Back to where the fun began (March 24, 2018)

Wake-up call: 6:00. Depart: 7:30. A bit ambitious after the fun day and night we had yesterday. The atmosphere in the small, designed-like-a-cave dining room was a bit frenetic just like yesterday and almost comical in that the waitstaff seemed to be overwhelmed by the guests’ request for simple things like water and coffee. In that guests are the mainstay of their business, the friendly inefficiency seemed odd.

There are three main routes back to Casablanca. Safi decided on the most inland route in order to avoid the construction and road repair caused by the damage from rains of the previous weeks. During the six hour drive to Casablanca we were treated to rolling fields in the various stages of cultivation, argan trees, rock fences, a tractor of all things, and other scenes familiar from previous days on the road. We saw more horse drawn conveyances than before. Two scenes stand out above the rest: Trusty mules with saddle bags waiting patiently at a public well while their owners loaded containers with water was our favorite scene until we spotted one cow on a narrow foot path followed by one donkey, a man, an adult dromedary, and finally a baby dromedary bringing up the rear. Presumably headed for home. They were all going about their day just as we were.

Lunch was at a spotless, new, nondescript gas station and restaurant along the highway. Just like at other roadside stops, all the food was cooked to order. There were easily 100 single serve clay tagine in the outdoor part of the kitchen waiting to be used as well as two huge clay ovens where fresh bread was being baked.

Much to everyone’s surprise and delight Safi asked out of the blue if we wanted to watch Casablanca. An enthusiastic yes was the consensus which I imagine he anticipated. We drew the curtains and watched the movie centered on the city we were fast approaching. Clever touch Safi!

The movie ended just as we approached Casablanca. Our first order of business was a cursory city tour. Cyd, Barb, Dan, and I were so glad we had previously had two full days in town because there was just not enough time left to see and appreciate the city properly. We especially enjoyed two stops. First was the relatively new (1956) Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic church with its two long walls of non-stop stained glass windows. None of us had ever seen such a thing. It was awesome! This stop afforded us the opportunity to light a candle in the intimate grotto for Josie’s Great Aunt Jerry. The other fun stop was seeing the outside of Rick’s Cafe.

Spoiler: there never was a Rick’s Cafe.
With the exception of one scene, Casablanca was shot in a California studio
and was not based on a real gin joint in Morocco.
The popular restaurant of the same name, designed to recreate the bar made
famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, opened in the spring of
2004 in a traditional 1930’s riad. Whaaaaat?

My favorite meal of the whole trip was at our farewell dinner on the 28th floor of the Kenzi Tower Hotel overlooking the whole of Casablanca as well as the Atlantic. Everyone was feeling well and in a festive mood and the meal and service were fabulous! Barb and I decided to bedazzle our companions by wearing our scarves to dinner. Not only did we shower and don our last clean outfit, we tied our blue scarves in the tribal way and surprised everyone. Cyd’s hair looked too nice to cover up, so she wore her scarf like a shawl and completed our trio of show offs. I kicked it up a notch with one of my four new necklaces, only pair of new earrings, and my Berber bracelet.


3 thoughts on “Back to where the fun began (March 24, 2018)

  1. Loved it! Such a wonderful the movie, disappointing it’s not for real 😳. Loved your last meal story the best! Thank you again Schele for sharing.


  2. So fun you got to watch Casablanca and I loved your fun facts at the end.

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