- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"A-mock, car-rock, a-loc," one of them said, still smiling.
"Car-rock you," I said, and sped away.
Later on, in a square named the Djemaa-el-Fna, I found their mates.
Like 50,000 other people, I had been milling around the Djemaa-el-Fna, looking for the missing letters in the name and observing fortune-tellers, magicians, medicine men, gamblers, acrobats, Saharan dancers, donkeys, camels, children sitting and listening to story tellers and vendors cooking snails and sausages, when an Arab tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed to a carpet spread out on the dirt and to a basket turned upside down.
"Hmmm," I said. "Beeg black cobra? One dollar American?"
The Arab grinned delightedly, lifted up the basket and out he came, King S, to rear up, swell up and do his thing. And then out from under the carpet came another. Terrific.
"That's great," I said, putting a dollar in his hand. "Now do you happen to have a magic carpet to get me back to America?"
Like every other place on the globe, Marrakesh is finding itself being modernized. Only two blocks away from the Mamounia Hotel, a mammoth place of elegance and gardens said to have been Winston Churchill's favorite, is a Holiday Inn and a friendly neighborhood Avis office where a cute Arab attendant wore a miniskirt as short as any on a cocktail waitress along the Sunset Strip. Sadly, one thing is unavoidable in Marrakesh. You can't sit in a hotel lobby having your mint tea without overhearing an American in a summer sport shirt reaching to his navel, crepe-soled shoes and a Midwestern accent telling a Frenchman about his fun-filled days at the University of Ohio and what a damn hard time he was going to have trying to fit three son-in-laws into his roofing company back home.
The best golf course in Morocco for anyone, king or peasant—at least the best until Robert Trent Jones gets finished with all of the complexes he's designing in Marrakesh, Rabat and Agadir—lies about 40 minutes north of Casablanca, on the Atlantic. Royal Golf de Mohammedia, it is called. The resort town is Mohammedia, naturally. A couple of large luxury hotels sprawl on the beach, and there is a yacht basin, but the main attraction appears to be the golf club. The course is flat but heavily wooded and quite scenic along the bay, where the 9th and 18th fairways lie adjacent to the water. (In Casablanca proper there is another course to which the tourist has entree, but the serious golfer would be just as well off hitting a few chip shots in a public park. This is the Royal Golf d'Anfa, a nine-hole layout inside a small racetrack.)
But Casablanca had far more mystery when it was situated on Warner's back lot than it seems to have today. I couldn't find Rick's Café American or Ingrid Bergman or anybody.