The Breast Dinner I’ve Ever Had At A Hotel

I’ve been enjoying my time in Casablanca so far, and the city has exceeded my expectations. Most people I know who had visited Casablanca said it was a dump, while I’ve heard Marrakech is more interesting. I’ve found Casablanca to be quite interesting (not that I’d choose it as a vacation destination, but given that there are cheap business class fares published out of here, I could see myself returning).

Matthew and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Casablanca last night, which was nicer than I was expecting.

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After doing some sightseeing earlier in the day, we had dinner at the Moroccan restaurant at the Hyatt, Dar Beida, which was incredible. It had traditional Moroccan decor, and the food was fantastic.

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Oh, one more detail — we were the only people at the restaurant. Literally. The restaurant was big, but there were no other guests.

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There was live entertainment, and at first there was just one guy playing music. Okay, I thought it was a bit awkward that he was playing just for us, but it added to the atmosphere.

Then they brought out a six person band. Okay, now this is really awkward.

Then they brought out a belly dancer, which is where things got really really awkward.

She was very attractive, and was wearing a very skimpy outfit (even more so than I’ve usually found to be the case with belly dancers… not that I have that much experience, other than at a few restaurants). While I don’t have much experience in this department, I imagine her bra was a couple of sizes too small. She had more assets than the national bank of Qatar.

It’s a bit awkward when someone is dancing just for you, so I asked Matthew “are we supposed to just look at her the whole time, or would she be offended if we go about our business as usual? And if we keep looking at her, wouldn’t that seem creepy?”

She danced to a couple of songs, and we were always hoping it would be the last one. Not because we didn’t appreciate the dancing as such, but just because it’s awkward as hell when you have someone dancing just for you (unless you’re paying by the minute, in which case I suppose that’s how it works).

Then she came over to our table and started dancing right in front of us. She was maybe 3-4 feet from us. She’d intentionally shake her chest and sort of bend over. It was the closest thing I’ve experienced to getting a lap dance. It was awkward as hell (have I mentioned that yet?). Was she trying to solicit tips? If so, did she want us to slip money in her bra, or…?

Was I supposed to stare at her, or could I just look away? I had the hardest time not cracking up, to be honest. I don’t know if it was more awkward for me, or Matthew, who is straight and has a wife.

I realize that belly dancing as such is part of the culture, but this was unlike any belly dancing I’ve experienced before. For that matter, I really don’t get how such dancing is part of a culture in a country that’s 99% Muslim. How does a belly dancer wearing almost nothing and literally shaking her breasts a few feet from my face conform to the concept of “modesty” for women?

Anyway, I just had to share, because the whole situation was so funny and awkward. Perhaps it was one of those “you had to be there” situations.

Here’s Matthew’s slightly straighter perspective on this “incident.”

Would it have been rude to just look away, or were we supposed to stare? Is there a polite way to ask her to stop?

Comments

  1. Your meant to place money on her, but given your a jew that aint going to happen!

  2. Great post! Much better story than reading about Draymond Green posting a picture of his pecker to the world.

  3. Sounds less awkward than my Moroccan restaurant belly dancing experience in Marrakech, where she went around to each of the 3 or 4 tables that were full and pulled each of the men up to dance with her…then made our wives/girlfriends take pictures of it.

  4. “She had more assets than the national bank of Qatar’ is the best thing I’ve read today

  5. Greetings Lucky! The “Breast” Dinner you ever had? Ford will be jealous. You’ve gotta admit….this has to be one of your funniest typos. Thanks for the chuckle!

  6. Lucky, you should really consider snapchatting your trips. Would mean a lot to the fanbase. Thank you

  7. How would this experience be any more “awkward” than a dude bumping up against you while the band was playing “It’s Raining Men”?

    Expand your mind and get over yourself.

  8. Belly dancing is an integral part of Arab culture, especially in north Africa. But historically speaking, it was viewed by conservatives as a sort of debauchery and a sinful act for sinful people.

    This view still exists to this day and many conservative Arabs disapprove belly dancing and view the dancers in the same light as prostitutes. However, they still can’t do anything to stop belly dancing being synonymous with Arab culture.

    Glad you had that experience, even if you didn’t enjoy that much.

  9. I agree it’s a great post (M’s too), but I’m reading the comments to see the answers to your very good qs.
    Come on, Middle Easterners– please enlighten us!

  10. ‘Lady Carnarvon’ posts an anti-Semitic response and you don’t remove it? I am surprised.

  11. @Dom Do you get paid to be an Assh_le or does it just come naturally get over yourself last time I looked its his blog idiot. Great post Ben pretty funny!

