I recently voyaged to Morocco – partly for pleasure, partly for business. After a few days being spoiled in Barcelona, we jumped on a short flight to Casablanca – our headquarters for the next week. Casablanca is an interesting city – as the most populous city in Morocco, you truly see the full spectrum of existence.
Range Rovers populate the streets, as they pass by homeless camps. Tall modern buildings sit in encompassing juxtaposition to traditional architecture, and their ruins. Young men and women dressed as young men and women dress walk hand-in-hand with parents and grandparents robed in traditional garb. Passerby are asked questions in Arabic, and respond in French.
All about the region you find an encouraging balance – of wealth distribution, of religion, of traditional values and norms. As an outsider, it was somewhat jarring, but refreshing, to see this version of harmony. I may be speaking beyond my abilities, but the intriguing thing to me was the balance seems to just exist – nothing about it felt forced or pressured.
Morocco is a largely Muslim kingdom that – perhaps due to its nomadic roots – has been able to establish itself as an area of coexistence among Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. And as an outsider, to see the seemingly effortless way in which everybody interacts showed hope, especially in the face of so many other negative newsworthy mentions of Islamic nations.
Food in Morocco
When we arrived in Casablanca, our friend and host took us to a small beach stand where we indulged in freshly cooked bread, a Moroccan salad (think bruschetta, with cumin), and grilled sardines. An absolutely delightful way to be welcomed into a country. From there, the food only got better.
I tend to hate when people take too many food photos (thanks, Facebook!), but looking back, I wish I would have captured all the delicious food we enjoyed. When I travel, I tend to eat my way through a city.
It’s Just a Casablanca Thing
Business in Morocco
While in Morocco, we met with AmCham (the American-Morocco Chamber of Commerce), the Moroccan U.S. Consulate, the HEM Business School (which has campuses in Rabat, Tangier, Marrakesh, and other Moroccan cities), and some small business owners.
While meeting with HEM, we met with two classes of MBA students and introduced them to the Virtual Internship Program (VIP) my partner, Leah Goold-Haws, has ideated, developed, and successfully launched in a few different countries. We also talked about Know Opportunity™, the global entrepreneurship program we developed.
Needless to say, conducting business in Morocco seemed pretty easy to get rolling. The people were all friendly, welcoming, and open to collaboration.
Three Days in Marrakesh
We spent a few nights in Marrakech, right in the heart of the medina. The time there was spent doing what people in Marrakesh do – touristy things. We were able to see Jardin Marjorelle, the late Yves Saint Lauret’s prized possession. Simply put, it was beautifully serene and stunning.