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Lookin' for a little more info about the scene in Casablanca
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Beda, Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:29 am    Post subject: Lookin' for a little more info about the scene in Casablanca Reply with quote

Quoi de neuf? T'as vu les meufs?

I've spent the last 16 months living and working in Argenteuil, France (95100, representin' my true dawgs) - a blue collar suburb of Paris, inhabited primarily by Arab and West African immigrants. After making some great friends of Moroccan descent, and hearing so many tales of the beauty to be found in the Maghreb, I've decided to take a job in Casablanca - in search of a little of the poetry and adventure I crave. I feel that a francophone country on the 'other' side of the Mediterranean is just what I need to maintain my French speaking skills and get a new perspective on Southern Europe, while hopefully learning a bit of Arabic.

I thought I might have preferred Rabat or Safi, but Casablanca was where I was offered a job - with AMIDEAST, about which I've heard good things. I dated a Moroccan woman in Paris who assures me that Casablanca will be the best spot for me (a city kid with improvisational tendencies, nomadic leanings and hip hop seasonings) but I'd like to find out a little bit more about the city from some people on the ground.

I've heard all the naysayers who claim it's polluted and the traffic is bad - but that goes for any large city. All the self-proclaimed 'travel experts' advise people to skip Casa if they've only got a week to spend in Maroc. On this forum, I've read 'Hod's' post-ironic, jaded, 'humour' posts dissing Casa. But I don't buy it. I know the city is bumpin'.

I've noted on some of the Wanadoo Maroc apartment searches that there are some cheap, yet spacious living arrangements to be found. Can anyone drop me a little more knowledge about the best quartiers to live in Casa? Some of the fun spots to chill? Nearby beaches? Any tips on day-to-day protocol for an unwashed infidel like myself? Are the horror stories true about Western guys dating the fly Maghrebines?

Thanks in advance.
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Tina78



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: casablanca Reply with quote

j.remy I think with your fun spirit and open-mind that you will have a lot of fun in Casablanca. I spent 3 weeks in Casablanca last Summer and I enjoyed my visit there. There are a lot of fun night clubs and amazing beaches even in the city of Casablanca.

I am presently looking for a job in Casablanca and hopefully I will be teaching there in September.

I know that some people post a lot of negative things about Casablanca. It is a big city. You will experience traffic and pollution in any big city in the world.

I know one thing you have to watch out for is the bus system. Apparently it's not very reliable and the lower class take the bus. Taxis are dirt cheap so maybe go with that option.

Social classes are clearly defined in Morocco as well. A lot of upper class and a lot of lower class...very few mid-class.

I'm sure a smooth-talker like yourself will have no problem finding a girlfriend in Casablanca. Although Morocco is a Muslim society, it is influenced by the modern world. Just be cautious when trying to pick up a girl...her brother might be close by!

Good luck with your adventures....I'm sure you're going to have a blast...maybe I'll see you there!!!

Tina
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked in Rabat and Casablanca and I prefered Rabat, but Casa is where the jobs are.
Rabat`s air is cleaner, but if you are a single person, I guess Casa would be more interesting.
I didn`t know good bars in Rabat but I did in Casa.

Amideast is in Dar America and that is in the Gaultier district and is one of the better neighborhoods.
There is a fairly decent library there.
I assume at Amideast you have to teach for the TOEFL.
You may have a chance to help with administering the TOEFL. When I was there the test was given at a university of agriculture in Rabat.
Morocco I think was one of the first countries to have the computerized TOEFL.

If they have air conditioning consider yourself lucky. I used to really sweat, even in October. And I would open the windows to get some air but often the traffic was so noisy I would have to almost shut the windows. In the winter I got cold so I liked going to the Turkish bath.
Getting a space heater would be a good idea.

Casa indeed is polluted. Take a walk down to the main train station and you will understand or take a stroll on Brahim Roudani.

I had a girlfriend from Rabat but she came from a conservative family.
Some women are liberal and some aren`t.

