I certainly am as I find myself saying ‘Hola ‘ and ‘Gratias’ in Chams Hotel, Tetouan, Morocco.
The waiter asked me at breakfast if I was Spanish. I replied, ‘No. I am Scottish. Ireland is my home but I am staying in Spain at the moment.’ He shook his head and looked confused. I am too.
I have no Arabic and my little grand-daughter has little English but I am now referred to as ‘Mimam Nanny Carol’.
She is a gorgeous little girl, as bright as a button and is already almost there with, “One, Two, Three, Four, Five; Once I caught a fish alive.”
I thought security was tight at Tangiers airport. It is equally as tight at Chams Hotel. I, and everyone who enters the hotel, have to walk through an x-ray machine, the same as you walk through at airports. There is security outside the hotel too as there is always a man pacing up and down with security written in capital letters on the back of his jacket. He watches the cars that park in the hotel’s parking area immediately in front of the hotel.
The hotel reception area overlooks a very busy road. I am so confused I was trying to work out if the traffic went in the same direction as in Ireland. The clue is the steering wheel of the car I am sitting in whilst writing this. It’s on the wrong side for Ireland. The others have gone into the phone shop as the grand-daughter is a mobile phone wrecker. I would not be surprised if she was on commission from the mobile phone shop or has shares in one of the companies. The daughter-in-law’s sister, whose car this is, will be glad that I chose to stay in the car as the driver of the car that was parked immediately in front is as good at reversing as I am and was on the point of front-ending this car I beeped the horn when it got too close for comfort so no damage done there. Almost like being back in Sri Lanka again where tooting was as common as breathing.
Chams hotel have very amiable staff. My mattress was too hard. It was akin to sleeping on a wooden board. So they changed not only the mattress but the whole bed. This second mattress is still an orthopaedic one, made for younger bones than mine, but only another night to go and I am back to my latex memory foam mattress in Fuengirola. I really appreciate the comfort of it.
The hotel has not been conducive to a full night’s sleep. I was wakened at 4.3o am the first morning by the sound of someone falling out of bed on to a wooden floor in another room. Then there was a toilet being flushed and someone had a shower and finally there was the sound of doors closing. I could only assume someone had an early start so went back to sleep. The phone beside my bed woke me again at 7.30 and as soon as I uttered a sleepy ‘Hello’ the voice at the other end said ‘Sorry’ about half a dozen times. I turned over but only for fifteen minutes or so as there is a building site to one side of the hotel – the side my neat little balcony looks out on. Work starts on site at 8 am so I gave up and switched the mobile on and started my day.
The cleaning ladies in the hotel are dressed as if they are entering an operating theatre. Complete with white trousers and white coats similar to doctors’ coats, they even have their hair covered in white too. They are mostly middle aged women and terribly pleasant and we smile a lot and I say ‘thank you’ or ‘gratias’ as they go about their chores.
The waiting staff in the restaurant are all men, neatly clad in white shirts and black trousers. I got a flask of boiling water this morning. They have one of these new gadgets that you can fit adjacent to a sink which have made kettles redundant.
I tried to use this myself and get a cup of boiling water for my Lipton’s teabag but what came out of the tap was a funny colour for boiling water. One of the waiters rescued me and with a flourish discarded my cup with the pale orange liquid – goodness knows which button I had pressed – and he headed to the kitchen. He returned triumphantly with an insulated jug full of clean boiled water that looked just like water when he poured it out.
There are no kettles in the bedrooms in Moroccan hotels, no teabags, coffee sachets, or milk and sugar and no complimentary biscuits. So I savour the morning cuppas in the restaurant. I do like my tea to be made with boiled water. I still can’t work out what the pale orange liquid was – confused? I am every bit of that.