CHRIS ALLEN: Morocco Journal — What Is Morocco?

Morocco is the home of Casablanca, the largest city in the country, and the setting for the greatest movie of all time (not one frame of which was actually shot there because the world was having a war at the time).

It is a Muslim-majority country with pockets of Christians and an ever-dwindling population of Jews.

It is a kingdom tempered by a constitutional parliament.

It is a place where Arabic is liberally sprinkled with French, its one-time colonizer, making its dialect almost impossible for other Arab speakers to understand if the conversation is between two Moroccans.

It is a country of coastline along the eastern Atlantic Ocean curving to join the Mediterranean Sea, a doorway to the vast and mysterious Sahara Desert, and a spine of mountains dividing the country.

Morocco is firmly placed in North Africa, yet considered Arabic, and lumped into what is reduced to MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

All these things one can learn from web pages, surfing from one’s work desk while trying to avoid work or from the living room when there’s nothing good on TV, now that GoT is over.

Morocco has long been a place I’ve wanted to visit. My imagination was fueled by images of Sidney Greenstreet swatting flies at the Blue Parrot while Humphrey Bogart negotiated a shipment of whiskey, and which I know does not and probably never did exist. Who cares? It made me want to visit Morocco, and now I’m going to.

What is Morocco beyond the Internet?

I’ll tell you as I find out.

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