Walking toward the ocean, you pass the 12th century unfinished Hassan tower next to the gleaming mausoleum of the current king’s grandfather before reaching the white-and-blue Kasbah des Oudayas. High on a cliff over the Atlantic, encircled by medieval walls and palm trees, it’s the postcard shot of Rabat.
In its comparatively compact, linear medina, I spent one evening watching generations of women literally let down their hair — veils removed — to cook couscous and bake almond pastries as a TV soap opera blared in the house’s central courtyard.
In a busy cafe near the French colonial Ville Nouvelle neighborhood, I shared chocolate pastries, smoothies and Cokes with female Moroccan students working on a documentary about sexual harassment.
One of them was getting ready to travel alone — to study in China.