Beyond Casa West: Dar Bouazza-Tamaris
Trip Start Aug 06, 2008
39Trip End Ongoing
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But this is just the beginning. I've still got the surrounding region to explore… the rest of the country… the world. Let’s see if I can take this same style of exploring beyond….
Hiking to the next town: Dar Bouazza
Coming into Casablanca by plane, the surrounding countryside looks pretty boring
So what am I going to do? I’m not quite sure. I guess I’ll just head out my door and start walking… and see if that passion for discovery lasts until I reach another town.
So I head out my door and head up to the coast.. Which way to go? I’m on the west side of town already, so I figure I’ll just keep following the coast southwest… on past Ain Diab… Hay Hassani Beach… Sidi Abderrahman shrine…
I reach what looks like the end of town where there’s a mall being built which they claim will be the biggest in Africa—or at least north Africa. Right now it just looks like a construction site in the middle of nowhere. I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the traditional market shopping here in Casablanca
I follow the coast a bit further until I run out of road and have to head up to the highway if I want to continue west
So I continue on for my first Quest to Reach another Town on Foot, unaware that this long, drab hike will be the beginning of a whole new lifestyle of discovery. I trudge past brown ridges sprinkled with an occasional upscale villa or maybe a cluster of houses… I pass a walled in compound that says "George Washington Academy: American School… yet America feels very far away right now…
A couple of fellows resting under a eucalyptus tree holler out to me... They seem to be the respectable type, so I head over and introduce myself. Abdullah and his gang are older--lower middle class fellows who were eager to hear some of my songs. This is a bit unusual--most Moroccan men over forty don't have much interest in music or in striking up a conversation with a foreigner. One of the fellows is a Berber who treats us to some Tashlhit tunes... then, over a bottle of Coca cola we discuss a whole range of topics--from what life is really like for Moroccans living abroad to how Vietnamese feel about Americans... A very pleasant group of fellas.
I ask if I can take a picture of us all.
"Better not--we're actually supposed to be working right now..."
Finally we part company and I continue my trek to Dar Boazza.
Postnote: years later I run into one of these guys in Casablanca—although I don’t recognize him at first… he is in a police uniform! I guess that explains why he’d been a bit shy about having his picture taken!
Dar Boazza turns out to be a bit unimpressive--just a lot of vacation homes with a couple of shantytowns (brrakas) sandwiched in between--and then, of course, the trashed littered empty lots. There is a little sardine market along the rocky shore--but this is definitely no Essaouira. And yet… I feel no regret for having made this 24 kilometer hike in the sun. I set out to discover a new place on foot… and I accomplished my mission.
Decide to follow the coastline a little ways to see if there is anything more to discover. Reach a nice, crowded beach area and a sign that said "Dar Boazza 3 km" (back) and "Tamaris 3 km" (ahead).
That old halfway point again... alright, alright, let's go see what Tamaris has to offer...
Tamaris, , 6.7 kms
Tamaris has a very lively beach scene going on--and turns out to be a decent place to parkbench and meet folks... A couple cute girls come along a beg me to play a song for them and I willingly oblige...
It’s nice to stroll along a beach packed with folks out having fun. But there’s an air of artificiality to Tamaris—doesn’t feel like a real town… just a lot of beach houses that are probably empty for most of the year.
Anyways, it’s time to head home. Will I come back later to continue my trek down the coast? I’m not quite sure.