Moroccans are good at learning languages. You will have students that are at least trilingual (Arabic, French, and English) and some people know Berber and some know some Spanish, if they lived in northern Morocco.

Poverty certainly is a problem. The Italian consulate is in Gaultier and there tends to be lines outside the building of people hoping to get visas in order to get out.

I used to teach a demographer who said that the unemployment rate was 25% There are some families that only have one person working.

Obviously knowing French helps but making an effort to learn Arabic will go a long way.

middle class people ride buses too.
Taxis are cheap so I did tend to take them. Petit taxis are for getting around a city and grand taxis are for longer distances, like to the airport.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Beda, Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to both Tina and Brooks - helpful responses. Good luck with your job-hunt, Tina.

Just checked out some of the listings for appartments in the Gauthier district, and they seem a bit more upscale than I need, although internet search isn't necessarily the best way to find housing. Anyway, I start working the first week of April, and I'd like to be in Casa by around the 21st of March - so I have some serious crib-huntin' to do. Fortunately, AMIDEAST is generous enough to find new employees a hotel room during their inital search - so I don't need to rush rush. I would like to find a cool place to stay, though.

I wonder what my prospects of finding a place within sight of the ocean are. (I'm a realist, but I've heard too many tales of villas near the beach with citrus and fig trees in the garden... I'm trying not to envision myself kickin' back on the patio with a beat-up acoustic guitar and some prawns on the grill.) My closest friend from Paris (a maths prof - dans la fac) is checking out the job opportunities for himself and may just be moving to Casa this summer if things work out, so I've been dreaming of the laid-back bachelor pad we could afford if we pooled our resources.

I'm glad to hear that there are some pretty beaches in the city. I crave the coast, on any continent.

I'm not worried about the public transport - I've seen some pretty grimy buses, el-trains and subway cars 'round the way. Even so, thanks for the heads-up.

Good to hear that romancing les Maghrebines in Casa isn't as taboo for a Westerner as I've heard. I'm rather smitten with female Moroccan beauty, and I didn't wanna get beat down because of a tug on my heart strings. I knew there had to be some more 'Western-leaning' girls, as far as interracial dating goes.
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nope, if you want to be near the ocean you will need a car.
I bet you will walk to work.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Beda, Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the helpful dose of reality. I truly needed it.

That's the kind of thing i wanted to know about.

Walking to work is cool by me.

Can you tell me anything more specific about the Gauthier district? Are there more modern shopping centers and that kinda flow, or how's the vibe as far as a walk to work goes?
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just small stores. Convenience stores are called hanut in Arabic.
One of the smaller supermarkets has alcohol, hidden behind a curtain.
That is where I used to buy beer.

There was an abandoned lot behind the Italian consulate. Maybe now it has buildings.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:11 am    Post subject: Re: Lookin' for a little more info about the scene in Casabl Reply with quote

j. remy wrote:
'Hod's' post-ironic, jaded, 'humour' posts dissing Casa. But I don't buy it. I know the city is bumpin'.


This comment comes as quite a shock I can tell ya, somebody reading my posts.

I could offer advice, Mr Casa, about your school, and living in Gautier on the salary youd be getting, but youve already made up your mind. All Ill say is there's no smoke without fire (from me or all the others you've read), so visit Casa first before committing.

Quote:
Are the horror stories true about Western guys dating the fly Maghrebines?


Depends what you've heard.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Beda, Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahhh... Holy optimism, Hodman! The beat police have arrived on the set to quash any notion of good times that might be had! I was wondering when you'd show up to take the mick out of a shiny neophyte like me. Into the Sour-Grape-Mobile, we've gotta get back to the Hod-Cave and flash our stylized logo into the skies to scare away the ignorant masses!

I guess your warnings of impending doom are a bit late since I've already signed the contract. However, it seems you must be omniscient... what is "the salary [I'd] be getting" in your estimation? Laughable that you can't so much as give me a drop of information because you're so preoccupied with spreading your brand of wry wit. Seriously, you come off like an elderly man in overly tight trousers.

