Play It, Sam

After a leisurely walk through the Roman ruins in Rabat, my friend and I sat at an outdoor café for tea and pastries while watching a tour group of German senior citizens.


We took a walk, during which I bought low-resolution postcards that my friend informed me were the norm.


Then it was back to Casablanca.


The previous night we had cozied up and watched “Casablanca,” the classic black and white American film from the early 1940s starring Humphrey Bogart, who plays Rick, and Ingrid Bergman, who is Ilsa. Bergman’s character was a bit helpless for our taste but most likely a product of the time. At one point she tells Rick that he has to do the thinking for both of them.

The displeased taxi driver my friend and I encountered the prior night must have assumed that we modeled our mentalities after Ilsa when he acted like he knew what was best for us (i.e. taking his expensive ride instead of approaching one of his competitors).

Our mini film screening was in preparation for my introduction to Casablanca’s other tourist destination (the first being the mosque): Rick’s Café. An American expat modeled this restaurant after the one of the same name in the film.

I had mixed impressions of Rick’s Café. Aesthetically pleasing and possessing a classy air, it at the same time felt unreal, kind of like Disney World. There was a feeling of being in what a one might imagine a Moroccan restaurant to be that left me feeling unsure if it was. Analysis aside, its interior décor was pretty and artfully done, and I definitely enjoyed taking in the live music, colorful filtered light, and chatter around us. “Casablanca” in color: what a treat.



8 thoughts on “Play It, Sam

  1. How cool that they have a Rick’s and even cooler that you went. Even if it is a bit campy, I’m sure it was fun. I wonder how many times the bartenders there have heard “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine…”

  2. Never heard of Rick’s Café! I don’t remember watching Casablanca either… My cinematographic culture is rather lame, although I’ve heard of the movie and I know what it’s about. I’m not sure how I feel about visiting places that were in movies. Part of me feels uneasy about it… as if these idyllic on-screen places could disappoint in real life.

    • Oh, believe me, that was my first time watching “Casablanca!” Indoor spaces in real life always seem smaller than in movies. In this case, there is also the fact that the movie is black and white and real life is color.

  3. I often struggle with tourist destinations that seem artificial or inauthentic (see: the millions of reconstructed buildings in Europe), but I think sometimes if you take them as they are, they can be rewarding in their own way. The café looks cute at any rate!

    • Moroccan lamps are something! If I had a lot of money and an easy way to transport them, I might have brought back a colorful lamp and rug from Casablanca. It’s only in looking at my pictures of Rick’s Cafe that I realize I took more of the lighting than the tables. I’m glad you appreciate it too.

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