Mosque. Our guide was supposed take us to our hotel first, where we would be able to don our traditional dresses for a photo session outside the mosque, but M’hamed changed the itinerary a bit. I didn’t have the energy to go digging through my luggage to find the white dress I bought in the Marrakech market for 100 dirham, so I just decided I wouldn’t be a part of this particular group photo session. A couple of other ladies joined me.
The outside of Hassan II Mosque was a wonderful sight to behold. I didn’t have the energy to take the tour, but I bet it was even more beautiful inside. Other than that, there wasn’t much to see and do in Casablanca. We did some sightseeing at a few other lesser-known places afterward, and passed by Rick’s Cafe. Since I’m no cinephile, I had to get a history lesson on the famous place. Rick’s opened in 2004 despite the movie being released many years prior. It was an old movie with an interesting storyline that I may add to my watch list one day.
We checked into our hotel and received another air conditioning disappointment. I didn’t waste my time complaining to the front desk. Instead, I showered and headed to dinner at a Chinese restaurant around the block. Surprisingly, half of our tour group also had a craving for Chinese cuisine and it turned into a party that flowed back to the hotel bar. Our bartender looked like Drake.
Back at the hotel lobby, there were a group of American men sitting in the lobby. They gave the American head nod, and appeared ready to engage in conversation, but my roommate and I were too tired to indulge. I sent an alert in the group chat about a bunch of fine men in the lobby who looked willing and able, and headed to my room. The second portion of my trip to Portugal would be departing tomorrow, and I needed to finish packing.
Morocco had been a nice adventure, but I doubt I will ever return. If the chance came again, I would only visit Marrakech and Essaouira. City-hopping through four cities was too much for me, and Marrakech left the best impression on me.
I learned a lot about myself and how I’m not suited for group travel during this trip to Morocco. I was agitated with the group leader and I just wanted to do my own thing because I couldn’t appreciate her lackadaisical methods and lack of structure. My roommate was great and I would travel with her any time and any place.