It's unfortunate that you couldn't simply help me out with a little info, if you have any to give. I thought that's what this board was about. Tips from someone who's there right now are just what I'm seeking. Are you from a small town in the UK? A rural boy in shock at the noise and smoke of an actual city? I'm sorry life in a big, scary, Muslim city has left you so damaged that all you can manage is a a few scathing one liners.

Why don't you either tell me about how awful you think the Gauthier district is or go back to breathing scooter fumes?


Last edited by j. remy on Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Beda, Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks wrote:
just small stores. Convenience stores are called hanut in Arabic.
One of the smaller supermarkets has alcohol, hidden behind a curtain.
That is where I used to buy beer.

There was an abandoned lot behind the Italian consulate. Maybe now it has buildings.


Thanks for the info. Did I read correctly somewhere that you were in Casa in 1996? Have you been back since? I assume it's changed a bit in the meantime.

I'd assume its easy enough to find a gym if I wanna play squash or lift some weights?

Any idea what the health insurance situation is like for employees of an American company in Maroc?


Last edited by j. remy on Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tina78



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.remy applause to you for finally giving a taste of reality to Hod. He tried to put down anything I had said when I had replied to one of his postings. He is very judgmental and I truly feel that he does not have anything significant to say.

Anyways, with regards to a house at the beach, I inquired with a friend in Casa and he told me it could be quite expensive. If you will be living with your friend then you guys should be able to make ends meet with 2 teacher's salaries. If not, there are some modern buildings in downtown Casa in the Gauthier district. I guess you'll just have to look around once you get there.

Et encore une fois, tu ne devras pas avoir de problemes a dragguer des filles...Il l y a des filles Marocaines qui vont faire semblant d'etre innocentes quand elles le sont pas...tu verras par toi meme que ce ne serait pas si difficile que ca de te trouver une copine la bas. Fait attention par exemple, mes amis me disent qu' il y a quand meme des profiteuses...si tu es trop gentil ou trop genereux, elles vont prendre avantage de le situation...

Bonne chance...et si jamais il y a des postes a ton ecole tu me laisserais savoir s'il te plait!!!!
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Tina78



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry I forgot to tell you about the gyms...
you cand find a gym there, however, it is quite expensive from what I'm used to paying in Montreal. My gym membership here is 20$ canadian per month. Apparently in Casa a regular gym membership will cost between 60$-75$ canadian and perhaps more. I know I'll pay it because the gym is important for me...I guess it depends on each person's priorities! Hope this helps!!
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Sekhmet



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 329
Location: Alexandria, Egypt

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.remy, this could be either helpful or helpless - I'm not sure!!!

One of my friends here is Alex works for Amideast. Now, I don't know what employment laws are like over in Morocco, but here, a work visa is very hard to come by. Therefore most teachers are employed as "consultants". This means, the lack of work permit is purely the teachers problem. Teachers also get no medical insurance, no flights, accommodation etc, and are paid by the hour.

Like I say, I have no idea what things are like over in Morocco - this info might just be a waste of time!!!
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Lookin' for a little more info about the scene in Casabl Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
visit Casa first before committing.


Just read all this thread, and the above is the only advice I see. As I said, you've made your mind up.

[quote j.remy]ahhh... Holy optimism, Hodman!
(a rather large snip later)
go back to breathing scooter fumes?[/quote]

Now, with all that energy and cybercafe expenditure, you could've popped over to Casa and had a look. Then again, you've made your mind up.

Good luck.
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nope. I worked in Rabat in 1996 and I worked in Casablanca from 1998-1999.
Don`t know about gyms.

So who will help you get a carte de sejour?
You need it if you stay longer than 90 days. In Rabat I had an internship for less than 3 months so I didn`t need it. In fact I had no visa.
Americans can stay in Morocco for up to 90 days.
Anyone who works in Morocco needs one. I think it costs 60 dirhams for the stamp. My employer paid for mine.
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