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Let's get it right about Casablanca please!!
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Let's get it right about Casablanca please!! Reply with quote

Hi

I have been reading the Casablanca threads, and I gotta say, having lived and worked there for a number of years, I do feel that some posters are unintentionally misleading people about the reality of living and working in this city.

Firstly: Morocco = ace, good for holidays and short stays. I am actually a fan of the country, it was the place which started my travel addiction 12 years ago.

CASA IS A COOL CITY

Casablanca is the least interesting city in the country to visit and live in (perhaps second to Rabat). It is big, and non-descript, modelled on various French cities, there is nothing Moroccan about it. Pollution very bad, and at street level.

COSMOPOLITAN WITH GREAT NIGHTLIFE

There is no great night life to speak of!!!!!!! Who said there was????? Tell me where???? I know the city inside out, tell me the addresses!!!!! You have illegal drinking dens, basically huts or small hovels, the only women you will see in these places are prostitutes. You have some up-market French restaurants, a few tacky nightclubs by the sea, an Indian restaurant (very good ), a spanish bar and an expat place called the Churchill club. DO not go all the way to Casa for entertainment. To sum it up, me and a mate used to spend many a saturday night in the lobby at the Hyaat Hotel, sat in arm chairs, chatting. (Quite good actually).

CHEAP TO LIVE IN

9K is NOT enough to live WELL on in Casa....my blood was boiling when I read this. Try 18k, prices same as Southern Spain. 9k if okay for a student life style

A ROMANTIC CITY

Men be careful of dating local women. It is very possible to find a local girlfriend, and she might even appear very European at first glance, Spanish or French fashions, may even drink and smoke a bit. But, this is not Europe, be under no-pretense, dating means a trail for marriage, and more likely than not, her brothers and parents and extended family, will turn up at your door one day inviting you around for 'dinner', if you go, you will be told the time has come to ask them 'permission' for marrying their daughter, oh and by the way, learn these 3 lines and say them everyday until the wedding (you will have to convert to Islam, on paper at least). Then there are the Police. It is VERY possible that they will intervene if they catch wind of a foreigner with a local girl.

GREAT CUISINE

Food in Morocco is okay, quite like tagine and couscous. Food in Casa is good in a family home, the local eateries offer literaly snack food, such as grilled chicken. Chips with everything. French food at 25 euros a head. If you live in Casa, cook yourself, food options are limited.

GREAT BEACHES

Ehm, no. The beaches of Casa are a greyish black colour from pollution or something with a more mineral/scientific explanation. The shanti town residents spend there time there playing football mostly. You cannot swim in the sea safetly, it is very rough with terrible currents that can throw you out to sea (and under it, I guess). I swam once, but it was scary, wouldn't advise it.

NICE PARKS

There aren't any, unless you count Parc Jasmina, which is just a green patch really, oh there is another green patch off II Mars, a few palm trees and a coffee shop.

INTERESTING MEDINA

Well, I did go there to get the more authentic vibe at times, but it doesn't compare to medinas in other Moroccan cities.

____________________________________________________________


I went to Casa, can't see why anyone else shouldn't give it a go, might be good. Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier, Meknes would be more interesting for most.

The point of all this is I think posters have a responsibilty to try to be realistic about places, and to tell people 9k is good is just plainly wrong. A foreigner, without family connections in Morocco, would struggle on this, it wouldn't be fun at all, why punish yourself?

Moroccan students are better than most, generally you will be treated way better there then we treat foreigners in UK/States/Australia etc etc

Think that is it...if your planning to live there for more than 6 months, take a short trip to see it for yourself, cheap flights just started from Madrid, London etc etc


Last edited by TwinCentre on Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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medina



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear TC,

I would agree with pretty much everything you wrote and especially that postings should be accurate.

The only thing I might take issue with would be the question of whether you can live well on 9K dh a month. If that's after taxes, then I think a teacher can do all right---not get rich, but live comfortably--- even in Casa. As incredible as this sounds, rents have actually come down a bit there in the past few years. Probably a glut of empty places. And it's a lot more than the average Moroccan earns.

The rest of what you wrote is, IMHO, quite true. There's no really "cool side" of life there, but if someone winds up teaching in a good place, it can still be a very positive experience despite the city, don't you think?
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why go to a place like Casa, if not for the money?

There were not many expats around when I was there, but regardless of it being above the average Moroccan salary, most of the expats I knew would have laughed at the thought of relocating to a place like Casa for 9k!...That is 900 Euros! As I said before, why punish yourself? You'd be living like a student, wouldn't be able to afford trips to Spain, decent clothes, imported goods, decent hotels for weekend breaks to Marrakech...

I can only speak for myself, but to be educated, and to have an earning potential in your home country of an above average salary, then to go off to Casablanca for 900 euros a month where living is hard work and without any luxuries whatsoever,....no thanks! Casa is not cheap! Same as Seville, give or take...
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medina



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point.... Do you think you could ask the same question (why go.. if not..?) for Morocco in general? Maybe better to take a job in Abu Dhabi or Kuwait if it's money one's after (..?).

