A man in a peach tunic held up a sign with our name on it. He took my bag and we followed him to his van, then through crazy traffic – cars, motorcycles and donkey carts miraculously finding their places while the old walls of the city and snippets of Marrakech zipped past our windows, filling our heads with images of life so different from our own.
"Are you Brice?" I asked our driver.
A man named Brice and I had corresponded over the internet when we arranged to rent our riad.
"Yes." Then silence. I assumed he spoke no English. Maybe GoogleTranslate had written his emails.
He parked the van and from nowhere a wheelbarrow appeared. Brice tossed our bags in, exchanged a few words with its owner, and disappeared into the crowd. Gary raced ahead to count our suitcases, anxious that nothing was left behind in the handoff, and then we followed this new stranger into the maze of passageways that presumably would lead us to our hotel.
A few seconds later, a man on a motorcycle pulled up, smiling, and took off his helmut. "I'm Brice," he said in perfect but heavily accented English. We shook hands before he sped off and we continued to follow the man with the wheel barrow, passing skinny stray cats, slices of watermelon, tapestries on hooks, incense burners and leather belts, watercolor paintings, hallways leading everywhere and finally to the intricately carved arched wooden door that lead to the sanitary of our riad.
There, Brice waited with something red, sweet, and icy in beautifully chilled glasses, our first welcome to Morocco.
For a quick look at our riad, check out the link here: