Last night I went to a Moroccan wedding reception here at the hotel. Nourandine, a front desk manager, invited me to his cousins’ festivities. When I got there after work at about midnight, the party was just beginning as the bride was being carried abound the room on an ornate elevated platform accompanied by the sounds of a raucous traditional sounding band consisting of long brass horns and drums.
It’s getting a little more comfortable playing at the Casablanca Bar at the Hyatt Hotel. As Time Goes By, “The Song,” gets played every night. I went out Friday to the marketplace in the old walled section of Casablanca—it’s nearby, almost across the street from the Hotel. I was looking for an electric coffee maker for my room.
The first thing that hit me was that the signs, as well as the conversations I heard, were in French and Arabic—no English!—at the airport. The desert landscape outside the city reminded me of Arizona more than Illinois. There is a third-world feeling. At the hotel, the check-in was easy and most of the staff speaks some English. Lynn Hilton, the piano player who referred me to this gig, showed me around.
As a musician, receiving a tip of five 20s is nice, but there’s something special about finding a $100 bill in your tip jar. Sometimes it is to request a special song, or sometimes I’m asked to play longer. The most fun is to have a $100 bill in your tip jar at the end of the gig and not know where it came from!