Waking up in an apartment and not having to check out sometime between 10 AM and noon felt so… indulgent. It’s become the most random things that I appreciate the most on this trip. We slept in. Andrew made breakfast (toad in a hole) and I put on a movie while I transferred videos and edited photos. It felt like a “normal” Saturday. The kind we would have in Seoul before we left to travel around the world. We went out for coffee (and wifi) and then went out for a drink at Rick’s Café in Casablanca.
p.s. I have no idea why I look like an Oompa loompa in this picture. It was taken immediately after we sat down, so it’s not from the drink!
Rick’s Café in Casablanca, felt indulgent as well. We sat at the bar and enjoyed some Casablanca beer (trying not to think about how much the beer cost). Aside from being at a swank bar in gym shoes and a Northface fleece, no one made us feel like we didn’t belong and it felt like we were on holiday from our holiday. I grabbed Andrew’s camera to go upstairs to take pictures (and videos) of the place and was delighted when one of the servers offered to show me around. How sweet! He took me through nearly every room and pointed out where was a good place to take a picture and introduced me to other members of the wait-staff. I asked him if many Moroccans come or if it’s mostly tourists. I believe he said it was around half and half. I cracked a joke about being a tourist and he smiled, but said I was just as welcome. I appreciated his sincerity and how he didn’t look down on me for being a back-packer traipsing through the trendy venue.
Not long after I returned to Andrew at the bar, a middle-aged western woman sat down at the seat marked reserved and thanked the bartender by name when he delivered some water. Andrew had told me that the owner (an American at that) was usually around in the evenings. I wanted to say hello and tell her how much I appreciated the tour I had received. I leaned over and asked her if it was her place. She said yes and I gushed over how lovely it was and how nice her servers were to show me around. She smiled, one of those plastered kinds, and then walked away from the conversation.
No “I’m so glad you are enjoying yourself.” No “You sound American as well, where are you from?” No “Excuse me, I’m terribly busy at the moment.” Nothing. She just walked away and all of the warm fuzzy feelings I had for Rick’s Café and the entire wait-staff started to disappear. My holiday from my holiday ended. I was a backpacker in dirty gym-shoes and a NorthFace fleece again.
It’s a peculiar beast, this trip… Spending my entire life savings to travel around the world on a budget. Living out of a backpack, wearing the same clothes over and over again, when I have a closet full of clothes, shoes, and even bags waiting for me on the other side of the Atlantic. Believe me Rick’s Café lady, if I could, I would be in your café dressed to the nines, but I’m having trouble zipping up my backpack as it is.
I wanted to march back up to her and explain our-selves and shame her by telling her she was no better than the department store make-up ladies who refuse to pay attention to you because they don’t think you’re going to give them any commission. How it’s always been my dream to travel around the world and that we made her café part of this dream realized. How we had quit our jobs and had been traveling for nearly six months making this dream come true. How we’re on a $50 per day budget and spent nearly half of our budget for the day on two TWO beers at her bar. How up until meeting her, I felt like the expense was totally worth the experience.
I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Instead, I whispered in the pianist’s ear how beautiful his playing was. I thanked all of the wait-staff as we walked out. I posed for pictures in front of the sign in the entryway. I tried to forget about the owner’s dismissive attitude. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she was busy, or maybe she was having a bad night… but she didn’t seem to have any problem schmoozing the bigger parties having dinner in the café. Unfortunately, she came across to us as one of those people who are only interested in others when they can benefit her in someway. Andrew teased me and said one day I would have my Pretty Woman moment with her.
Yes. The next time I find myself in Casablanca, I’ll be sure to have an armful of shopping bags or, say, a party of ten of my closest friends? and walk up to Ms. Kriger and say “Big mistake. Big. Huge.” and walk out.