It was 4 days before the Eid, the day we landed in Casablanca Mohammed V.
We had a long immigration queue, a windy late afternoon outside the airport, and stares of curiousity. Apparently, my Asian feature is a sort of novelty in Casablanca. Staying-over tourists are scarce, Asians moreover..
A friend had someone picked us up at the airport. The guy looked jittery and he speaks perfect french, with slight arabic intonation, or the “français chantant”, as I prefer to call it. “Suivez-moi!”, he told us soon after he verified that we are indeed the people he has been waiting for. We spend no blank moment to keep up with his schedule. He hurried up to the parking lot and attended us with our luggages.
Along the highway, we chatted a bit about Casablanca, how it is now becoming more polluted, more nerve wrecking thanks to the amount of vehicles found in the streets. Well, to my surprise, Casablanca looks a lot less than the descriptions. It looked emptier, the air is a lot more breatheable and cars weren’t seen in abundance. A lot more demure, in terms of loudness and hecticness, compared to Jakarta.
Later on we learned from Malik, our host during our first month in Casablanca, that activities are reduced during the month of Ramadhan, that also means less “nervous” honking and casual swearing by the motorists during the day until the Maghrib (fourth call of prayer, normally recited at sunset which signify the end of the daily Muslim obligatory fasting during the Ramadhan).
Being a Christian born and raised in Indonesia, I’m accustomed to observe the religious practices around me. I remembered, as a child sitting quietly next to my nanny who were doing prayer before breaking her fast, the scent of tea and instant noodle she made for Suhoor (meal consumed before the dawn by Muslims during fasting month), and people gather at the mosques for Taraweeh or the “rest prayer”, a special evening prayers conducted with long portions of the Qur’an recital.
During Ramadhan, residents of Casablanca and Morocco in general (so, I’ve heard) tone down their activities during the day and alocate their energy until late night, in short.. a great opportunity for nocturnals to do (close to) midnight shopping and socializing!