This post is SOOOOOO overdue! I am sorry I have been so silent, but check out these blog post my other blog http://rakiradresources.wordpress.com about what I have been doing in my classroom and you will understand why I’ve been so silent. Classroom Frustrations Setting Up My Classroom Surviving the First Week
Anyways, I posted last time about 10 things you will see here in Casablanca that you won’t see in Atlanta. Now I am posting about 10 things you will NOT see here, but are common place in Atlanta. Now, some of these things can be found somewhat, but they must be seeked out and searched for. For the most part, in the big city of Casablanca, you can find anything you want. If you go to the rural areas, the list of things you won’t find gets longer. Either way, here’s my top ten.
1. Ice Cream trucks (Can you tell Kal helped me make this list?) However, it’s true – there are no ice cream trucks here. You will find TONS of street vendors. You can buy almost any food on the streets – from fresh popped popcorn, cotton candy and escargot (yes, snails) on the corniche (the walking path near the beach) to m’smen (a type of pastry), charcoal cooked corn on the cop and nuget in Maarif (a busy shopping area). You can can even buy food on the beach – this is where you might find ice cream (popsicles really) – sold by a gentleman who carries a large cooler around. You will also find beignets on the beach, carried on a large, large try and balanced by the seller while he fills your beignet with peach jelly! However, what you won’t find here are ice cream trucks that drive up and down with that familiar ice cream truck song begging kids to come running with money!
2. Glasses of Ice Drinks are never served with ice here. If you ask for ice separately, you can generally get it, but they will look at you odd. Most drinks are served chilled (although never ice cold), but it is definitely not unusual to be give luke warm water either.
3. Texting and driving There are two reason you will NOT see texting and driving here in Casablanca. 1. Traffic is NUTS, I mean crazy – see previous post for specific details, but just suffice it to say that if you aren’t paying attention for even a second, you run the risk of an accident. 2. Cell phones need to stay safely tucked away to avoid the petty thieves who will grab a cell phone at any opportunity, even if it’s in your lap in your car if you window is rolled down. Large scale crime rates are low here, but as with every big city, there is plenty of petty thieves who would love to take your cell phone, necklace or wallet.
4. Big box restaurants Don’t confuse big box restaurants and fast food. We have plenty of McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC here. However, what you will not see are the big chain restaurants (Chili’s, Olive Garden, Golden Corral etc.) There aren’t even Moroccan big chains, generally restaurants are small and privately owned. There are two exceptions – we have a TGIFridays on the Corniche and Chez Paul’s has multiple locations – I believe.
5. Drive thrus Although we do have fast food, you generally eat the fast food in the fast food restaurant. There are a few drive thrus at one or two of the McDonald’s, but overall, the concept is lost on Moroccan.s With the way people drive here, I don’t think they could eat and drive anyways! You will see a lot of order in concepts – Pizza Hut and other restaurants deliver on these little motorbikes, and you can easily order green tea to be brought to your office from the café across the way!
6. Price Tags If you are not going to a big box store (Marjane or Acima), don’t expect to see price tags. Prices are discovered by asking – and are often negotiable, especially if you know someone or have kids – seriously people offer us free fruit for the kids all the time. Also, don’t be surprised if you find out there is one price for people who ask in French and another for people who ask in Arabic.
7. Styrofoam Cups I have yet to see styrofoam cups here anywhere. I have seen plastic cups and plastic plates, but they are definitely pricey, and I’ve only seem them in use in American households. Everything is washable and reusable here – from the cups you get at a restaurant to the trays food is served on for school lunch.
8. Playgrounds Places specifically designated for kids to play are scarce. That’s not to say they don’t exist – we’ve found a few. However, it is much more common to see kids kicking a soccer ball on the sidewalk than it is to see kids running around a playground. This is good and bad for me. I’d love my kids to have a special place to take them sometimes. However, I love that kids playing is accepted everywhere and not seen as needing to be separated from the grownups.
9. Fire Trucks I’m sure there has to be a fire station or fire trucks here, but I’ve not seen any. All of the buildings are build of cement, with very little wood, so fires are just not something to be concerned with here.
10. Parking Garages Parking is crazy here, especially from 12 – 2 when everyone is out on siesta (lunch and rest). It’s not unusual to see a sea of cars double parked. However, outside of apartment buildings, I have yet to find a parking garage – the kid you pay to park for an hour, or the day, or whatever. You will, however, be expected to pay 2 – 5 dirhams to pay on most city streets. You pay this to the guardian who will watch over your car and make sure that noone breaks in!
That’s all for now, but I have at least 3 more blog posts rolling around in my mind – so hopefully I will get them written and shared this weekend – inshallah! (Inshallah literally translated means “if god wills it”, but it is used here more as maybe or hopefully, or we’ll see.)