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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 Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks wrote:
... I worked in Casablanca from 1998-1999.


I guess it's probably evolved a bit. Most large cities do. Still, I'm glad to hear all your tidbits of accumulated knowledge.

Quote:
So who will help you get a carte de sejour?


I'll quote briefly from AMIDEAST's FAQ:

"Moroccan Residency: For recruited teachers, AMIDEAST can provide an Attestation de Travail. The teacher can present [his contract], the Attestation and other supporting documents to the relevant Moroccan authorities in order to secure legal residence status in Morocco (la carte de sÚjour). Any other legal necessity for securing legal residence in Morocco (rental agreement, fiscal stamps, etc.) is the responsibility of the teacher. AMIDEAST, though, is happy to assist in this process."

Seems fairly clear.

Quote:
You need it if you stay longer than 90 days.


Yeah, that was the case in France for me as well - it's the same deal all over the European Union, even Mexico and South America, I think. 3 months is the non long-stay-visa limit almost everywhere - no doubt. Getting my carte de sÚjour was such a bureaucratic hassle in Ile de France that I doubt anything could be more convoluted. Try waiting in line at the sous-prÚfecture for 3 hours, just to be told that you're missing 1 document, then dismissed within 2 minutes. The procedure in Maroc certainly sounds more direct, although if it's a quagmire, it can't be too much worse than it was in Paris.

I suppose you don't need to know or care much, but, according to the US Embassy in Rabat website all I need to do, within 15 days of my arrival, is show up at the Service des Etrangers or Gendarmerie Royale in my village of residence and provide a valid passport, my work contract, the attestation de travail, application forms filled out in triplicate, 6 passport-sized photos and 50 dirham. In order to complete the procedure for the carte de sÚjour I'll also need an AIDS test administered at a facility approved by the Ministry of Health. Honestly, I needed a much more invasive medical exam to live in France for a year and a half.

Anyway, the administrative stuff is the least of my concerns. AMIDEAST sounds like they take care of their staff.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:24 am    Post subject: Re: Lookin' for a little more info about the scene in Casabl Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
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.


I dunno. Seems to me that I'm keeping a reasonably open mind. I haven't said that the city is Le Paradis and the solution to all my life's problems. I just hope to meet some cool folks and have some memorable times.

Conversely, based on everything you've posted in this forum that I've read, I'd say that you're the guy whose mind is made up. You've decided that the city of Casablanca sucks. Why are you still there, or, if you've left - why did you even stay past the first week? I'm left asking myself why you didn't follow your own advice and check the city out before you set up camp. Or if you did, how come you didn't recognize how 'lame' it is before moving in?

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.


Aiiight. You win, Hod. I'm the one who's made up my mind. Made up my mind to stay open-minded. You've got me on the run now.

Thanks again for all your lovely, sarcasm-drenched posts and pertinent information regarding the city, as well as your sincere wishes for good luck. You haven't so much as even told me which school you work(ed) for. And cheers for acknowledging my energy - even though I understand it was one of your hackneyed, post-ironic, witty snipes. You seem to have run out of any and all energy- certainly the energy required to say anything constructive.


Last edited by j. remy on Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sekhmet wrote:
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!!!


Hi Sekhmet - thanks for your reply. In fact, I am to be paid by the hour. However, it's a pretty decent hourly wage and I'm guaranteed a monthly minimum of hours. I get two weeks of paid accomodation upon arrival, but after that I need to find my own crib, which is fine by me. Work visas are not hard to come by if you have a job lined up. Medical insurance is one thing I'm wondering about, however.
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AIDS test? That sucks. Back in the late 90s nobody had to do that.

In Russia, people have to take an AIDS test in order to get a visa.
But I don`t know of other countries where it is required.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brooks wrote:
AIDS test? That sucks. Back in the late 90s nobody had to do that.

In Russia, people have to take an AIDS test in order to get a visa.
But I don`t know of other countries where it is required.


Well, I guess it is Africa after all; there's a rather dire situation with regards to HIV on that continent. Why does an AIDS test upset you?

That aspect really doesn't bother me too much. Good to have one every now and again anyway. To be honest, I'm probably due for one after some of my exploits in Ile de France.

But seriously, would you rather have a private AIDS test or a 90 minute, assembly line style (several hundred people), fairly exhaustive medical exam in a cramped facility being run by the Office des Migrations Internationales like it was a cattle call for North African immigrants? That's how the French and their good ol' OMI run the show. At least I had a free x-ray of my lungs when the morning was over.
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Sekhmet



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

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.remy,
I wan't sure what the situation in terms of work permits was in Morocco.... It seems to be really hard to get them here - so stupid rules about the number of foreigners in relation to Egyptian workers, and specific guidelines for the school, that kind of thing!! Plus, it's pretty expensive...

About the AIDS test, nothing like that was mandatory here (although if I ever get a work permit, maybe it will be then?)

Morocco is possibly my next port of call - I speak fluent French, and I'm getting there with my Arabic, so it would be nice.... Anything I need to know from a female perspective about Casa and Rabat?? Which is better for a single white female??
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well AIDS is not bad uniformly across Africa.
Morocco doesn`t have the amount of cases that exist in southern Africa or East Africa.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize that AIDS isn't an issue of such severity in Morocco, and that Sub-Saharan Africa is where the most misery is concentrated.

