Casablanca, Day 11: Finally Reaching Habbous
Casablanca Travel Blog› entry 79 of 92 › view all entries
Itâ€™s taken me 11 days to finally reach
Discovery 090 Hay Chifaa.
I start out my day in a nice park with a little amphitheatre a little ways north of the freeway.
Music Spot 45: Hay
Nice park with little amphitheatreâ€¦ pleasant start to the day.
From there I head east down another of them 8 lane boulevards into Hay Chifaa, a sort of â€śhardware shopâ€ť neighbourhood, with all sorts of little auto parts stores, paint stores, hardware storesâ€¦ But it doesnâ€™t have the ugly, grundgy feel of many â€śhardware neighborhoodsâ€ť, in fact, it seems like a rather pleasant place to live, with apartment lower middle class apartment buildings rising above the shops, and plenty of snack shops and corner stores as well.
So I head down a diagonal Boulevard which happens to be eastern end of El Fidaâ€¦ and soon find another little park where I can strum a bit more.
Music spot 46: El Fida East, Rating: ***.
Shadyâ€¦ but a suspicious character lurking about.
Here is yet another playground that was recently builtâ€¦ a great idea-- Casablanca has a real shortage of places for kids to playâ€¦ but unfortunately it looks like itâ€™s already been vandalized and it looks like somebody ran off with the teeter totter.
I make almost a complete loop back to where I started, and happen on a very pleasant grassy park with palm trees next to a beautiful mosque-- a little oasis of green in the midst of a concrete jungle. There a bunch of high school students who ask me to come entertain themâ€¦ A cheery bunch-- except for one fellow who seems a bit off the deep end who insists that â€śmusic is of the devilâ€ť, eliciting howls of protest from the others.
They fill me in a bit on the neighbourhood, which is no longer â€śHay Chifaaâ€ť but rather considered part of Derb Sultan.
Music Spot 47:
Green, spaciousâ€¦ great crowd.
092: The Tent Makers.
From there I head back east a little ways to
This stretch of
Iâ€™ve hiked this stretch several times when heading home from the bus station in
There are different areas that seem designated for different projectsâ€¦ For example, thereâ€™s one section thatâ€™s nothing but tent making shops-- tiny little shops with a guy at a sewing machine, sewing enormous tents that are rented for weddings and funerals, with mountains of fabric piled aroundâ€¦ I canâ€™t figure out how he can piece it all together in such a small space.
Really fun placeâ€¦ I sit down for a fruit salad in little juice bar and just soak in the vibe.
093 Grand Taxi Central.
Unlike other cities,
These taxis are good for nearby cities like Boskoura, Berrechid, and Settat-- as buses from
On north a little ways, across the train tracks is the
Across from it is a little squareâ€¦
Music Spot 48: Across from the Palace, Rating:***
OK, but not much shadeâ€¦and a bit dusty from nearby constructionâ€¦
095 Entrance to Habbous
Between the train tracks and the
The buildings are all white with brown cut stone archways and beautiful carved gates, and wooden ceilingsâ€¦ most of the shops specialize in either traditional Moroccan dĂ©cor, traditional clothes or paintings-- a very artsey retro sort of feelâ€¦
However, I saw very few tourists shopping there-- mainly locals, giving the place more of an authentic feel rather than a tourist trap feelâ€¦
096 Habbous plaza
In the center of Habbous is a cozy little circle with one lane streets radiating out of itâ€™s center through various arched entrancesâ€¦ Thereâ€™s a beautiful stone mosque and a tree line plaza that invites meâ€¦
Music Spot 49:
It would be perfect if all the shady benches werenâ€™t already takenâ€¦
I follow one of the tunnel streets which leads to a bridge across the tracks to Derb Sultan Market area-- which, when compared to the calm of Habbous, looks like an entirely different country with itâ€™s grime and bustling chaosâ€¦
I follow a winding side alley soon surrounded by crowds of school kids heading home for lunchâ€¦ and out to the edge of the neighbourhoodâ€¦
097 Habbous Main Mosque
At the edge of Habbous is a beautiful flowery plaza, a towering stone mosque and a castle like building over to the side-- a beautiful little corner of
Music Spot 50: Edge of Habbous, Rating: ****
Beautiful little spotâ€¦
From there I continue on west, through a neighbourhood that suddenly looks quite drab compared to beautiful Habbousâ€¦ I follow parallel with the train tracks all the way to
And I decide to call it a dayâ€¦