Our first project in Morocco was working at a Yoga Studio as a writer and ad producer for their online magazine and booking website. In exchange, we got a room in an old apartment, getting shuttled to-and-from our workplace like princesses, and $40 a week for meals (and savings, if you’re frugal enough.)
There was really no other reason to go to Casablanca. The medina was less impressive than those of Marrakesh. The beaches were filthy. The city is noisy, not only because of the general traffic noise and the amplifying cityscape, but because of the aggressive honking of the angry daily commuters. What kind of misery can one endure to feel the need to hold car horns down for minutes at a time? The many sleepless nights even inspired me to write a song:
Three weeks there, the city was angry, rude, and uncommunicative. We did not encounter a single taxi driver who wasn’t rude and didn’t try to scam us despite a price agreed beforehand. Not only did it lack pedestrian space, walking alone meant some street harassment, stalking, and even getting egged.
With Casablanca being one of the largest financial centers in the continent, it was also abnormally expensive, often more than Europe. Many of the French expats seemed to live luxurious lifestyles sustained by severely underpaid Moroccan or African servants.
The yoga studio we worked at was bougie to the core. It was decked with a swimming pool, fancy pillows and fake plastic plants. They had a full time driver to take customers from the gate to their car parked 50 meters away. They had a hired staff each for making juice, cleaning, cooking, pillow fluffing, childcare, reception desk, chauffeur, and more. The business was either too good or the Moroccan labor is way too cheap. At 250dh/$25 a class, it might be the former. It was luxurious, but not my type of “yogic.”
There were beautiful sides to Casablanca. We did enjoy the tallest mosque in the world, Hassan II, once you walk past all the busy trashy roads to get there. Without any language, we befriended the clerks at our neighborhood Carrefour, and made delicious vegan food daily with only local ingredients as imported goods were too expensive. We doped up on carrot and beet salads, baked eggplants and onions, curried beans and rice. On lazy days, the falafels wraps from Fayrouz Ziraoui were also crazy delicious and cheap (15dh/$1.50).
Although we ate like kings, our smart shopping allowed us to save some dirhams before we headed to our next stop — the surfer town of Tamraght, where we ate delicious pancakes, learned to surf, and made many new friends at a family-run surf camp.