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Day 2: Friday, April 1, 2022 – A Trip to the White House

Rob and I had a great sleep. The bedding was very comfortable and there was no traffic noise…or maybe we just slept hard since we had only dozed in the last 30 hours!!

After a sumptuous breakfast, we started to explore Casablanca which is the largest city in Morocco with 7 million in the urban center and surrounding area.

  • Casablanca is a Spanish word meaning White House. I asked where the white house is. It WAS in the Old Medina. French and Moroccan Arabic are taught in school. English is taught at the university. So why is the city name Spanish?
  • Arabic
    • Dar albida is white house
    • Al Maghreb is Morocco
  • French
    • Maroc is the French word for Morocco
We walked through the Old Medina. Activities were just starting to ramp up. Here are three men…and a bread shop.
Rob wanted to buy some more time.
Next we stopped for a Moroccan lunch at the very busy La Sqala. It was Friday afternoon after time at the mosque and likely a special meal before the start of Ramadan.
The Friday special was couscous with seven vegetables. It was as much fun to look at as it was to eat.

The Hassan II Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world after Mecca and Medina. It took 6 years from 1987-1993 to build. All of the interior designs were made by the hand of 12,500 artists. Colors of local spices such as saffron were used in the decor which can only be inanimate designs or words from the Koran.

Hassan II Mosque

All of the building materials except for Murano glass come from Morocco. The cedarwood comes from Middle Atlas mountains which lasts for centuries.

The inside of the mosque measures 65 meters high, 100 meters wide, and 200 long. The mosque holds 25,000 people with the women separated in the balconies. The outside holds another 80,000.

Muslims must wash before entering the mosque. There are 350 taps and 41 fountains. Men and women wash separately. Everyone keeps their shoes with them in a bag.

Muslims pray five times per day while facing Mecca. This can be done anywhere, but it also can be done in the mosque. The leader or Imam will additionally speak after Friday noon prayers. Today it was about preparing for Ramadan.

The decorative window looks out on the North Atlantic. Do you see Rob hiding in the shadows?

There is much talk about Ramadan since this month-long fasting starts tomorrow. After sunset each day, they break their fast and then come to the mosque to pray. Most will go to their local mosque. Many prefer to worship outside as it is often stuffy and hot.

Boxers by the beach!
We stumbled upon a mall that had a slide down to the first floor. There was a long line as the slide is way more fun than an escalator.
Our evening meal at Le Cuistot. Everything was excellent from the chicken pastilla hot starter to the Moroccan desserts with tea.

The present king is Mohammad VI, the son of Hassan II. He is a direct lineage from Mohammad. Lala Salma is the king’s wife, but she has not been seen since 2017. She was a great influence for women in Morocco. Not only were laws passed giving woman a greater voice during her time as a royal, she wore pants and did not cover her head while in public places. They have two children: a son, 18, and a daughter, 15. Some people speculate divorce. I speculate some investigative reporting!!!

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