Riad Charai. 8th August 2015

We’ve gotten really used to our Riad now.

The Strange Smell is gone, replaced by a familiar odour, like your Mums House or the smell of your car.

Staying in a Riad is like sharing a Villa with strangers, it can be fun or it can be a pain in the arse.

Currently it’s full.

There are 8 rooms but only 4 sun beds and 3 dining tables around the pool. So there’s some competition going on and some one will loose out. This mornings breakfast seemed to be slightly sparse, a little fraught.

(There is a large dining room almost hidden down a narrow corridor, behind our room, where the mysterious windows open up. But this area is so infrequently used, you could sit there all week and not get served. It’s a waste land. It’s a Foible, a Folly an area that should be made use of).

Our room opens directly onto the pool terrace and we’ve commandeered a table and two chairs which are now clearly ‘ours’. I am usually the first up so I’m on the terrace when the cleaning lady starts work, she chases me off whilst she mops down that bit of terrace, then let’s me settle again afterwards.

We have a great view out of our doors across the pool and at night we can sit and read, listen to Spotify and still have our own toilet within striking distance.
We watch the birds settle at dusk, the squadron of Storks come in to roost, the cats stalking the Sparrows along the walls, the Dragonflies as they settle on pooling water. The Bee’s, some the size of a Plumb, searching the Jasmin for perfect flowers. The Moths duelling with the Bulbul birds in an Arial duel reminiscent of the Battle of Britain, with the same fateful outcomes.

But when the noisy neighbours want to sit outside at all hours and talk, loudly, we are hostages.

The late night Dip, is great fun for the group of Spaniards that have moved in up stairs, but we share every splash, every dive, every shrill scream. Oh how I love to watch them cuddling in the middle of the Pol.

I’m Not sure they are really happy here. They dress up ever so glamorously but where do they go?

They complained about the state of the pool water. They ate breakfast like large teenagers, all playing with their mobile phones whilst talking, all at once. Who does the listening?

NB: As I write one of the couples including their suit cases are on the move. I assume they have complained about their room (which was above ours and last night there was a lot of furniture being moved) and are now being moved.

We share every phone conversation, every Skype call with the French family. The constant tinkle of their mobile phones notifies us that yet another message has come through.

We hear the sound track of unseen You tube video or witty Facebook links but never get the joke.

There are an English couple here who seem to be a bit shell shocked by the environment outside having been lost, saved by the local kids, then Fleeced for cash right outside the door. They were jealous of our supply of alcohol so I shared my whisky with them and we revealed the source of our supply.

The bath room can have a really bad Drain smell, but we’ve recently discovered a switch which turns on the extractor fan.

The waiter leaves a vapour trail of body odour that traces his steps like DNA.

You can actually know where he’s been long after he’s gone. But he’s a real nice guy, who presumably can’t afford a clean shirt every day and has to do the best he can.

We’ve mastered (after a fashion) the controls for the Air Con, so we now sleep on top of the bed for most of the night without the sheen of sweat that accompanied us in our early days.

We’ve found BBC News 24 on the satellite TV though BBC seems to be completely obsessed with stocks, shares, business and the markets. Almost no real news, for that we turn to Aljesira.

There is one good, usable plug socket, but no kettle so no means of making tea, even if we’d brought T Bags. However, the day manager has taken to bringing us a pre Breakfast Coffee as soon as he comes on duty and afternoon tea (mint) at about four on the afternoon.

The Hair drier works but the toilet roll holder falls off the wall every time you reach for it.

The shower has two heads, three nobs but no instruction manual so you have to be prepared to get wet whilst doing your apprenticeship. Even then there is no shower screen so my shoes which I’d left far too close to the bath, were soaked during Jaki’s shower.

I am still walking into the door frame when I use the bathroom, but the bruises are starting to heal.

I’ve managed to wash a few T Shirts though there is no where to hang them to dry, so I put them over ‘Our Chairs’ at night and by the morning they are dry.

So, it’s becoming home.

The neighbours can be annoying but we seem to have colonised at least part of the Riad as British.

We’ve got the staff asking what the Cricket Score is even though Cricket is completely alien to them and they just can’t get the concept.

They do though know, by our wide grins and our enthusiasm to share the score,  that at least two of the guests are very happy.


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