STRASSER: Mademoiselle, after this disturbance it is not safe for Laszlo to stay in Casablanca.
ILSA: This morning you implied it was not safe for him to leave Casablanca.
STRASSER: That is also true, except for one destination...
(From Casablanca, the movie...)
Ever since I have been here (almost 2 months now) locals have been telling me that at a certain point you "really need to get out of Casablanca to survive"...
Several Moroccans I know regularly "flee" the city and go for weekends to Spain, Marrakech - or 'Kech as they say - and seem to revive there for a couple of days and then get back to the Casablanca they love.
Why leave a city with such diversity where every day of the week there are things to do ? Bars, cafes and shops are open seven days a week and I have the impression that there's always something to do.
Recently a very dear friend of mine (Casaouia at heart) used this beautiful description of the city - she called it "a beautiful ogra". I understood immediately what she meant.
A city can be a fascinating environment, full of energy and impulses. God knows I love Brussels for exactly that. At the same time it can drain you, enthral you and even make you hooked on those same impulses.
Yesterday I discovered how leaving the city for just one day can re-invigorate you, sooth your mind and center yourself again.
In the pouring rain we drove just 25 minutes South of Casablanca along the coast and settled in Dar Bouazza, a small village with just a couple of development projects, a small fishing village and three beach restaurants.
It was windy, the Ocean was wild and white with foam and it was - for most people - probably not the best time for an escapade out of town.
Then again, my friend and I are not "most people" and we persevered - even having a walk on the beach and getting covered by salt water from what she called "a wave"*.
We had a nice paella, a bottle of wine and huddled around the open fire helping two wonderful local kids with their crayons and drawings. The kind of cocooning near an ocean shore that truly brings calm and serenity.
This one day experience made me understand what fleeing the city is all about; taking a deep breath and enjoying the simple things in life. We all need this from time to time and it is not in a bubbling city - how beautiful an ogra she can be - that will make this possible.
Still, while the location and the environment are important to "get away from it all", I am convinced that wherever you are and how beautiful the surroundings might be, the company you're with makes all the difference.
*for the Mariners reading this, it was the end of a spilling breaker ;-)