No news is worse than bad news. It has been few days that I found myself clueless of what to write, what to translate. I guess it’s a good opportunity for me to write more about Casablanca where I currently reside.
Casablanca is young, and it’s still growing. It’s averagely clean (read: cleaner than Jakarta), has that European big city feel, which translates into high-level of stress and high cost of living (this website indicates that it’s costlier to live in Casablanca than in Chicago, US).
In short: It is painfully hard to love the city in long term.
Habbous is perhaps the most interesting neighborhood in Casablanca. It has a lovely souk, known for its week end carpet auction and marché des olives (Olive market). It’s also known as La Nouvelle Medina (the new city)
The souk is the lair of Moroccan artisans: carpet, babouche (local leather slippers– they came in amazing colors!), wrought iron, even the best (read:tourists’ favorite) Moroccan patissier Beni is there..
I’m a foodie, gastronomy is my achilles heel. I even abide to the rule “if it looks tasty, eat it”.
There’s a group of cafetarias not so far from the souk. This open air cafetarias would make any carnivore belly super pleased..
The cafes are annexed to meat shop, so you choose your own meat and have it cooked the way you want it.
Any parts of cow, chicken, duck, turkey, mutton known to gastronomy lexicon plus more. Check this: they served donkey and camel as well..
I’m not kidding.
Now, I can chuckle on my experience seeing heads (yep, heads..) of camels hung outside of several meat shops with parsley stuffed on their mouths.. but then and there, the sight were enough to make me scream like a teenage girl who finding a huge pimple on her nose at prom morning.
Screamed out and tad hyperventelating, my man and I decided to have veggie tagine on a small snack cafe in one of Habous’ small streets. Our lunch were “less than average”, the cafe was humble (read: under average Maroccan’s standard of hygiene– yep, we’re all about adventure, baby!).
For that meal for two, the cafe owner dropped the bomb on us and charged us the “special” price of 120 dirhams (about 12 Euro), which is a lot. Just an illustration, a meaty tagine for two in a cafe located in Maarif (Casablanca’s champs elysee) cost about 70-90 dhs.
Apparently he noted our “touristness”– I look too Asian, Vincent’s too French plus his accent and all. In many occasions, our appearances seem to cause us being ripped off.
By the end of our lunch, a guy called Nabil (or Nabeel, I’m not sure how to spell his name)– a seemingly MBA (Moroccan Born American), judging from his clear American English, who were seated next to our table, asked Vince if he wants to taste some camel burger. Vince, with gleam in his eyes said “yeeeaaaa”.
Well it looked tasty. Long story short, I took a bite.
If only there’s a competition called “the world’s most jaded look”, I’d walk out of the cafe as the winner.
Tip to all of you who would love to visit Morocco, anywhere in Morocco. Remember to bargain first. This practice is valid whenever you need some items or service. Don’t worry about offending, (most ) Moroccan merchants are happy to know that you’re in the “spirit” of shopping.