New York City, New York
November 17, 2004
The beach itself is also quite large, extending some 300m from the promenade to the water. It did not have spectacular white sand or anything, but it was clean. The water there was not any brilliant blue, but it was clean and full of swimmers. The surf was rough, and I could see why windsurfing would be popular at resorts in this region.
The promenade also hosted a variety of eating options: vendors flogging all manners of pastries, high-end restaurants catering to western tourists and businessmen, and even-and I am not making this up-a Schlotsky's Deli (!).
I plopped down in a vacant spot (once I had figured out the bizarre grids that had been laid out with stakes and string) amongst the local populace. I got a few stares at first, but I quickly became part of the landscape. This was my first time hanging out at the beach in a devoutly Muslim country; I was not surprised to see the boys in bathing trunks, but I was surprised to see the girls laid out in everything from a one-piece bathing suit to a full-on black, Iranian-style chador, which could not have been comfortable. One super cool feature of hanging out at the local’s beach (rather than the European VIP beach clubs) were the food vendors. These were usually guys with trays or rather heavy-looking metal crates with a strap around the vendor’s neck. I realized that in my rush from work to get to the beach, I had skipped a full lunch. There seemed to be a guy passing every 5 minutes, so I waved down one guy selling some pastries.
For those who are not familiar with Moroccan sweets, many are similar to Turkish baklava, i.e. filo dough soaked in honey. However, pastries ranged from rich and dense like baklava to rich and flaky like a donut. These confections also had numerous variations with powdered sugar, cinnamon, almond, and fruit. I know this because after the first vendor came and went, I stopped another guy. A short negotiation in broken French, and I had two of his buddies run up with their trays. I tried a few pastries from each of them. All of them were unique, and the total charge was only a few dirhams. I am sure the calorie count per dollar was about as good a value as you could get.
From journal Casablanca-Gateway to a Kingdom