In and around the White House

Casablanca Travel Blog

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The minaret of the King Hassan II mosque is the tallest world. I'm responsible for the lean.

King Hassan II Mosque

This morning I went to King Hassan II mosque. This impressive building is the third largest mosque in the world after the ones in Makkah and Madinah (formerly Mecca and Medina).  It accommodates 2,500 worshippers and the roof opens up to provide ventilation. 

It took 6 years to build and was crafted nearly exclusively from local materials except for two little bits of Italian marble, the Italian chandeliers weighing up to 1.2 tonnes (with electric mechanism for lowering them for cleaning) and the Italian lift for the minaret.  The architect was French.

I took the compulsory guided tour, which was rather pricey as they have to recover the cost.  Amongst the visitors were a group whose guide spoke a language which seemingly had a few Arabic words.

The doors are titanium to withstand the ocean spray.
  As it turned out they were from Israel and the guide was speaking Hebrew.  Yes, they are permitted to visit ... so Morocco is quite open minded unlike the other Arab countries. 

The Hammam

Next to my hotel is a hammam or Turkish bath.  Soothed my tired back and legs, and drive away the winter blues by lying on the heated floors after a hot wash.  Then was scrubbed down as usual ... lost two shades of brown when my dead skin came off.  The scrubber was a bit young and not the usual fat furry kind ... he was doing a good job when someone who looked more like a scrubber came along.  I was a bit confused so I asked in Arabic if we worked at the hammam ... and the answer was "No"!

Cafe Society

Later I wandered around town .

.. Casablanca has many white buildings ... surprise, surprise.  The city's origins are European, so the architecture is somewhat an interesting combination of art deco meets Moroccan.  Cafe society is very much alive ... people sit and drink on the sidewalk cafes and people watch, just like in Europe. 

Fashion Faux Pas

This afternoon I took the bus to Ain Diab, a posh suburb by the sea along which runs the Corniche.  Much like Beirut's corniche with the cafes and restaurants.  Being winter, there were many people playing on the beach but few in the water. 

I felt pretty shabby and uncomfortable in my comfortable clothes at Ain Diab ... Casablancas are generally well-dressed.  They are pretty modern and many women are not veiled. However, some of those who are veiled could have a few lessons in how to cover up correctly.  The best specimen wore a veil to go with a short skirt, fish net stockings and knee-high boots. 

The last two photos are from a leaflet which I very loosely translate as "Cover your aurat for Dummies" ... in honour of the clear examples which will make it as effective as the well-known series of teach-yourself books.


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The minaret of the King Hassan II …
The minaret of the King Hassan II…
The doors are titanium to withstan…
The doors are titanium to withsta…
Colourful chicks.
Colourful chicks.
Downtown Casablanca reminds me of …
Downtown Casablanca reminds me of…
The beach at Ain Diab.
The beach at Ain Diab.
Common fashion faux pas. Too tight…
Common fashion faux pas. Too tigh…
The right way to cover your aurat.…
The right way to cover your aurat…
photo by: nathanphil