Casablanca is a place I’ve fancied visiting ever since I saw the famous movie starring Bogart and Bacall. Not a single scene in the movie, mind you, was actually shot in Casablanca. Another piece of trivia about the film is that the screenplay was based on a stage play that, at the time, had never had a theatrical production. It was called Everybody Comes to Rick’s.
Anyway, I finally satisfied my curiosity about the Moroccan city last week when it was one of the ports visited on a short cruise themed around ‘Moorish delights’. Casablanca turns out to be a vast, bustling commercial hub, its stand-out “sight” being the massive, and massively impressive, Hassan II Mosque, wonderfully situated on a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic.
Another trip was to Tangier, with its colourful old town and markets. It’s a place rich in atmosphere and history, and has featured in various thrillers, including one of the Modesty Blaise stories. Of the two cities, I found more of interest in Tangier, though of the four Moroccan cities I’ve visited, Marrakech remains far and away my favourite.
There’s something fascinating about having the chance of a glimpse of a very different culture, and brief – and inevitably superficial - as my glimpses into Moroccan life have been, they might well surface in a short story one of these days.