Friday, May 4, 2012

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco: A Persian's Birthday

As I munched my jaw-locking, uber chewy breakfast baguette in our characterless Casablanca hotel room, I mindlessly watched a steady morning stream of passersby from the balcony. I was thinking real hard. The room service guy looked vaguely familiar. I knew I saw that face recently somewhere...

Before I could recall, the hubby's voice tugged me off my spaced-out state. "I'm ready to go.", he announced in his usual apathetic tone. For a birthday celebrant, he didn't seem eager for a shindig. And I couldn't blame him. Morocco's February climate can be a shocker for a tourist who just flew from a sunny country in the Southern Hemisphere, say, Brazil.

Hassan II Mosque, one of the world's largest mosques.

Hubby put on his hoodie (which he bought the night before after realizing that he lost the jacket we purchased from Mexico) with doubt written on his face. It wasn't enough to keep him warm. I on the other hand, stuffed the tot's essentials in a teeny backpack that our daughter got as present from the owners of a guesthouse we stayed at in Lima, Peru.

Within a few minutes, we descended to the lobby. The awesome receptionist who sawed our broken luggage lock (I don't know how the heck he had a small saw handy, but he saved our day!) handed us a photocopied city map. We mumbled both merci and shukran, unsure which language to use because Moroccans mostly speak French when addressing foreign travelers. The bellman opened the door for us, then it hit me... The bellman and the room service guy is the same person! He just changed uniforms. Man, talk about multitasking.

And its minaret, the tallest in the world.

Our prime destination didn't seem distant on the map, so hubby and I agreed on walking all the way there. We reached the Old Medina without getting lost, but struggled finding streets that lead to the mosque because most of them are unlabeled or named differently.

We asked fellow pedestrians for directions, and all of them advised us to get a taxi. It's either we wandered too far off, or simply because they think we're insane doing a long distance stroll with a toddler in tow - without a baby stroller. Whatever it was, we were finally convinced to flag down a cab.

The celebrant.

A grand taxi (an old Mercedes model turned into a taxi, shared by random passengers plying a common route - works like the Pinoy "FX") picked us up and drove us to Hassan II Mosque or Le Mosque as locals call it. The ride didn't take long, which proved us right. The mosque ain't far at all, we merely got steered off-course.

The nippy Atlantic Ocean breeze greeted us as we got out of the grand taxi. I crossed the street without a care. Entranced. Hassan II Mosque swept me off my feet.

Brilliant Moroccan art.

This grandiose mosque named after former Moroccan king Hassan II is definitely a looker, and one of the only two (at least for me) must-visit places in Casablanca. Thousands of local artisans were hired to work on the mosque, and what's even more impressive is that some part of it is atop the Atlantic Sea (it actually sits on reclaimed land). An idea inspired by a Qur'an verse which states that Allah's throne is built on water.

It is dazzling from afar, and more so up close. We didn't bother asking if we could get in, and just sat somewhere near the entrance where we watched worshippers shuffle to and fro. Luna on the other hand, busied herself mingling with local kids.

Stared at the mosque's ceilings and arches with ze mouth wide open.

The Muslim-born birthday boy, looked his happiest though he was uhm, freezing. It may have been a simple celebration, but we were in one of our fave regions on Earth.


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Micamyx|Senyorita said...
May 22, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Wow. Ang ganda ng details sa second to the last picture :D

Pogi ba si multitasking bellman/room service guy? LOL

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 22, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Actually, he's quite a looker too :)

Edmar | EDMARATION etc said...
May 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Waaaahhh... Napaiyak naman ako sa ganda :'|
I love Morocco na!

OT: (Sorry Gay, hehe) Mica, talagang nagtanung ka pa ng pwedeng ma-future ha. LOL!

Jerome said...
May 22, 2012 at 10:23 PM

hanganda!!!! nakakalula sa laki ng lugar na yan

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 22, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Edmar, hahaha! Kung makakatulong ako sa paghanap ng "future" ni Mica, I'd be so happy!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 22, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Jerome, gosh... Nalula ako!

Tin | The Average Jane said...
May 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Beautiful place -- Morocco.

