Casablanca, June 21, 2013
It’s 12:30 when we reach the ancient medina in Casablanca. Morroco always comes across as a much-talked about tourist destination, and so I do come with some sort of expectation. I’ve learned over the years not to expect, instead staying open to welcome whatever coming your way. One tends to enjoy life journey a lot more that way. Yet I’ve made the same mistake on this trip, getting all soaked up in expectation after seeing the impressive medina in Tunis where passion for art and culture has started to flow back into the community, leading to magnificent preservation work for the area.
As the car approaches the medina, the overall scene does not paint a very comfortable picture; garbage-filled walkways, run-down dirty street cafes with miserable looking people sitting around, messy street vendors…. Don’t get me wrong! I love the disorder and the mess in developing countries, but – there’s always a “but”, it has to come with the bursting positive energy of the place, almost like you know what needs to be done yet you are in such a rush and haven’t got a chance to get down to it. At Casa’s medina, time seems to pass it by. It feels like the shameful past that one never wants to touch on, tugging it under the pillows to feed shattering nightmares.
Like a once-admired Mediterranean beauty now getting shut behind forgotten doors, Medina is lying pale in bed, bidding her last farewell. One can hear her faint sobber in the wind. One can feel her last drops of lonely tears drying off. Frozen faces, snowy hearts, people walk by…. Life is on hold! Hundreds of Moroccans sit around waiting for their next praying session at the yellow mosque. Is there one who will walk with Medina on her last journey to the unknown?