On Thursday afternoon, Elliot had only one hour for lunch. Since each taxi will only take 3 people at one time and since we don’t yet have a car, we gave the kids some money in the morning and told them to catch a taxi home. By 12:20, they still weren’t home and I was really starting to worry. They didn’t get home till 12:25, which meant Elliot had to shovel down his lunch as quickly as possible and catch a taxi in order to be back for Latin class at 1.
It was a start of what would be an unusual afternoon. We took the twins back at 2 and then Donn and I walked over to look at a house. We’d heard, via a friend’s guard, that it would be available soon. The man there said that yes, it would be available, maybe this month, maybe next. He shrugged expressively.
This didn’t frustrate us as much as you might expect, as it’s amazing what we‘ve become accustomed to over the years. We were about to leave, when he told us of another house in the area for rent. “Turn right then left, then right, then left; the road will end, turn right,” he said. “It’s either the third or fourth house down, possibly the fifth. Or the sixth.” We set off and found ourselves in what we believed to be the right street, but when we asked a man getting into his car if any of the houses on the block were for rent, he shook his head. We walked down anyway, and came to a house on which we’d noticed a for sale sign a few days earlier. It was still for sale. Maybe he’d misunderstood our desires.
Drooping a little, we trudged off homewards. We walked most of the way home, then turned to take our regular shortcut through these little alleyways that cut through an area filled with traditional Moroccan houses. We love this area; it’s charming. It’s a bit like the Oudayas, except it’s not painted blue and white, it’s right near our apartment, and it’s not a bit touristy. We passed a house where some work was being done and asked if by any chance the house was available. The workman didn’t speak French but he got the owner to come out, so we chatted with him for a few moments. Next thing we knew, he’d invited us in and was showing us around his house.
We entered a courtyard lined with traditional Moroccan tile centered around a small garden space with a fountain and tall trees, banana and palm, reaching up to the second story of the house. He took us all over, explaining how he’d built this room and added that room, telling us about his kids. The house had that organic sense of being added to as a family grows, with rooms sprouting out of rooms, several different levels, and some quirks, including an upstairs hallway with windows that looked directly down into a bathroom. Uh, yeah. That part wasn’t so charming.
Our host then invited us into his main salon, sat us down, and served us refreshments. We chatted away for about an hour, at the end of which he announced that his house was our house (I wish!) and invited us to bring the kids back some time. We exchanged phone numbers and went on our way, much cheered by this encounter with Moroccan hospitality and feeling we’d made a new friend. He also promised to keep a look-out for any rentals for us.
Since we were early to get the kids, we wandered into another neighbourhood next to their school and a guard pointed out another house for rent! We went ahead and got our hopes up, only to have them dashed the next day by a rather rude rental agent who announced that the landlord would only rent to diplomats because he was hoping to get an exorbitant price paid by someone who wouldn’t notice. He didn’t put it exactly like that, but it was close.
So we’re not actually any closer to having a house of our own to live in, but at least we’re meeting people.