Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ramadhan in Casablanca

day ONE. It started rather weird I must say, I can’t remember how I suddenly got in touch with Andrea Gail @
Wau Bulan; my ex-colleague from IBM (“selective” memory lost). I can only recall that my cousin Iskandar (Is) who happens to work there linked us up. We IM a few times and found out our love for traveling. Great, I thought to myself - another kaki.

Then out of the blue, we decided that “Yah, let’s go Morocco and Spain”, we're still wondering how the hell did that come about (yup, selective memory lost YET AGAIN). Next thing we know, we went to a travel fair (not MATTA), purchased the tix and off to Morocco. Year : 2007. Month : September.

You see, there is one tiny thing that worries me a lot when I travel. That is, your buddy has to be on the same page as you; know each others expectation, high tolerance level, not too calculative, same interest and the list goes on. So, can we clique? I guess I have to travel to find out.

Reached Malaysia KLIA with mom, bro and Is (gotten Is to send me as his car boot is bigger), Andrea is already there waiting with equivalently huge luggage (not that we‘re a shoppaholic, just foreseeing the unforeseeable). Double checked on everything, lepak with family for awhile, then we decided to go into the departure hall.

Panic and suspense - what a combo! Never travel with Andrea before, never been to Morocco before (IT IS IN AFRICA); Jeng! Jeng! Jeng! We did sufficient research though, with slides & spreadsheets & ofcos my fav DK Eyewitness as our guide. Everything has been mapped, routed, enquired, booked and reconfirmed. Boarded the plane (at midnight) and slept like a baby till we reach Dubai for transit. Transited for 2 hours, and off we head for Morocco.

Since young I've always heard of Morocco and Maghribi, never knew they were the same country (same case for Mesir & Egypt). I kinda have high expectation on Casablanca, perhaps of the OST song; we kept playing it over and over again and again. The airport was ok… still ok lar. Took a cab to our hotel located near the “harbour”. Passed by the township, I go like hemmm…. What happen to “I fell in love with you watching Casablanca, Back row of the drive in show in the flickering light, Popcorn and cokes beneath the stars became champagne and caviar…”. Told myself that “Hey! You had better lower down your expectation. FAST”.

We've booked a night stay in a hotel (hostel?) near a madina (souk); read so much about THE famous souk in Morocco. Ok ok... back to the hostel; it’s kinda a backpacker’s place, reasonable price, clean, free internet and walking distance to the souk plus facing the harbor (kira harbourfront lar). By the way, it’s a FISHING harbor, meaning, in the evening, you can smell FISH, plenty plenty of fish, really strong pungent fishy smell (I think I've emphasize enough). Oh well! I can live we that.

As we entered the Central Hostel, it really looks… old? rusty? authentic? VERY Moroccan! The colours are strong and vibrant, you'll see the blue with orange, or green with red etc. Checked in, DRAAAAG our bags to 2nd floor and terus baring (lie down) on the bed. Jaded! Ahh….. Relaxing before buka puasa time (break fast). Wait a minute…. We can’t be idle, I mean, we've PAID a lot for this trip, better not waste money and time (kiasu)! Surveyed the room balcony (not bad!), checked out the bathroom (ok lar), and went out of the room…. Hemm… to go UP or DOWN? UP OFCOS! Tah dah… they have this huge roof top for lepaking (loafing) and it has the best ariel view of the harbour.

Next, we thought we had better proceed to medina to get some food for buka puasa. As we walk, we found out there’s a disco just before the medina… we chuckled :P - must be targeting the tourist. The medina was nothing to shout about, in fact I felt abit disappointed, really. Bought some bread and went back to hotel to plan for the next day… Hassan II Mosque

… is said to be the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque) in Medina.

Credits : wikipedia, flickr, impawards, directdownloadheaven

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