STEF’S LIST: Having just returned to Morocco from our winter holidays in Canada, we have both been quick to notice the differences between these two countries. Naturally, there are things we like and dislike about both. So we thought we’d each make a list of 5 things we will miss about Canada and 5 things we’re looking forward to in Morocco. Who doesn’t like lists?!
5 Things I will miss about Canada
1. Wearing what I want – Morocco is quite liberal for a Muslim country, but maybe that isn’t saying much in terms of clothing. I can wear what I want but I don’t because it would draw unwanted attention and cause me trouble. No head covering though; very few girls actually wear hjabs in the city.
2. Customer service – I appreciate this greatly because I have experienced such poor (or nonexistent) service in other countries, like Morocco. Just trying to get someone to talk to you on the phone is a production. I have been hung up on before.
3. Live music – Maybe the best thing about living in or near Toronto is that every band seems to play there. Casablanca is not exactly a music mecca. Unfortunately for me, the majority of people don’t have an appreciate for the type of music I like.
4. Asian food – My favourite cuisine has not been perfected here. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet. Asian food (in Canada) makes is super easy to eat vegetarian at restaurants, so I will definitely miss that.
5. Heating/air conditioning – Houses are generally not insulated here so if it’s in the single digits at night, it’s cold inside. I can only imagine how hot summers get. I love the heat, but not I’m not crazy about it indoors in the summer.
5 Things I am looking forward to in Morocco
1. The weather – A comfortable 18 degrees for January daytime temperatures (in Casablanca) would be unheard of in Canada. It’s not meant to get any colder than that either. Is it too much to hope for beach weather in late March?
2. Cheap taxis – Pretty much never more than $3 if the driver runs the meter. It depends a lot on the driver and if they think you’re a tourist. Also, at night they charge a lot more. The prices vary greatly, but they even out to something very reasonable.
3. The markets – Fresh and amazing fruits and veggies, and everything else you can imagine (food and otherwise). I’m still impressed with how far money goes when buying produce at markets. Also, we found the best second hand clothing while we were living in Ifrane and I’m excited to see what we can find here in Casablanca. All the good stuff comes from Spain, France and Italy and doesn’t get picked over.
4. Traveling – There are so many things to see in Morocco, and the cities are usually quite different from each other. Tangier in the North, the two Spanish cities Ceuta and Melilla, Ouarzazate in the south, the Sahara desert and so on…and as I mentioned before, traveling around Morocco is incredibly affordable.
5. Complimentary Olives – Most restaurants provide free olives with meals and the better the restaurant, the nicer the olives. The best ones melt off the pit, are a bit spicy, meaty and sweet but not too salty. Mmmmm. I’m becoming an olive connoisseur.
MATT’S LIST: As stated there are positive and negative sides to both countries as there are in life. Just like the way the brain works in measuring differences between signals and determining wether one experiences pain or pleasure there is no good without the bad. For the sake of optimism this list is mostly positive.
5 Things I will miss about being in Canada
1. Pale Ales – I am a Beer snob, simply put. Wether it’s Muskoka breweries Mad Tom IPA or a Mill Streets Tankhouse, I love good beer. Any Pale Ales with a super hoppy finish is great for me. While beer here is refreshing on a hot day it lacks any depth of character. Think drinking MGD all day long. Starts to taste like water.
2. Pork – I don’t mind dining on some swine. In any form, cured, smoked, fried or roasted, pork is great (let’s not forget Canadian bacon). Being in a Muslim country pork is a no-no and virtually no existent. While you can find it, the quality is poor and usually freezer burnt having travelled pretty far.
3. Smoke Free Zones – While I do love the atmosphere of walking into a smoky dive where your neighbour is almost a ghost, the same allure does not apply to restaurants. Being a non-smoker (of cigarettes) I can’t stress enough how much a good meal can take a nose dive due to your neighbour chain smoking beside you
4. Green Space – There is some beautiful scenery in Morocco no doubt, but anybody who knows me knows I love to lay in the park, preferably under giant weeping willows or old shady oaks. A naturally thick turf of green grass had no alternative.
5. Jamming – Doesn’t matter where I seem to go, everybody plays guitar. I love the abundance of musicians and people enthusiastic about playing it. Although music is a big part of culture here, I have a soft spot for some old time Rock n’ Roll.
5 things I am looking forward to in Morocco
1. Water- Bottled water in Morocco is not only affordable but delicious. A litre and a half of water is never more than 50 cents. None of this 3.50 for a bottle of water from the swiss alps. You know what taste better than water imported from Fiji? Not spending 4 bucks on three mouthfuls of it.
2. Free Food – Just like in the south of spain every drink comes with free food. Sometimes just potato salad, or a plate of olives and cucumbers to a platter of fried fish that you would actually consider to be a meal in any Irish pub at home. Order more than 2 beers and generally you will have an endless supply of munchies gratis
3. Everything is for Sale – See a nice watch on the Taxi driver? It has a price. Want a pet puppy? You can buy it at the side of the road. Need a personal masseuse? It just so happens that the cleaning lady/cook is one.
4. Street Vendors – You can buy anything, and I mean anything at any time of day on the side of the road. From Apples, to half a cow, to a kilo of olives and and Iphone5. Sometimes all from the same person. There are people walking around with teapots with coals strapped to the bottom on every corner ready to serve you a hot cup just in case you need a quick jolt of caffeine. I really cannot stress how available everything is all the time.
5. Meat – The quality of meat is amazing. None of this pre-packaged, flash frozen 7 dollars for some chicken breasts stuff. I can buy a whole chicken, feathers and all for 3 dollars (although I prefer to have it already slaughtered). With a half cow hanging from the local butcher on EVERY street, just point to the part of beef you want and a Striploin roast is a walk away.