I still remember the day I landed in Casablanca, after all those chaos and spending a lot of time in Frankfurt Airport.. I spent almost 18 hours to reach Casa (home) finally. Yeah, it is my home now. I could see and live the city in another perspective and though it is not a DREAM city like in the MOVIE, that was my home so far. I left a big part of me there, if I am to confess..
It was for an Aiesec project. My first Aiesec project and I chose Morocco and I am really glad I chose this magnificent country. Let’s continue with Casa (I will mention it like this from now on, so focus.) It is really hard to explain it all on this platform but I will do my best. I have stayed/lived there 4 weeks. I should have stayed in Casablanca 3 weeks and then in Marrakech another 3 weeks (project was for 6 weeks). As I mentioned above, it is not a dreamy city where you can see different type of buildings or great night-life, beautiful beach and whatnot. But it has its own thing: not to mention of Hassan Mosque II! What a fabulous architecture! It was designed by French architecture Michel Pinseau and built “literally” on the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, you heard me right, it is on the WATER! It is paradoxically beautiful to think how a french (Christian) architecture could design a mosque of the use for Muslim people. How she could think of those damn details and thoughts within.. That made me realize one more time that we are UNITED! Culture, color, religion, gender do not play any role, it is all about HUMANITY..
Those are my friends, my sisters and brothers.. We became family actually. Our hearts loved each others’ at first sight, and we became ONE: one for all. Apart from that Mosque, those people are also wonderful and unique in my eyes. They are my weakness, my strength, my freedom, my hope, my roads, my desire, my tears.. My Moroccan, Tunisian, Senegal, Mali and Chineseeee 🙂
We entered the Mosque without our Chinese. Because you have to pray in Muslim way in order to get in there. It was huge and enormous, full of lights and dreams. Yes, it was dreamy and crystal clear at the same time. Those gigantic perfectly designed chandeliers.. I could not help but kept staring at them for a while (without taking a picture). Ohh, and I got to tell you this: there was an escalator inside. LITERALLY! I think it destroys the uniqueness of the Mosque.
Those 4 weeks I spent to the fullest. This experience and this country taught me what humanity means and how strangers could become your friends first and then closer than a family. We shared a lot of good memories together. It’s been 6 months now since I came back to Turkey from Casa (home) and I still can’t get over it. I have been mesmerized. It is not like Europe, there I have seen the dustiness, pick-pocketing, vulnerability, sadness, desperation, the thin line between poverty and wealth.. They are all what makes Casa fabulous and unique in my eyes. They don’t have sea, they have OCEAN.
They have just ONE big shopping mall. Fast-food is more expensive than local foods. They drink traditional Moroccan-Tea which is more like a mint tea but way too better than that. They have their own traditional dress. Even the old men wear the long dress either in black or white. I really adore that dress though! They are hybrid, the mix of black and white people. That is what I love the most about it. Official language is Arabic but the new generation know French very well because back in time Morocco was one of the colonies of France. And if you are lucky enough you can find young people speaking very good English (which I was happy about).
Mi Casa es Tu Casa…
I am missing this dirty place every day. No offense “Casawee” people but there is not much to do there. They have Casaport (near to the port) where there are some restaurants and coffee shops like Starbucks, and they have also free WiFi there! And in the port you can have fish menu with calamaris and unlimited Moroccan-tea! Though I do not eat fish, I tried this second time I was there with calamaris and tea. I was about to ”consume my fingers” haha.
My favorite traditional food has been Tagine/Tajine. There are of course different types of that ass well; with meatballs, chicken or potatoes. Somehow “Couscous” could not charm me that much. Either I did not like the ones I tasted or I just did not like it at all. I was in love with their juice. They are all fresh and healthy and you know what… they are soooo cheap! During my journey, I ate either Tagine or Panini or we cooked something home.
In Casa you can see the certain line between poverty and wealth as in black and white. It was sad to witness it and I was super shocked to experience it but there is also a part of Casa where wealth rules the city. Like in the name of it “Casa-Blanca” it might seem so white to you if you are just tourist but if you live in the same way of locals, you will see the black side as well. They are so indifferent to the other ”SIDE”. They seem so oblivious to me. They go to really expensive restaurants to have a dinner and enjoy their night in Shisha Cafe and after midnight they spend a lot of money for the lodge in the club. I do not want to think about their mornings though! To be serious I did not like this part. I liked the real Casa, where the people united and where you feel yourself like home and where you would even want to learn some Arabic to be able to communicate with them! I think I prefer the chaos, the reality , the possibility in impossible and the diversity of colorful people.
What touched my heart is the atmosphere in Global Village. Since we are lots of people from all around the world, we are supposed to cook or bake some traditional food-cake and present it to others. I did not think of a place with a lot of Moroccan students.. If only I knew.. Since I was the only Turkish left behind, I did not want to cook something, but I regret it after I had been to the event. It was in a primary school and there were many Moroccan parents and kids. Just seeing the happiness and joy in their eyes by being surrounded and tasting new stuff they never did before was enough to make me feel like the happiest and most blessed person in the world.