  12. Can you promise that if I travel as much as you that I’ll have experiences like this one?!

  13. Muslim-majority countries still have their own local cultures, so you’re not going to see the exact same attitudes everywhere just because they share the same religion. Morocco is generally somewhere in the middle on the spectrum with Albania at one end and Saudi Arabia on the other.

  14. For those few who do seem to be knowledgeable, I’m curious — were they ecpected to tip? If so, how, exactly?

  15. This is too funnynow but now you really have to post the picture of the lady in question!

  16. This is a perfect example of what makes travel so gloriously enjoyable.

    @Dr George
    I have “experienced” true male belly dancers three times: twice in Cairo, and once in Amman. All three times were immensely enjoyable but the Jordanian was especially (even phenomenally) talented!

    @Aziz
    It is always a pleasure to read your thoughtful comments.

  17. Next time you go to Casablanca, be sure to visit Rick’s Cafe (as in the movie Rick’s Cafe). I had the best vegetarian dish there.

  18. They were two absolutely priceless accounts of the dinner and belly dance .I loved them both. I stayed at the Casablanca Hyatt for 3 nights last fall. The hotel staff was great. I was going to eat at the restaurant but I figured it wasn’t very good since I never saw any customers. Instead, I ventured to the fishing port and had a meal that gave me a very bad GI upset. Other than the Hyatt and a nice lunch at Rick’s Cafe, Casablanca was awful-the more touristed Moroccan cities were much more interesting to me. The “new medina” in Casablanca was a maze of T shirts, fake designer clothing, bad jewelry, and snake oil. There was nothing Moroccan to be purchased.
    Thanks, Lucky and Matthew. I may go back just to see the show!

  19. Next time you go to Casablanca, you should visit Rick’s Cafe ( as in the Rick’s Cafe in the movie “Casablanca”). I had the best vegetarian dish there.

  20. I’m still stuck on the room photo. Why are the chairs facing away from the TV? I look forward to your full report because the layout seems weird so far.

  21. Had to look it up – “belly dancing tipping etiquette.” It seems you put the money into the belt. Unless, there is a basket of some sorts. Thanks for the post. Very entertaining

  22. +1 to the National Bank quip.

    Also, people shouldn’t be shitty in the comments. Go to youtube and leave us alone.

  23. Perhaps Carnavoron’s remark should remain to remind us that even though we hear so much anti-Muslim rhetoric these days, small-minded bigotry still exists against other groups as well. In spite of the progress that has been made in the years since WW II anti-semitism still exists in many parts of the world.
    One would assume that a reader of this blog has an interest in travel and other cultures. Sad to see that prejudice, ignorance, and ethnocentrism persists among a few.

  24. The belly dancing thing is a cultural thing, not a Muslim thing. Yes, you are supposed to tip. Yes, you are supposed to look and go on with your business. Or focus on her. It’s up to you. IT’s just like the band, or the singer. It’s a form of entertainment. What I have noticed, since I travel the Med and Black Sea a lot, is it depends a lot on the particular venue, whether it’s for more religious or secular travel. You’re staying at the Hyatt, so they are catering to a Western crowd. And these belly dancers go through training like you would not believe. I hope this clears up any confusion.

  25. Can’t judge a book by its cover. I always thought Matthew was as camp as a row of tents after looking at his photo.

  26. Coming from someone married to a Moroccan 21 years and having been to Morocco 18 times, belly dancing is NOT a part of Moroccan culture, neither is hookah by the way. However, Western run hotels & resraurants in Morocco have this type of entertainment available. The average Moroccan family would not be OK with the situation you described. Hypocritical, it seems that such entertainment would be for tourists, though and so extreme at that. For real Moroccan culture in Casablanca (which is unfortunately devoid of beauty in its natural scenery unlike Marrakech), hit the markets and souks, that is where the real, prevailing culture can be found.

  27. @ JT–Different Matt K entirely. The aforementioned Matt also has a travel blog and appears to worship Antonin Scalia on his Instagram. Our beloved OMAAT contributor, Matt, we assume, was not along for this ride.

  28. Anyone expecting anything resembling a moral backbone from young Ben is in for a long wait. He can’t even speak up when his life is in danger, let alone speak up about homophobia or anti-semitism. He’s weighed in on a homophobic post what once? And never on an anti-Semitic post, ever. But we don’t read this blog for moral edification I suspect.

  29. I don’t think I’d recommend slipping a 20 into the G String of a dancer in a Muslim country. This ain’t the airport strip joints in Dallas or Cleveland.

  30. This is really interesting. I stayed at the same hotel – the Hyatt Regency Casablanca – in 2011 and we went to the restaurant. We were a party of 4 and when we entered there was another couple but they left soon thereafter so we were the only ones in the restaurant.. The music started playing and the belly dancer appeared and started doing a performance, just for the 4 of us. It was a bit of private show/awkward as well. It was memorable though

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