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  • Brianna Giarraputo

Casablanca: A Taxi Ride of a Lifetime

We were only in Morocco for 1 day because we rushed back to the U.S. as the pandemic grew more serious. My mom and I stayed at the Hilton in Old Casablanca. The hotel itself was beautiful, but the surrounding area was not the safest. The hotel restaurants were beautifully designed and the food was great. There was a modern bar with eclectic art and black walls. They served fancy cocktails and complimentary peanuts.

We opted in for the breakfast the next morning. The buffet was stocked with amazing treats and traditional Moroccan dishes. The waiter poured us sweet green tea. He started tipping the tea kettle close to the glass cup and then gradually drew his arm higher and higher until the tea was spilling into my cup from a few feet above me! It felt like a movie - I was impressed.

Since we didn’t get to go on any of our planned tours or sightseeing adventures, our taxi driver showed us a few places on our drive to the airport. We made a stop at the marketplace where fresh produce and fish were being traded; hand spun pottery was being sold; and the vibrant language of Arabic was being spoken. (Morocco is a major exporter of fruit and seafood.) The colors of Morroco were brilliant.

Then we stopped at a mosque called Hassan II and awed at the stark white building with intricate geometric designs. The drive then brought us to New Casablanca were we drove through expensive neighborhoods and saw the beautiful coastline.

We then made a stop to my favorite destination, an authentic rug shop. It was like a magic carpet ride. The walls were lined with rolled up, handmade carpets. On the walls hung actual carpets tacked up with nails. They were absolutely stunning. In true Moroccan tradition, the owner of the shop offered us tea and asked us to take off our shoes to feel the soft carpets beneath our toes. My mom and I ended up making a purchase comprised of 3 beautiful rugs.

Across the street was a spice shop. My mom and I wondered in. The owner offered us spices to smell and shared with us the role these spices play in local home remedies. He convinced us that we needed Moroccan oil and face creams, so we made a few purchases.

Then, we were finally on our way to the airport. We thanked our taxi driver and then thanked the Lord when we landed at JFK airport, safely. It was a trip of a lifetime, one I will never forget.



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