Friday, April 29, 2011

Argana Cafe

Whirling dervishes, pastilla (with whole pigeons baked in), and a swirl of languages made up our New Year's Eve celebration at the riad that I was staying Dec 2004/Jan 2005.  Friends Chris and Hannah had journeyed on to Essouria on the Moroccan coast for a few days by themselves.  I wandered through the Marrekesh medina and Jemaa el F'na.  Occasionally, I'd find myself in a slightly anxious position, with the men of Morocco trying to identify me.  Was I English?  French?  American?  I wouldn't answer to the shouts on the square, a little fearful that in those heated days of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq I might become a target.

Still, I walked around comfortably enough.  One afternoon, I took a long, early dinner at a well-known cafe.  The Argana.  It's in the guidebooks.  It overlooks the Jemaa el F'na.  It's Western-oriented enough that the waitstaff included pleasant young women.  They brought me wine, which is a little hard to find in many Marrakech establishments, and it wasn't clear to me that it was even on the menu.  Also, in a week in Morocco, I had grown tired of only interacting with men and boys.  I read my book, looked at the square, drank my glass, picked at the tagine dish.  A pleasant and relaxing afternoon for this tourist.

No one detonated a bomb in the Argana that afternoon.  But someone did this week, killing fourteen in the blast.  I hope the pleasant young serving women are still OK, Inshallah.

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