I‘ve been taking it easy since arriving in Morocco late Sunday night (today is Thursday already). I spent 2 nights in Casablanca & tonight will be my third & final night in El Jadida, 2 hours down the Moroccan Atlantic coast from Casablanca.
El Jadida, my first stop on my Moroccan travels outside of Casablanca, is a small fishing town about 2 hours south of Casablanca. There’s not a whole lot going on here which I guess is a large part of the town’s charm. The Portuguese, who sniffed around Morocco until they left in 1769, built a fort here and their town, a small walled settlement now known as Cite Portugaise, is a UNESCO-listed site having being grated World Heritage status in 2004. It – the Cite Portugaise – is another El Jadida charm, as is its expansive beach. I happily whiled away 3 nights here or will have done by the time I leave for Essaouira in the morning, yet another fishing village further down the Moroccan Atlantic coast. I caught up on some blogging, drank a lot of coffee, watched people playing soccer, watched people fishing, & ambled around the lanes of the Cite Portugaise.
– UNESCO commenting on Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida)
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) May 1, 2014
A Few Early Moroccan Observations
• Everyone speaks French & all signage, menus & the like are in French. The French were here until 1956 when Morocco gained independence. I’m getting by.
• There is a massive cafe culture here – cafes are everywhere & older Moroccan men just seem to spend their days sitting in cafes playing cards, drinking coffee and smoking.
• The country seems to love the colour blue – it’s everywhere, especially indoors.
• That said, the countryside is very green. At least what I’ve seen of it between Casablanca & El Jadida. I expected it to be more barren, more desolate.
• Olives are served with every meal. I hate olives.
• Much like in India, where everywhere you look people are playing cricket, here in Morocco everyone is playing soccer – on the beach, in the streets. Anywhere they can really. And at all hours of the day. Doesn’t anyone go to school? Or have a job?