"F$CK Air France !"
The perfect plan was stymied by the butt-head French, Air France was on strike ! From the same brilliant minds that brought you the Maginot Line in World War II the Francais are upset as always about something. The Air France pilots decided to strike because of whatever issue they had, but the un-intended consequences was that Bone was stuck in the States and Mike in Greece! So with a lot of jiggery-pokery with Delta and Travel Agents, the original plan of Mike and Bone meeting in Casablanca on Thursday evening, changed into Bone having to leave earlier to get into Casa Blanca on Thursday Morning and unfortunately Mike would not land until Friday Afternoon!
Thus leaving Bone on his own in the town the Portuguese called "White House" or Casabranca or Dar el Beida in Arabic. Now Casa Blanca is a very old town. It was founded by the was founded and settled by the Berbers in the 10th century BC. It was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later by the Romans 15 BC. At the time the area was called Anfa (Berber for Hill) and was used throughout History. The town and the medina of Casablanca as it is today was founded in 1770 AD by sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah (1756–1790), the grandson of Moulay Ismail, but in 1910 it became a protectorate of France (ironically !) until the 1950's, thus leaving Casa Blanca an interesting mix of Berber, Arabic, and French languages. However the 3 hour flight from Detroit to JFK and the horrendous, filthy, hot, 8 hour flight (14 hours in all!) on Royal Air Maroc left Bone wiped out, who promptly crashed once he checked in to the Hotel Barceló.
Casing Out Casa Blanca
Waking in a few hours Bone first check in with poor Mike, whom had to fly from Santorini, to Athens, to Istanbul, and then spend the night before he could fly to Casa Blanca. Mike and Bone made sure they were coordinated for the next day and headed down stairs where he asked the Concierge on where to walk around to check out the City. Ironically for a "tourist town", he was strongly cautioned "not to walk around," especially after dark. In typical Bone fashion however he completely ignored the advice and headed out to see the sea!!!
"Seaing" the Atlantic Coast
Immediately Bone observed that Morocco was not a clean place, there was garbage everywhere. Casa Blanca isn't dangerous, just dirty. Walking downtown, he spied the Ocean and headed down to the water.
"Seaing" the Atlantic Coast
The Hassan II Mosque
The Waterfront of Casa Blanca is not a bucolic sandy beach. It had three things (in addition to the smell!), a dirty break wall, a small group of fisherman and a really big Mosque! The 22 acre Hassan II Mosque is located between the harbor and the El Hank lighthouse. The mosque rises above the Atlantic Ocean. The building is built partially on land and partially over the ocean. The creation of the mosque began with the death of King Mohammed V in 1961. King Hassan II had requested for the best of the country's artisans to come forward and submit plans for a mausoleum to honour the departed king; it should "reflect the fervor and veneration with which this illustrious man was regarded." The building was commissioned by King Hassan II to be the most ambitious structure ever built in Morocco. It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau who had lived in Morocco, and was constructed by the civil engineering group Bouygues. Work commenced on July 12, 1986, and was conducted over a seven-year period. Construction was scheduled to be completed in 1989 ready for Hassan II's 60th birthday. During the most intense period of construction, 1400 men worked during the day and another 1100 during the night. 10,000 artists and craftsmen participated in building and beautifying the mosque. However, the building was not completed on schedule which delayed inauguration. The formal inauguration was subsequently chosen to be the 11th Rabi' al-thani of the year 1414 of the Hegira, corresponding to 30 August 1993, which also marked the eve of the anniversary of Prophet Muhammad’s birth. It was dedicated to the Sovereign of Morocco.
Again, the Mosque was wonderful, everything around it, not so much! With the sun beginning to set, Bone remembered the warnings from anyone he talked to about not being out at night, he started back to the Hotel
The Infidel, returning to the Hotel!!
On the way back Bone viscerally realized he wasn't in Kansas with Toto ,,,,, there was a Bill Board with a nice mordern-looking Muslim Family and a mean looking Middle-Ages, White, Christian (a cross on his armor) Knight from the Crusades. It was a commercial for al-jezeera, the Arabic TV Network, one more reason to not be caught out after dark!!!
Fine Casa Blanca Accommodations !
By now, Bone was starved, he hadn't eaten since the night before on the lousy flight on Royal Air Maroc. Seeing an Italian Joint (yeah, really!) he supped on what turned out to be a pretty good Osso Buco and a few cold Stella's.
"Meechigan in Casablanca!"
After Dinner Bone was shocked to notice that RIGHT across the street where he was having Dinner was Cafe Meeechigan ! Was it irony ? Or Fate?
Anyways, now being fed with a few brews had made Bone might tired from his earlier 14 hour ordeal. He chose to cash it in early (an uncharacteristic 9:00 PM) in order to be ready for his Bro the next day and Crusade into Marrakesh!!!