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Back in Casablanca, in my last hotel/maison d'hote of the trip. I admit, I was a little leery, because I'd previously seen more of the bleh parts of Casa, and I booked in a guest house that came well-recommended but with shared bathrooms and essentially in the top floor of the owners' house.

I shouldn't have worried. (Well, I probably should have, but knowing what I do now, the worrying wasn't necessary.) This place is faaaaaabulous. It might not be for everyone, but it's perfect for me. It's in this cute residential neighborhood that reminds me of something you might see in the south of France - all whitewashed buildings and copious walls of flowers. It's actually across the street from a very small shantytown (I am typing this to the sounds of donkeys and chickens), but it's gated and feels safe.

Mostafa was waiting for me at the train station, which is seriously, like, the greatest thing ever. I'm going to get spoiled. Then it was off to the guest house, where I was greeted like I was visiting friends by a lovely couple in their sixties, Jean-Pierre and Estrella, who are I'm guessing French expats. I have free run of the kitchen, with little snacks and everything from wine to bubbly water, and there's a tv room, an internet room, two bathrooms, and an enormous dining area. Much like my last hotel, the design's a bit of a mix: half Moroccan, half pan-Asian melange.

I did have the place to myself for about an hour, but it turns out there was a miscommunication, and there's another American family staying for a night or two. Pas de probleme; they take one bathroom; I take the other. It's all chill, and I am delighted.

Train travel was easy enough; I shared the compartment with three other Americans for the first hour. They made sure I knew that while two of them were from New York, their other friend was from, gasp, New Jersey. They were, um, a colorful bunch. The lady liked to read out loud from the guidebook; one of the guys liked to explain things (accuracy not necessary), and the other guy slept most of the time. (There was a lot of arguing. Who put what where, and why, and how they did it wrong, etc etc etc.) They dubbed me "super-intellectual" for having booked my hotel in Marrakech before having arrived. They'd been in Spain and decided to hop over to Morocco on a whim. Their stated reason? "Well, we missed the Marrakech Express in the seventies - we went to India instead - so we figured we'd give it a go forty years later." First Tangiers, then Marrakech, and now they're on their way to Fes.

Even with the incessant teeth smacking and raucous snoring and "hey there little lady"ing and extensive, authoritative opinions on the housing market bubble in Morocco based on that one empty building they saw that one time, I cannot entirely fault them - when my sandwich turned out to be nigh-on inedbile, they graciously shared their KFC with me. It's been years since I've had Kentucky Fried Chicken; who would have thought the next place I'd eat it would be on a train in Morocco?
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notyourmonkey

May 2013

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