However, I think you realize that because Morocco shares a continent with some of the more AIDS-ravaged regions of the world - its immigration services make an attempt to limit the number of new cases entering the country. That would include an AIDS test for people seeking long stay visas.

C'est pas grave.

De toute fašon - thanks for taking the time to respond to my initial questions.

Sekhmet, from what I've read and heard, either Casablanca or Rabat would be pretty decent places to live for a single white female. Certainly much less dangerous than NYC or LA. I'm envious that your Arabic is at a decent level - hopefully I'll make some progress over the course of the coming year.
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Sekhmet



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

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.remy - thanks for the info!! It's surprising easy to learn Arabic in this environment - talk to taxi drivers, and you're well on your way. Unfortunately, this means learning some very colloquial Arabic, but they do say that Egyptian Arabic is one of the easiest to understand in all Arab nations. Hopefully I'll be fine!!

I have been here a year now - I'm aiming for moderate fluency (speaking and listening) by the end of next year!!! The writing will probably take a bit more time - a decade or so!!!
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sekhmet wrote:
I have been here a year now - I'm aiming for moderate fluency (speaking and listening) by the end of next year!!! The writing will probably take a bit more time - a decade or so!!!


Sounds encouraging, and congrats on your progress.

I realize that starting from zero with a new alphabet is a challenge, but how is your recognition of some Arabic script? Do you have any ability to read an occasional newspaper headline? Signs on businesses? Of course reading and writing spring from the same well, but sometimes it's easier to read, than write in a new alphabet - I base this upon my feeble knowledge of Japanese.

I have heard that the Egyptian dialect is much more standard than Moroccan Arabic, but I really hope that with some effort I can make somethin' happen...
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Sekhmet



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

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there's only 30-something letters in the alphabet, so when you've got used to them, you can make progress. The only problem is that vowels don't work the same as English (with little vowel markers that everyone always leaves off), and saying something with the wrong vowel could land you in some trouble!!!

The really big problem is the difference between Egyptian colloquial (spoken), and Fousha (written) - they are completely different!!!!! It's like learning a new language just to be able to read the paper!!!

IMHO, if you can learn Japanese, you can learn anything. Seriously.
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nolefan



Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 1458
Location: on the run

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Egyptian dialect is not the easiest one to learn but it is the easiest to understand and communicate with because of the popularity of their movies and soap operas.

You will find that the Moroccan dialect is quite different and more forgiving as the locals have taken to the habit of using using 3 or sometimes 4 languages in the same sentence (Arabic, French, Spanish and even some English).

As far as which city would be more suitable for a single white female, I suggest either Casablanca, Rabat or Marrakech. Casa is the Urban concrete jungle with everything you can think of (including high crime rate). Rabat is a more civilized, cleaner and milder city by virtue of all the embassies and other government agencies, it also boosts one of the lowest crime rates in Morocco. Marrakech is my favorite but I do enjoy the heat; In absolute numbers, more foreigners live in casablanca than any other city in Morocco; but in terms of proportion, that honor goes to the red city.
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey nolefan,

Can you give me any tips about what to look for as far as living arrangements in the Gauthier district (or maybe any other housing suggestions for someone who'll be working at Amideast?) I've checked out some websites and know the approximate price range, but any 'insider' info would be much appreciated.

Also, with regards to rent/moving in... Is the standard practice when moving into a new apartment to pay a caution of first and last months' rent, or first, last and an extra month?
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nolefan



Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 1458
Location: on the run

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

when my wife and I lived in Casablanca last year, we used a "samsar" to find an appartment in the maarif area (across the road from quartier Gautier) and it's not a bad approach. They're middlemen who spend most of their time at the cafes and they know about most flats for rent in the area. You usually pay them a finder's fee that should be negotiated in advance (we paid 1500 dirhams).

As far as the deposit goes, it depends on the owners. I think we paid 2 months in advance (first and last months) but we had a really nice landlord that exclusively dealt with expats or moroccans that lived abroad for an extended period of time.

Once you arrive to the city, just pick up a copy of "Le Matin" ( http://www.lematin.ma ) and look at the classified adds. They should have plenty of listings for Gautier. Menara might be another good ressource to check out ( http://www.menara.ma )

good luck
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j. remy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Location: Dar El Be´da, Morocco

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nolefan, thanks for your suggestions and clarifications. The 'samsar' approach actually sounds a bit pricey - but I'll see what's happenin' on the ground in a couple weeks.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that your wife had some problems with parasites while you were living in Casa. If I might ask, what happened/how severe was it? A food-bourne thing? While I don't wanna sound like the stereotypical squeamish Westerner, I've also read a few things about the prevalence of Hepatitis A, and would appreciate hearing your take on it. Again, I'm not trying to come off as though I expect the 'white-glove test' to be administered before I so much as sit down in a restaurant, cafe or snack shop, I'm just curious.

Thanks again.
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