As I entered the section of the gym that leads downstairs to the ladies dressing room, the spa, salon, and hammam I noted that my way was lined with rose petals and candles. Well I like this fine I thought to myself, down the stairs and as I am about to turn into the corridor for the dressing room and hammam I came very near to running smack dab into two huge, really huge black men in really well cut suits – so I knew right away they did not work for the U.S. government or the British Secret Service.
As it turns out the Princess of the Congo was in the hammam. I didn’t know there was a princess of the Congo. I’m happy for her but was happier that she was out by the time I finished my workout and it was time for MY hammam.
And after the Princess of the Congo incident. I came home to the Oudayas and proceeded to one (I try to spread my dirhams about) of my favourite hannouts and was accosted by a rather large and scary chap who was insistent to the point of rudeness, even for a Moroccan, that I accompany him home to break the fast “with [his] mother”, right. I was using all my “go away” techniques while remaining polite, but was on the verge of being rude when the shopkeeper had apparently heard enough. ‘Stop bothering her. You can see you are frightening her. Go home.’ All this in Darija. You must understand this shopkeeper is verging on ninety and has the appearance of a well worn branch of mahogany and the bothersome chap was about 6’2” and burly. So I stood quietly and let the chap play hero and the big guy hung his head and slunk away home. It was lovely! The look of male satisfaction on the face of the old man was priceless. I made my thank you-s and went home smiling.