AFRICA MISSION: Visiting Morocco

From July 31, 2023 until August 11, 2023, city of North Miami officials joined others from Miami-Dade County, North Lauderdale, and Miramar for a trade and economic mission to Africa.  We visited six nations in twelve days.  The pace was exhausting but the experience was unforgettable.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting on social media about our experiences.  If you don’t already follow me on Facebook, please do.  That’s where I’ll post the majority of information.  But you can also find details here, as well as on Instagram, Twitter (X), and Threads.  The journey began in Morocco, where we landed at the airport in Casablanca on Monday, July 31, 2023. It was just a short layover. In my photos, I’ll try to capture things of interest. That will include things like airports and food, too. My plan is to post every 48 hours about things we saw in the six countries we stopped in. The mission focused on trade, tourism, and cultural exchange. There’s so much to tell you about!

I gasped as I first caught sight of the African coastline. This was my first trip off the North American continent. Our flight across the Atlantic took place in the dark of night. As the sun arose, the shoreline simultaneously came into view. We disembarked the flight in Casablanca the old-fashioned way: walking down to the tarmac via a set of stairs.  Each airport we were to visit had its own level of modernness.  But we were only in Morocco for a few hours.  The Gambia was our final destination for the day.  But since we had about eight hours to work with, we grabbed our belongings and headed into the city.

Inside the baggage area was a prominent painting of King Mohammed VI. It was interesting to learn about the government structures of each nation we visited. Obviously, not all were democracies. Once one picks up their luggage, you meet your friends and family on the exterior. Several of my photos will come from the inside of a van. We were often in a rush from location to location. Many of my photos from Casablanca were from the inside of a van (again, please follow me on Facebook for greater detail). We were on our way to a hotel where we could quickly, shower, change clothes, and maybe catch a nap before heading for The Gambia, our final destination for the day.

At our temporary hotel check-in, I was glad to learn staff spoke English.  We grabbed a quick buffet lunch.  After showering, I walked around the hotel outskirts.  I had planned to have a coffee at a local spot, but realized I didn’t have Moroccan currency.  I headed back to the hotel lobby where several of our party enjoyed fantastic hot mint tea.  I’d never tasted such delicious tea.  And its presentation was amazing.  Our server poured it from a silver teapot, adding the flourish of pouring it into our glasses at a height of about twelve inches.  We enjoyed some pastries from a local shop.

Many of you know that I own several cats.  So I was excited to see a few around the hotel.  I thought it was sweet that a kitty was hanging out at the front door. Then I realized it was there hoping for food. It was heartbreaking to see these street cats need to scramble for their next meal.

Before long, it was time to head back to the airport for our next stop:  The Gambia.