PS: Hate to say this, but 9K dh is more like 800 Euros these days. Quite a bit more in dollars, though....
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 954
Location: Home

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Humdillah for another thread about Maroc. It's been too long Reply with quote

800 euros? It's looking better and better in the other Land of Smiles.

I pay that in rent! Itís just as well thereís nothing to eat in Maroc. On that money, the Atkins diet would be some sort of Birthday treat.

Anyway, I agree with TwinCenter. Maroc *is* cool. Who needs food, money, beers, women, books, bars with women, food without soggy chips and clean air anyway?

Talking of which, where are you J Remy? Get out of that late night drinking den of iniquity (sp? meaning?) called Tigris, or are you more a Rhinoceros Bar man now, and post on Dave's eslcafe you wicked naughty wicked man.
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

medina wrote:
Good point.... Do you think you could ask the same question (why go.. if not..?) for Morocco in general? Maybe better to take a job in Abu Dhabi or Kuwait if it's money one's after (..?).

PS: Hate to say this, but 9K dh is more like 800 Euros these days. Quite a bit more in dollars, though....


Answer = no. If one went to Marrakech for 9 months on 9k, or even not being paid at all, then I could understand it, they would be going for 'an experience' and an experience they would get in all shapes and forms, Marrakech, along with some other Moroccan cities are truly interesting places to be, they are exotic to say the least.

Casablanca, as those of us who have seen it know, is not one of those places. It is like going to Bradford to experience the wonders of Britian.
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Urban_Kitten



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't live in Casa for 9000 dirhams a month you have a problem - either that or you go clubbing every night. Casa is cheaper than Rabat and I can still sock money away.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 954
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban_Kitten wrote:
If you can't live in Casa for 9000 dirhams a month you have a problem - either that or you go clubbing every night. Casa is cheaper than Rabat and I can still sock money away.


They say you canít take it with you.

Whoever ďtheyĒ is mustíve got paid in Moroccan Dirhams. Can there be a more crap currency to trade? When you leave Morocco, the best place for your leftover Dirhams is a toilet. Itís also not the most stable of currencies, so youíre better off blowing your cash every month anyway.

OK, if you live in some ghetto and eat nothing but that woeful snack food, youíll soon be rolling in Dirhams. If youíre female, you wonít be seeing the inside of any bars anyway, so even more savings. Then again, why bother going abroad and living like a refugee? Dh9000 a month has to pay for rent, decent food, taxis and of course all those trips to Spain.

Casa isnít cheap. Know what? I live right in the centre of Berlin and itís cheaper than Casa. Have I got figures or sources to back up that last claim? Of course not, but how about this:

http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2027417,00.html

Patrick Collinson
Tuesday March 6, 2007
The Guardian
Prices in some US cities are now relatively lower than those in many developing countries. Atlanta, the cheapest city in the US, now has prices below the average in Casablanca, Morocco and Shenzhen in China.

I could go on, but this topic has been done to death. Yawn.










Oh go on then, just one more.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/12/25/10091952.html

25/12/2006 Reuters

Moroccans protest rising cost of living

Rabat: Thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of the capital Rabat yesterday for a demonstration organised by left-wing and consumer-advocacy groups to complain about rising living costs

"We understand the rise in fuel prices as Morocco doesn't produce its own oil, but if we are a farming country why do we pay so much for vegetables?" said Hassan, a taxi driver.

Good question, Hassan. Hey that might explain the lack of vegetables in any Moroccan restaurant.
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban_Kitten wrote:
If you can't live in Casa for 9000 dirhams a month you have a problem - either that or you go clubbing every night. Casa is cheaper than Rabat and I can still sock money away.


I'd say if one CAN live well in Casa on 9k a month then they have a serious problem.

Coz, they must have no friends, eat heart-attack ready fast food and live in a hovel. Rent was 4600 for me for a reasonable place, so that leaves 450 euros left for bills, travel, fun and savings? Then there is petrol????

A reasonable salary before tax per month would be 18k, this would allow a good life style with some savings. I mean running a car, having a maid, eating out where you want, travelling to Spain at weekends when you want, having broadband and cable TV, living in a nice part of town, with enough room to entertain, and have parties etc. wIthout the savings then 12k in your hand would allow for what I'd call one up above a student lifestyle, being able to afford to eat out, travel but probably not being able to afford to have a car etc...
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Urban_Kitten



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having a car in Casa is a whole new kettle of fish. I still maintain that without a car, you can do it just fine. With a car, no.
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But please, we can't go around telling would be Morocco teachers that 9k is a good salary...
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Urban_Kitten



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.... never said that it was a good salary, only that (without a car) you can live on it.
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Africaexpert



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9405E1DB163DF930A1575BC0A96E958260
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 954
Location: Home

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6540369.stm
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Africaexpert



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not like it happens all the time, Hodster. Morocco is quite safe, safer than many parts of England and the US. I enjoyed exploring Casa on daytrips from Rabat and found much of interest, and great food of many varieties. I really liked the fabric souks. I had Casaoui friends that showed me places I'd never have a chance to see otherwise.
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