Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 56: Casablanca Souks & Rick's

The original plan for today was to do Rabat on our own.  While working on the game plan last night Daniel, Lacey, Heather, and I talked with a few other SASers who made the journey that day.  The general consensus was that the trip was not really worth it due to the similarity of Rabat to Casablanca and Marrakech.  Had I known other people willing to go I probably still would have gone just to get out a little more but we had a good day here also.  After two really long days we were in need of some rest so we took it pretty easy in the morning.  I was still up early but hit the gym and did a bit of tweaking to some papers before we met up to go out.

Most of the late morning/early afternoon was another Casablanca walking adventure.  We got a chance to spend some more time in the Medina and Souks (basically a bazaar) where I perfected my people watching and bargaining skills.  I don't know if I'd actually call it bargaining "skills" but I have devised a pretty effective method the past few countries.  They give me a price, I laugh and say exactly what a want to pay, they retort with a higher price, I laugh again and walk away.  I'd guess about 75% of the time they call me back and take the original price.  It works especially well since I don't buy anything big and what I do get I could usually do without and have no regrets walking away from.  I'm sure there are much more effective methods out there but it works for me.  Other than the souks and some of the commercial area outside the port there's really nothing else to do in Casablanca (at least within walking distance for us) that we didn't already hit on the city orientation.  An interesting random observation: there seems to be more Mcdonald's here than in any other country we've been to.  The locals pronounce it "Macdonald's" with a heavy French accent, it's rather entertaining.

We went back to the ship for a little while and then ventured out again for dinner.  We decided to splurge a little bit and do a nicer dinner since it was our last evening in port.  Of all the recommended places the only practical/walkable/safe one was Rick's Cafe again.  SAS people have taken over the place every night here so I'm sure they appreciate the business.  The food was good, not overly impressive, but the atmosphere was a lot of fun.  We ended up sitting near a Canadian professor on vacation and had a good time talking American politics for about 45 minutes before moving on to more appropriate travel swapping stories.  The evening concluded with the necessary Moroccan mint tea (way too sweet me for) and our journey back to the ship.  Tomorrow I have my FDP to the local psychiatric hospital so I've been trying to read up on the state of mental healthcare here.  It should be a really interesting experience.  That's all for now, I'm about ready to call it a night.

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