We probably woke up the tiny village when our tires crunched the gravel outside the lunch place with no name. The patroness ran out to greet us. After fawning over the kids for a bit, she engaged our guide in an Arabic staccato monologue. From the intense gesticulation it was obvious that he had forgotten to to give her the heads up when he was a certain distance away. He continued to point at his wristwatch to tell her that she was supposed to be ready nevertheless.
Beaten down by the barrage, he turned to us sheepishly and said, “ Why don’t we go to the Kasbah before it gets crowded?”
We strolled along the bank of a gurgling water canal – one that we could hear, but not see – and hit a dusty road.
Right there, was a hidden crucible brimming with a Berber montage.
A boy lazily rode a mule. He wore a pair of old sneakers and lavender “Avatar” sweatshirt, clearly marketing had reached public before the product here in this tiny village, Carved on his face was ennui, the kind that comes from “having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do”.
Behind me, a little girl of five or six years of age, found me to be an interesting object. I winked at her. She made a pig face at me. I hoped there was a school nearby that she could go to so that she could read the letters emblazoned on her tiny chest.
She was especially thrilled when I diplomatically separated her from the flock of rag-tag surrounding her. Two huge eyes brimmed with hope that can only be possessed by such innocence. She even posed a bit. Her thumbs stuck into the pockets of her old denims, she threw her head back a a bit. I think. The village definitely had cable TV.
Sitting at the entrance of the Kasbah, he looked authoritative when he asked us for the entrance fee. He even gave us an officious looking slip of paper that granted us admission. It is when I asked him to pose that he giggled.
His room would have full blown posters of Eddie Murphy, I remember thinking. Later I found him outside his shop a little distance away strumming a pop-song and thought, his room would have posters of Eddie Murphy.
* * *
We had walked 400 yards to the famous Kasbah in Telouet.