28 May 2012, Gail’s trip log

Casablanca – but not a sign of Bogie! We had a fantastic day here in Morocco. We were docked around 600 starboard. We heard the thrusters about 530 and got up to watch. Always interesting. Three busloads of folks took off before 700 for a ten hour tour to Marrakesh. We decided long ago that we did not want to sit on a bus for 7 hours to spend three hours there. We were not sorry, although Casablanca does not have a casbah and other Arabian style old structures like you see in the movies. And speaking of movies, of course everyone knows there really was not a “Rick’s Café” (although an enterprising American has opened one here now) and the entire movie was shot in Hollywood. But the place will always be linked to the classic movie in American minds. I was not disappointed at all. Our tour left around 800 and was back a little after noon. Our guide was fantastic, probably the best one we have ever had. Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco – about four million people and is the economic center of the country and the largest port in North Africa. It is a big bustling city with lots of traffic, but we had such a great guide it didn’t seem so bad. We got off the bus several times and did a lot of walking in various places. The first stop was an open market where we saw a great array of fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, meat carcasses, fresh fish, and flowers. Our next stop was the Medina government owned area that includes the President’s Palace and the city administrative buildings and law courts. We spent about an hour walking and listening to her descriptions of the buildings, tiles, culture and food. Unbelievable tile work – gorgeous colors. We stopped for refreshment around the pool of a posh hotel on the ocean. Weather today was gorgeous too. Next stop was a photo stop at the fantastic mosque on the water – the 3rd largest in the world (although the one in Oman made the same claim). Our last stop was a shop that was full of souvenirs of all types of local art – leather, brass, jewelry, carvings, etc. I bought a lovely purple caftan with gold embroidery for 20 euros. Dan got some postcards, a wallet, and some gifts. Things were pretty quiet on board this afternoon – most people took all day tours. After lunch we took a nap and then swam for about an hour – may be our last chance in the pool. We had a hot dog by the pool, then came back to watch the sail away at 700. We watched War Horse on TV and enjoyed it very much. It wasn’t over until after 830. Went and grabbed a little late supper. We lose another hour of sleep tonight, but don’t have to be at our tour until 915, so not a problem.

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