A Trip to Casablanca: Spontaneity v Structure (Part 1)

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The first thing that I look for is the quality of car. If it a brand name, smart and shiny then I feel safe. If it is a broken down old rust bucket then I panic. If the car doesn’t have a taxi sign, and yet sits in the rank looking like an imposter, I feel even worse. I showed the universe my greatest piece of pessimism and it repaid the favour by giving me exactly what I visualised.

So Liza and I hop into the old rust bucket that is conveniently missing a taxi sign. The driver tells us that the journey will take 40-minutes and that it will cost 300 Dirham (or around £21). We are in Casablanca, where we have decided to stay for the evening before traveling to the Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort where I will be working as a reporter at the World Poker Tour (WPT) event. I have no idea where we are going, because I asked Liza to arrange the hotel. I hate arranging hotels.

There is no seatbelt and the car smells of urine. The Moroccan way of driving never ceases to amaze me. They have painted lines along the middle of the road and a few traffic lights in place. But I have no idea why they bother. Cars regularly drive in the middle of the road even when there are no other cars anywhere near the vicinity. It’s as if they cannot see the white lines. Coke addicts should ask them how they do it? They drive within inches of each other. They believe that by beeping their horns regularly the other cars will move. They can’t move. Everyone is inches away from everyone. All of the blowing is for naught. But blow they do. The roads are chocked full of motorcycles, bikes and every few minutes children appear from nowhere and dart in between the traffic. I assume there is anarchy because everyone is trying to get somewhere fast. If they just paid attention to the lines. If they just followed the protocol, and chilled the f**k out, everyone would get where they wanted to go much quicker.

Forty-minutes later we arrive out our destination. I don’t know if it the stress of the drive but I have managed to upset Liza. The natural defences that males possess, once again turning an innocent conversation into an argument. It seems we have the same problem with our communication with women as Moroccan’s have for staying on the right side of the road.

We get out of the taxi, pay the man his 300 Dirham and start to think, “This doesn’t look like a hotel.” But I do what I always do. I do nothing. The taxi driver leaves and I hope and pray that he hasn’t just ditched us in the middle of the roughest part of Casablanca. I start to worry that I am going to die. This is what I do. I worry about the unknown. It fills me with dread. I want to choose safety, security and normality. I don’t like fear, intrepidation and being dumped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but my girlfriend’s Thai Boxing lessons for company.

I look across the street and a pair of teenagers, who have been hanging around by the wall, flick their spliff’s on the floor and start walking towards us. From behind I hear the sound of metal grating. I turn around and suddenly the gate opens and out steps the scariest man I have ever seen in my life.

To be Continued….

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