After a very hot summer day we wanted to cool down a bit in the evening. We went to “Rick’s Café” which was an important location in the movie “Casablanca”. The place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca. Set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina of Casablanca, the restaurant – piano bar is filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film. There is an authentic 1930’s Pleyel piano and “As Time Goes By” is a common request to the in-house pianist.
Generally, photos are prohibited, but if you ask the staff, they allow to make “but only a few, please!”. With our big group a considerable restriction, so we had to keep certain guys busy by ordering drinks and take the pictures when they’re away.
For the evening we made a reservation at restaurant “Le Tanjia” which advertized Happy Hour and belly dancing. But first we went to the main square (Jemaa el-Fnaa) again and, even though we split in several groups, none of us could resist to taste the food from the stalls… I had a wonderful Moroccan soup, other were braver and had soup with… snails!
The restaurant thing started quite well and we got our belly dancing sessions soon. We were actively involved, too… I fear that several compromising videos exist on colleagues’ smartphones.
Also some of the long awaited beers were served, but then the situation became strange. Only warm beer for happy hour, and the fact that we did not intend to eat made the situation worse. We have to admit however that normally one reserves a table for eating, not just for drinking. Let’s blame the delicious food we had at Jemaa el-Fnaa! Anyway, we felt uncomfortable and thought it was time to get the bill, to leave and to find another good place to spend the evening / night.
With the “Kechmara” bar we indeed found a good pace to sit, unfortunately they would close at midnight. Dany resp his TripAdvisor app pointed us to a Karaoke bar, but on the way we encountered the “Level Five“, a disco / bar on top of a high building. Again, the IBM CSC troop opened the party on the dance floor. Party time till late!
Another (extended) CSC team dinner in a fancy location in Casa. The “Ocean View Cabestan” is a chic restaurant at the coast, Porsches and Mercedes parking in front of it. Thew view on the Ocean is amazing, but in fact the washrooms caused more funny conversations: what is the purpose of a couch within the restroom next to the water-closet?
Today was a very intensive day. During the French breakfast in the hotel some new faces appeared; it doesn’t matter how well the profile pages have been created and how up-to-date the Sametime picture is – meeting from face to face is different… and nice!
Imane from DOT and Nabil from IBM set up an informal meeting where they provided as new information and time to introduce us in personal. Amazing and funny stories we’ve heard! And it was a very profitable session, too: at the end we got gifts from all over the world (obviously I brought Swiss chocolate!).
Afterwards we got ready for a first city walk in Casablanca. For now, we skipped the Medina (old town) as it would be pretty crowded at Saturday and headed towards the port and caught a glimpse at Hassan II Mosque with it’s world’s tallest minaret (210 m) – we’ll come again tomorrow.
We fought the hunger in a nice garden restaurant where some of us tried “Kemia”, an array of small dishes (similar to “Tapas” in Spain). Very tasty lunch – we shared many bits among us, everybody is eager to enhance his own Morocco experiences.
We returned quite late and pretty tired – she called many of us “slow walkers”, whereas others had the impression she was running. Anyway, after a short refreshing in the hotel room (and changing sneakers to elegant / black shoes) Imane organized her brother and two taxies for a ride to the SKY28 at the “Twin Towers” of Casa. Big windows allowed a great view over the city, mirrors on the roof funny selfies.
Thanks Imane for this amazing Casablanca experience!
As there is hardly any direct flight from Zurich to Casablanca my itinerary was Zurich – Madrid – Casablanca with Iberia Airlines – which also means we had to get up at 4:30 A.M. (“we” because Steffi was kind enough to drive to the airport). Flight to Madrid was on time and I could take a Whopper in the nice airport of Madrid.
Arriving in Casablanca at 3 P.M. I thought everything was perfect – but I somehow was not prepared for the looong queues in front of the immigration officers. It took me almost 1.5 hours to get through. I was really sorry for the driver who had to wait the entire time holding up my name’s sign outside.
It made me tired, but I was curious enough to get to know my team members. We met in the evening, at least the guys who already arrived, and went for a nice dinner. I had a delicious lamb “Tajine” (berber dish cooked in eathernware pots), good red wine and local beer. I didn’t know Casablanca has it’s own beer culture – a nice surprise!