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Reisverslag Casablanca: Caught between Europe and North-Africa
16 juli 2014
Casablanca: Caught between Europe and North-Africa
As promised, an update on the life in Casa!
To start with a very Dutch subject, let’s talk about the weather first. As you can imagine, the sun is always shining here and the temperatures are what we Dutchies might consider either tropical but very well livable because of the closeness of the Atlantic Sea and its cooling winds.
At the moment, Morocco is covered in Ramadan. And in the city, this is very visible. The stores, all stores except from a very few, large supermarkets, close their doors around 15.00 in the afternoon, not to be reopened until 21.30. In the hours in between, the big waiting commences. People are literally waiting for the breaking of the fast. Most offices also close around 15.00/15.30 (not mine; that is a question for a little later on in this story) and then everyone heads home to wait with their family. You see people waiting on sides of the streets, under the palm trees and on their balconies.
My work however, does not stop until 17.00/17.30. This has everything to do with the director of the business. He, as he put it poetically yesterday, hates everything about Ramadan. He is a Muslim, yes, but not of the strict kind. No smoking during Ramadan? He smokes. A lot. All day. No drinking during fasting hours? He gets my coworker from Ivory coast, Christian, to go get him (and several of his clients) coffee all day long.
Also when it comes to dress code, a modern and economic heart of a country like Casablanca, gets stuck between two worlds. On the one hand, there are many people covering up their bodies, I mean roughly from ankle to wrist, and women covering their hair. But when you take a closer look, you see that a really large part of women do not cover their hair at all. And of course, especially my generation wears clothes totally similar to what we in Europe are used to, leaving out those hotpants where your butt already falls out, but I consider that to be only a sense of good taste rather than a religious choice. ;)
What is completely not comparable to European standards unfortunately, is the approach towards freedoms that, for the majority of Europeans at least, are very normal. Racism and discrimination are things I often hear around here, also from very highly educated people. This stands in such a strong contrast with the modernity and the tempo in which Casablanca is becoming a leading metropole in the area, that it keeps hunting me every time it confronts me.
I am looking forward to the shifts in behavior of people after Ramadan!
More and better stories soon to follow =)
Kisses from Casa
Foto's bij verslag (3)
16 juli 2014 18:20 | Door: remco van olst
17 juli 2014 08:10 | Door: Sharon
Nice to learn about your life over there!