Maybe the guy's also the hotel manager. Hehehe! =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Prolly owns the place too! Haha!

Untied Escape said...
May 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Wow, the place is just awesome, and it's funny that they have the same bellman and roomservice, kagulat lang sa reaction. Ikaw din?! with amazed look... :p

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 23, 2012 at 3:48 PM

^^ Haha, yeah! Or... possible twins #highlydoubt

Francis Balgos said...
May 23, 2012 at 4:38 PM

grabe mg multi task!
you should've asked him if he cooks for the guest too..
hahaha! he's probably the well rounded all around guy in the place..

bertN said...
May 23, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Baka yung bellman at room service guy are twins LOL.

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
May 23, 2012 at 9:01 PM

ang ganda at ang laki nga nung mosque! you captured its beauty very well too :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 24, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Francis, prolly the owner too! I won't be surprised.

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...
May 24, 2012 at 2:05 AM

i love your photos Gay dear!! and of course, i always love reading your post. makes me like to head there now! great writer slash photographer and cool wifey and mum!!you have it all rolled into one - a beautiful travel blogger!you have a fan in me!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Aww... Thanks Ate Mhe-Anne.

killerfillers said...
May 24, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Seryoso nagpalit lang talaga ng uniform?haha Grabe sa details tong mosque na to.

Anonymous said...
May 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

ganda ng pics

Mary R said...
May 25, 2012 at 5:40 AM

Like everyone else, I love your pictures too! They're really serene and I feel peaceful just looking at the tower against the sky. You did an lovely job bringing those to us.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Thanks Mary! It does bring forth a peaceful aura :)

anney said...
May 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Awesome moroccan art! Natawa namn ako dun sa bellman at room service guy! hehehe!

Bonzenti |Con Tour Blog said...
May 25, 2012 at 8:08 PM

The building facade arch was intricately and uniquely designed. Such a wonderful work of art. :-). The only thing that we could hardly find a place when the streets has no individual signs at each and every corner, even if we have map. That's also a challenge. But with a brimming heat of the sun, I would no longer chose to explore the place by foot but rather take the taxi....:-). BTW, Ga-ye is here in Malaybalay City. Tama ang vibes ko sa kanya before we finally met each other. Meron siyang good heart. :-).

Riz said...
May 25, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Wow! Panalo! ganda ng mosque!
Belated Hapi bday to ur hubby! :)

docgelo said...
May 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM

while reading this post, i dare not imagine luna strolled her way too to your destination or worse, without a stroller, you alternated on carrying her.

the joys and fatigue of parenthood all for the name of love!

ps : what a place to celebrate something special, morocco! ...i'll be there tonight, in my dreams, hehehe!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Can't wait to meet you too Kuya Bonz!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 26, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Riz, he says thanks :)

Doc Gelo, reason for my toned biceps now.

Jan Ashlee Franco said...
May 28, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Hello! I love ur blog site! it served as my inspiration in creating my own travel blog. I hope you could visit my blogsite too or even add me on your bloglist. thank u so much and good luck on ur future trips!! - Jan Ashlee,

May 28, 2012 at 9:21 PM

whoooaa ang laki naman! and yay for the very intricate details all over the structure! :) Grabe!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Aww... Thanks Jan Ashlee :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 29, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Yrz Shugah, impressive artwork! Gusto ko nyan sa future house ko. LOL.

Cisco said...
May 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM

super nice

Aubrey said...
May 31, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Wow! You have a very nice blog here. I followed you. - Aubrey of

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Thanks Aubrey! Def following back :)

joei ♥ said...
June 1, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Belated happy birthday! I just celebrated my birthday also unfortunately I was sick.

Anyway, beautiful photos!!! Always wanted to go to Morocco. Although can you tell us the name of the characterless hotel so we won't stay there ;)
Join my giveaway! Open to international readers :)

Galatea | Dreams of Whimsy said...
July 4, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Oh wow, Morocco! I've always wanted to go to there ever since I saw Almost Famous and Penny Lane declared she wanted to live in Morocco. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog, btw. Following you now! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 4, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Oh yeahhh! I remember! I love love love Almost Famous!

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