On our last day of Darija bootcamp, our teacher took us to a cafe. There was one small catch: If you speak any English or French with the waiter, you pay! Thankfully, we’ve been working hard, and we all succeeded in ordering our coffee.
It’s interesting to compare cafe and restaurant culture between Morocco and the United States. In the U.S., going out to eat is common and there are restaurants everywhere. Going to a coffee shop to sit leisurely sipping a café au lait and chatting with friends is not so common, except in hip neighborhoods in cities. When we go out to get coffee, we get it in styrofoam to-go cups and rush out the door to carry on with our busy lives. In Morocco, it’s the other way around. Moroccans don’t eat out very often. But they do spend a lot of time in cafes, and there are cafes everywhere!
The downside- for me, a girl who loves her some coffee shops- is that in Morocco, cafes are a man’s scene. When I walk by a typical Moroccan cafe, I see men men men everywhere, and usually no women. But thankfully, this is changing! In Morocco’s big, less conservative cities, there are now many cafes where a woman can feel comfortable going alone, and even in the small city where I’ll be living there are a few.