Wednesday, 6 May 2009


First, a 3 1/2 hour stop-over at Casablanca. The plan, for Mark and Sandhya, was to take a taxi and sample the nightlife. The airport was modern and sterile with its marble floors and aluminium seating - few people at that time of night. Leafing thro' the guide book the discovery was: Casablanca, a huge city, is noted for its extreme poverty, prostitution, violence and crime. H. Bogart's 'Here's looking at you, kid,' along with the brimming eyes of Ingrid Bergman, was filmed, on set, in Hollywood. Suddenly the taxi drive lost its appeal. From 10.30 onwards crowds of people, men with women, the regulation 12 steps behind, all dressed in white from head to foot, men's heads covered in crocheted white caps, began streaming in. Some had brilliant gold flasks around their necks: we guessed they were pilgrims.

Our plane was late. Growing concern. Would the guide still be there the other end? It was way past midnight, and unusually cold. And the guy with the wheelchair? Without these there'd be no way we'd find out way through the Medina to the Riad, and no way I'd be able to walk it even if we could.

1/Sandhya on terrace, 2/ me ditto,

Fez breakfast; big jug of Arabic coffee, orangejuice in blue hand-painted pitcher, little hot round breads and pancakes, 7 kinds of confitures, cream cheeses and olives taken on the Bougainvillea Terrace overlooking pool, next morning, Friday, 1st May. Dazzling; stunning; I decide to spend the day here, maybe test the water in the pool, even swim, have a salad fron lunch in the waterside gazebo while the other two go off exploring. It's obligatory to have a guide; without one you'd never find your way out of the Medina - maybe not get out alive. I'll leave all that till tomorrow.

View of terrace from across the pool.

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