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#1StudentNWI: A peak outside Northwest Indiana

Badreddine Bouzeraa
By: Badreddine Bouzeraa Last Updated: August 16, 2022

Imagine yourself in a modern 20th-century city. You are surrounded by several Arabic speakers all haggling for the right price for leather jackets and boots.

You see women on the streets offer henna services and men offering gold necklaces and rings in a bazaar a few feet from you. You inhale a deep breath, mixed with the saltiness of the sea tinged with the smell of herbal teas and spices.

Welcome to Casablanca, Morocco.

This is where the journey begins in the great country of Morocco. And luckily, Casablanca is the heart of the nation.

Most tourists begin their Moroccan adventure here, since it is the city with the biggest airport, as well as the city with the second largest functioning mosque in Africa and the largest functioning mall in Africa.

Taking a taxi is the most common form of travel in this country. There are two types of taxis. Red ones that take you around the city, and white ones that take you to different cities.

Most tourists decide to first head to hotels by calling a red taxi. The hotel's name is Hotel Azur, located near the Morocco Mall in the town of Ain Diab.

The town is beautiful with vibrant pink flower bushes and palm trees that soar to the sky. Beautiful Moroccan Villas decorated with decadent mosaics litter the town while tourists peak out of the hotel window.

The Ain Diab beach is near the hotel and it is normal for sightseers to exclaim in earnest excitement about the wonderful view of the sunset. Typically, most tourists end up taking pictures near the beach and then taking a direct taxi to the Morocco Mall.

The Morocco Mall is one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces of the modern age. Inside the mall is a spherical building with an IMAX inside of it. Before you enter the Morocco Mall, there's security that must check any bags that you want to bring inside.

The interior of the Mall is just as beautiful as the exterior. In the heart of the mall sits a giant aquarium with sharks, tropical fish, seaweed, urchins, and more aquatic creatures.

Once a month, lucky visitors get a chance to potentially go underneath the aquarium and touch the fish.

Along with a beautiful aquatic exhibit, the mall also has fabulous foreign stores, as well as familiar ones. Bershka is a popular clothing store with several unique styles ranging from adult clothes to young adult clothes.

Another popular store inside the mall includes Nike. The lines are always long inside the store and you can always find at least one English speaker available to help, along with amazing sports clothes.

The mall has four separate floors, with the first three floors all being unique stores and exhibits. The fourth floor, the top most floor, is the area solely dedicated to food and snacks.

Along with the western world's most popular fast food restaurants, Morocco Mall has unique options available for hungry visitors.

One such option is Tacos de Lyon. Moroccan tacos are not the normal tacos we are used to in North America. The tacos in the African country are square-like burritos with Algerian sauce, fries, and your choice of meat inside of it.

Tacos de Lyon also offers amazing spinoffs on American styles of food, such as beef hot dogs, lamb sandwiches, and panini sandwiches.

Behind the mall are several pubs, more restaurants, and even cafes and a park. At night there is a water show with water spews that change colors and play music.

Couples walk around said park and converse, while families and their kids play soccer on the neighboring field. Students come to drink coffee and finish any projects or assignments that are due, and visitors pose in front of the beautiful garden and take pictures.

This is the wondrous Morocco Mall.

Two hours away from the Morocco Mall is the beautiful Mosque of Hassan II. This mosque is the second biggest mosque in all of Africa, with thousands of visitors and religious pilgrims constantly entering and exiting.

Right across from the mosque sits a cafe and a restaurant called Le Gatsby. This five-star eatery is decorated with a red carpet, beautiful glass windows, and European decor.

Meanwhile, in Rabat, which is Morocco’s capital, the old historical castle and buildings are a sight to behold.

Thousands of years have passed since the castle walls were used for war, and canons can still be seen perched on the windows.

A few thousand feet from the castle walls of Rabat lay the old bazaars. These bazaars sell things from old bone flutes and bone decor to new clothes and gold necklaces.

Near these bazaars sits Espace De L’Artisan, which is a museum of artisan crafts that date back to the very first Berber people of Morocco.

In this museum, visitors can purchase said artisan crafts for high prices, as well as learn the history behind them.

A bit north of Morocco also sits Talambote, a charming area of mountains, hills, waterfalls, and shops.

In this small area, travelers can expect to find thousands of tourists flocking to the waterfall surrounded by pink flowers and rocks.

A few 10s of miles away sits the beautiful city of Tetouan. This city is surrounded by a beautiful ocean and is regarded as one of the leading cities that cook astounding kinds of fish dishes.

In the city of Tetouan, L’Orizon is just one beautiful restaurant that sits in the middle of the ocean. Customers here can purchase different kinds of sushi, aquatic life, and sea greenery and watch them be made into dishes.

An hour and a half away from Tetouan sits Tangier, a humid but technologically advanced city surrounded by mountains. Near Tangier are the Caves of Hercules.

The Caves of Hercules are a featured tourist attraction where visitors can explore underground caverns and caves where people claim Hercules would rest after finishing his famous labors.

Near the Caves of Hercules is also a gift shop with extraordinary statues, decor, and music. People can purchase Hercules necklaces, charms, statues, and more.

Morocco has so much more to offer than these five cities, and describing them is not the same as experiencing them.

Simply explaining the beauty of Morocco and what it all has to offer does no justice to this remarkable country.

The people are kind, charming, intelligent, and adventurous. Regardless of wherever you eat or stay or visit, you’re bound to find at least one English speaker who’s more than willing to assist you.

Best of all, Moroccan citizens love to explain to tourists the history of their country.

Getting the chance to visit Morocco was truly a mind-opening experience for me, and I would recommend anyone to visit it at least once in their lifetime.

The food is out of this world, and the culture is a rich and deep rabbit hole of research that leads to even more culture.

So why not take a little peak outside of Northwest Indiana, and open your eyes to the marvelous nation of Morocco?