Airport thoughts on golf & travel in Morocco and the Hassan II Trophy in Rabat
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – As I often do whenever my layover allows, here is another installment of “Airport Thoughts", where I serve up a few closing opines on a recently completed trip. This time, I come from JFK airport after spending six days in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, for the King Hassan II Trophy, won by Ernie Els Sunday.
I’ve never been on a trip quite like Morocco.
- First of all, I must say I am always happy to return to America after spending time abroad. That said, I just had a rude awakening here in the JFK lounge: my coffee is terrible. Compared to the cocoa deliciousness I’ve been sipping the past week in hotels, restaurants and even the tournament media tent, this is weak and tastes like gutter water. For being a nation of bountiful resources, America’s standards for what makes an acceptable brew is sorely underachieving.
- Earlier this week, I wrote a little bit about Royal Dar es Salam’s Red Course. It’s the best 18 of 45 holes at the Golf Club, and it’s quite good. I likened it to the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach for it’s RTJ Sr. design and terrain that resembles the lowcountry a little. However, I just discovered the Red Course asks 45 Euros to walk 18 holes. That’s a steal for a course that I think could ask $150 in the peak season easily in Myrtle Beach. That said, the Dunes Club’s bent grass greens are far superior.
- At the golf tournament this week, spectator dress was something to watch in itself. Fans wore everything from traditional Moroccan dresses that covered women from head to toe - to younger, more liberal women strutting around the course in high-healed boots, big sun glasses, designer jeans and huge Dolce & Gabana purses. Many of the men were in pinstriped suits or in flashy shirts you might wear to a David Guetta concert in Ibiza. I’ve never seen so many designer jeans at a golf event.
- During a tour of Rabat’s historic Kasbah district, which feels kind of like the narrow, blue and white-walled streets of Mykonos, our tour guide asked us if we had tried any “Moroccan whiskey” yet. Morocco makes whiskey?
He replied, “Moroccan whiskey is ‘mint tea’.”
It’s also fantastic. They brew a delicious tea and they drink it everywhere. They’re also hooked on Coca-Cola. At a formal gala dinner earlier in the week, waiters were walking around topping off everyone’s wine glasses with Coke.
- The Caribbean has stray island dogs everywhere. In Rabat, there are stray cats (and kittens). They wander around tourist districts, open markets and restaurants. We were eating outside our last night there, and a black one leaped out of the bushes and breezed right by our host’s head, startling her dearly.
- I always thought the craziest driving I’ve ever seen is in Rome. Rabat however, has taken it’s place. We passed our share of collisions during our stay there and narrowly dodged a few of our own (and I’m still speechless after seeing several motorcycles that squeeze both mom, dad and a safety belt and helmet-less infant baby in between them. Are there no lawyers in Morocco?). We went out with a young woman our last night there who ran red lights and stop signs, would go in reverse down roads, pass other cars by weaving in between oncoming traffic and perform enough other stunts to make one of the passengers cry. My own heart beat hasn’t raced that fast since I had my first slow dance in 6th grade. I’m told Rabat is tame compared to Casablanca.
I should also mention the car was a tiny old clunker from the 1970s. Thankfully the brakes were in tip-top shape, reliable enough the driver passed on her safety belt. “I know my car, I know the roads, and I know my fellow Moroccan drivers” she assured us. It sounded a lot like the Italian cabbies who defended their insane driving by saying “The gods watch over us in the Eternal City.”
There is plenty more to say on golf and Morocco. Stay tuned next week to Dave Berner’s This Week Podcast on TravelGolf.com as we’ll chat about it. And check back in for articles and photos from the trip here at WorldGolf.com.
|« With PGA Tour out of the way, Walt Disney World's four golf courses shine||Big Ticket Ernie Els brings home the King Hassan II Trophy in Morocco »|
welcome to morocco
how are you ?
so maybe if you are intersing to visite morocco , welcomen we show you or country.
Comments are closed for this post.