AM774 . Bruce in Beijing

Of all the Gin Joints in all the world you had to come into this one!

2014-05-20 15:37:37

Casablanca film poster

Camels in desert - Morocco

Casablanca skyline

Marrakesh - water seller in market

Marrakesh central square and mosque

Rabat harbour

There are Hollywood films, no matter how old they are, that remain the finest movies of all time. ‘Casablanca’ shot in 1942, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is still the greatest ever romantic thriller. Music including ‘As Time Goes By’ is immortal and lines such as ‘Here’s looking at you kid’ are simply unforgettable. More recently Bertie Higgins sang the popular song ‘Casablanca’ based around love with backdrops from that black-and-white film. Many people have images of Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco based on what they saw in the movie – which was actually produced on a set created in Hollywood.


Today we meet a young Moroccan, Badr Benjelloun, living in Beijing and proprietor of the cosy ‘Cuju’ café bar located in a hutong between Beixinqiao and Zhangzizhong Lu. Badr talks of his homeland and of his city, Casablanca, where recently a replica of ‘Rick’s Café’ immortalised by the film, opened up.


To discover what many travellers feel is the real magic of Morocco an overland journey to fabled Marrakesh is necessary. That walled city lies at the northern end of former camel caravan trade routes across the Sahara Desert. With a backdrop of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains its location is simply stunning. Life in the Old City has changed little from its days as one of North Africa’s greatest trading cities.