I really can not express how I actually felt that moment. Moment of life! I felt ashamed since I did not do anything for them. I pictured the moments where I could catch the innocence of the beautiful souls. They are not only hungry for food but also for love, affection and education. They kept coming to me and wanted to have a picture with me as if I am famous haha! They wanted to hug and have a kiss on the cheek. God bless those children and may God feed them with a big spoon of love.
I did not aim to write all the specific information about the cities here. I won’t give you the every detail of the city or the name of every place and whatnot. I will tell you what I liked and you need to see it from my window. In Casa they all talk about “Maison B” as if it is the best club there and since I am a dancer and would like to experience the night life in Casa, we went to this club once and soon we got in, I got the negative energy about the place and we left. I am more into Hip-hop and R&B music. For this, I found a club called BAO! The music that they played was all my favorites. They totally got me. Our Moroccan friend suggested us Latino Bar “La Bodega”. I danced my a** off there and enjoyed every second of my company. The prices of drinks? Ehh, reasonable.. But the fun we had is indescribable!
I realized something in Cafes there. People do not face each other and sit across one and other. They all sit near to one an another so they can face the street and they actually watch people walking by. I found it very strange at first and could not really understand the background of it. I still don’t haha! I still find it a bit irritating. Lots of men sitting in a Cafe, drinking their teas or coffees and watching people? I do not really know. But anyhow, if you ever plan to go to Casa, you should visit my favorite Cafe “Cafe de France”. It is located in the city center called “Avenue Hassan II”. Go there, drink your Moroccan (Mint) Tea and enjoy your trip by watching people haha.
There is a souk in the near of Cafe de France. Where you can buy some Souvenirs for your loved ones! It is really big and like a labyrinth. It is not cheap at first cause they know well that you are a tourist and you HAVE THE MONEY! So you better negotiate, they also want it and love it. I bought a traditional Moroccan dress with 70 Dirham. The seller asked for 250 dirham first and since I am Turkish (I don’t know but they love Turkish people somehow) and I could negotiate well, he could not resist and sold the dress with my price 🙂
I lived in the neighborhood called “Moustakbal”. This is not a dreamy place to live 4 weeks in Casa. You do not feel yourself like a tourist but you do not feel like one of them either. People stare! They love to stare! Somehow they know that you are not a Moroccan! I do not know how but they do. Even though you might look like Moroccan..
The streets were very dirty and the bus (number 7) we took almost everyday did not feel like a bus. You might experience a lot of stuff in there. You just pay 5 Dirham each time and the driver gives you a ticket which you have to keep until you get off. In case the controller come in.. You can also try yellow bus and you can divide the price with the people you get in. Or there is UBER, which you can call by application and they offer you price and if you accept it they come and pick you up. And there is a big cab if you are lucky enough and if they go in the same direction that you do, they stop and get you also and you pay 5 Dirham per person.
I went there 15th of August and in the last days of the month I got really sick. I thought it was a cold or flu but whatever I tried I got worse each day. Since I was not getting any better my Tunisian sister took me to the hospital. I was really glad that she was there for me not only I did not feel alone but also she could speak their language (Arabic/French). No joke my friends! If you are planning to visit Morocco you’d better learn some Arabic or some French. I am serious about it. No communication in English!! But I was also thankful since they could not speak English well. I challenged myself and I tried my best to find a solution in any cases I had to deal.
It was a lifetime experience, everything was so different than Europe. I changed myself there, I was on the way to discover who I really am and what I really want to do. I learnt again and again how small the world is and how little our problems are! Some of them were on the pursuit of money, to be honest. But some just showed me what LOVE is. LOVE of a brother, LOVE of a mother, LOVE of a sister, LOVE of a stranger and LOVE of a LOVER! I am soooo blessed to my bones to be able to experience all those emotions and feelings. I am thankful for each I have met on the way and for those I love from the bottom of my heart. Each of them impacted my life without knowing. Each one is very special for me and have already their places in my heart. I would love to meet them again and want to hug them so our hearts could greet each other and feel the love again! I thank GOD for those opportunities he offered me and made me believe in GOOD PEOPLE AND GOOD HEARTS.
I could not be any happier because of that. Each time I meet new people, learn new cultures, new languages and have a new point of view about life. Casa was like my home for real and i have many families there! If I ever go there I know I will have a place to stay and people to hang out with. We met in the middle of two different cultures and two different languages but we became ONE HEART and ONE SOUL. We are UNITED! Sometimes we did misunderstand each other and tripped for no reason but in the end we got our backs for the best and worst. Because we are HUMAN – we are WORLD CITIZEN! 🌎👬👭👫
too much patana love ❤