Friday, November 16, 2012

Study Abroad: Part 22 [Crushes on Spanish sailors, Casablanca, and Trains]

There is something about belief that is awe-inspiring and terrifying.  Beliefs can drive everything you do, from a simple trust in karma to a overwhelming rush to advocate.  At the same time, beliefs can fuel stereotypes, which lead to nasty situations.

Let me back up: it starts with Casablanca.  Casablanca, the grimy place that I disliked, because I only spent a night there (even though it was a fun night), because I heard horror stories, and because I just didn't want to move.

It continues with arriving in Casablanca, three girls (and a four-year-old) eating cupcakes (real cupcakes, with chocolate and cream cheese frosting), and with checking into Hotel Yto.  The room: 204.  The mission: find a way to spend the next 5 hours before we decide to go out.  Given that we have two mega-beds, two bedrooms, and television, the mission is easily accomplished.  Dinner: tagliatelli. With real ham.

There's a bar downstairs of Hotel Yto. It's got a Guinness sign, a British phone booth, a bus sign, and crocodiles tacked to the ceiling.  There's a pint of Guinness, there's Heineken beer, and there's Precision beer.  A stuffed grouse, goose, bird looks at me with beady eyes.  A bow and arrow is angled right at my head. There's a 20 something year old grinding on someone's lap.  I continue to watch Sting in concert on the television.

We go to Ain Daib, Boulevard de la Corniche, THE tourist place to party, according to Lonely Planet.  Our taxi driver Aziz chats with us, and we in turn manage to haggle the price to 50 dirhams, the "usual" cost of a ride.  We take his phone number so that we have a way to head back when the clubs close around 5am.

The first club is Empire.  I was invited to this club by the promoter last time, but it just didn't work out.  The club is mostly empty, since they've just opened.  We get our drinks and sit, bobbing along to some music.  There's a pole and I take a spin on it.  The bar gets lit on fire with ethanol or methanol or whatever it is that burns brilliant blue.  After people watching, talking and laughing, we decide to go dancing.  The bartender (a stunningly slender woman, who seems genuinely surprised that I speak French, who smokes cigarettes, and who wears a black Union Jack tank top over denim shorts) clears out our tab and then, without saying a word, pours us new drinks.  We stare in confusion and shrug.  Turns out, it's on her, on the bar.  We grin: free drinks for the ladies? Oh yeah.

We wander down the street.  A bouncer grins and shouts at us, flags us down, and then ever so elegantly guides us into Le Matador.  We laugh and dance, spinning away from grabby hands, and wandering eyes.  One guy starts talking, and lo and behold, he's a Spanish guy.  With five friends.
We start talking and then we decide to go elsewhere, as a few men have become too bold and aggressive.

We're followed by those very aggressive men we are trying to avoid and become so frustrated that we flounce into Calypso (more acurately, I twirl into Calypso, with my friends, while the Spanish men accompany us, and those aggressive men are left outside).

Calypso has a 100dh cover charge, but includes a drink, reggae influenced music, and an amazing DJ.  I dance with two of the Spanish sailors: one is married and I don't pay much attention to him.  The other is taller, shaved his head, has a tattoo sleeve and the most intensely dark hazel eyes that I have ever seen.  When he smiles, he is incredibly handsome.

Around 4am, I get tired, we spin off and say goodnight.  The Spanish sailors follow.  Apparently, they believe us to be prostitutes: one even says that he needs to go to the bank before we can leave.  In between becoming offended and listening to them invite us back to their ship, we make our awkward farewells and leave.

It ends this way: Aziz finds us at MacDonald's getting chicken nuggets, we see the Spanish sailors in line behind us (in fact, Mr. Hazel Eyes taps me on the shoulder to get my attention), and we leave.

We sleep it off until 10 am, get breakfast downstairs in the restaurant while surrounded by stuffed foxes and squirrels, then get Starbucks.  It ends this way: a taxi ride to the train station, a train ride to Rabat.  And I wonder about the Spanish sailor, who is somewhere far away.



  1. Good writing is something I can appreciate. You have made your points in a smart way. I am impressed with how interesting you have been able to present this content..Thanks for sharing.
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    1. I'm glad you liked this! I'll continue blogging while I'm in Belgium. I hope you continue to read my blog. :)