Bumper cars flipped and rusting staring out from cracked plastic eyes as the undying casted smile takes on an eerie cynicism. The grass grows high and luscious around disused amusement rides as if declaring that nature will once again engulf what man has left behind. A high wired prison-fence encloses the forgotten joy, trapping it out of reach. It’s almost like a museum of joy and happiness untouched and left to decay with cancerous rust.
Murals, once intended to represent families enjoying the rides are peeled and faded. The people depicted take on an almost zombish look with pieces cracked and missing, like lepers. The destruction to the eye is coupled with an unnerving silence that echoes the graveyard feel of the ruins. Based solely on the human interest in the macabre and the unusual the place becomes more interesting than an amusement park full of life and vitality.
This was my impression of Yasmina Park in Casablanca. It was a ‘tourist attraction’ listed on the map – photocopied from a tattered, old guidebook – that the receptionist at our hotel gave us. That is to say that years before it had been a tourist attraction as oppose to now being the mere ruins of one. However, I found the ruins to be far more fascinating than the real park would have been. If for no other reason than the fact that I hadn’t seen one before and it seemed to carry it’s ghosts within its carcasses. It’s curious too to note that we pay to see ancient ruins; however, we find modern ones little more than an eye-sore.
We would later discover, as we travelled through the city, that a great deal of the attractions on our map were mere relics. In some ways it seems that Casablanca is filled with these touristic gravestones from another time. The city itself is by no means a graveyard – and often proclaims the vitality of life – however the scars of its touristic decline are clearly visible from walking its streets.
I feel the question still remains – and is one I can’t fathom an answer to – why do we crowd to gates of ancient ruins but deride those that are modern?