I’ll be doing some miscellaneous mop-up posts from Morocco, although I am now back in the land of plenty — plenty of water, of water pressure, of a cloud cover so dense you doubt the sun exists at all, and, as Donald Trump is still president, of maddening bullshit.


We learned that when you rent a room in a riad, which is any building structured around an open courtyard, you are first shown to your room, and then to the roof. The roof is one of the attractions of riad life. Here I am enjoying Marrakesh roof life one morning:

(Pardon the lack of a pedicure. After Labor Day, I lose my patience for nail polish.)

Here’s the reverse angle, where I was sitting:

Nice place to lounge, eh? That low wall in front of my feet is the one that surrounds the open-air courtyard, so no one falls in and goes splat. The Marrakesh riad took the extra step of putting an awning over the courtyard, although it rains very little there. But the courtyard has wooden furniture, and I expect birds could be a problem. The view looking down into the interior:

Very nice. A couple of ficus-type trees next to a water feature, quite soothing. I’ll say this for riad life; you tend to stagger home after a day or even an hour of battling Marrakesh medina street life — the noise, the hustlers, and of course the goddamn scooters — step through the door and really feel like you left it behind. It’s nice, a design that makes a lot of sense.

Anyway, back to the roof. The French couple whose stay overlapped with ours took their breakfast up there, probably so they could smoke afterward. In the mornings, it’s quite pleasant at this table:

Then you step to the edge and get a sense of what’s below:

A rare quiet moment, there — most of the shops haven’t opened yet. This was a Saturday, so the kids weren’t in school. Note mama or grandma on her scooter. We stayed in a very un-touristy part of the medina; not so many Westerners along our close-by streets. You can see the building across is another riad, and if we lift our gaze a bit, you can see what looks like another well-appointed rooftop a block or two away; if you look closely, you can see a pigeon coop there, too. (P.S. Pigeons are for eatin’ in Morocco, but I didn’t have one.)

Looking left from where I was standing:

And no, I have no idea how you determine a property line in any of this chaos. But fortunately, it’s not my problem. But this is where we ate kebab sandwiches a couple nights instead of enduring the grueling Jemaa al-Fna, and listened to the final call to prayer. We bought them from a seller about a block down; he didn’t speak English, but fortunately at least one or two other customers knew enough to help us order. Yes, onions, yes, “spice,” yes very delicious. The French pastries we bought for dessert were easier — just point and hold up fingers for how many.

And now, yes, we are back. The laundry is done, the fridge is mostly restocked, and I’m going out for a new electric toothbrush to replace the one that died the day before we left. What crazy shit will happen in the week ahead? God only knows.

Posted at 12:41 pm in Same ol' same ol', Uncategorized |

29 responses to “Roofs.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on October 27, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Welcome home, no lack of satellite dishes I guess.
    Pilot Joe

    61 chars

  2. David C. said on October 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    It would be a real busman’s holiday for a roofing contractor.

    61 chars

  3. Deborah said on October 27, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Some of those roofs have so much debris on them. I wonder if they throw stuff up there from below? Or does it get dropped on from above?

    136 chars

  4. beb said on October 27, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    The Riad looks really swank — as long as you don’t look outside.

    I came across this article tonight and have to share it. From Vanity Faire, there’s something suspicious going on on the stock market.
    the TL;DR is that there are stock devices called e-minis that pay out if the market goes up. There have been a number of large purchases of these e-minis just before the US market closes, followed by news out of the White House that causes the market to go up the next day. Payouts have been in the hundred of millions of dollars to as high as $1.3 billion. And the people charged with watching the markets and prevent fraud have been unusually mum about who was buying their e-minis. Since one of those purchases preceded a Trump lie about markets you kind of wonder if you know who is behind all these profitable trades.

    907 chars

  5. Dorothy said on October 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Good to have you back in the ol’ USA. Your stories and pictures have been fascinating!

    Our kids surprised the hell out of us last night with a large 40th anniversary party for us at Schmidt’s in German Village, Columbus. It was a blast. Holy cow but the subterfuge they undertook for about a year! We thought it was just going to be 7 of us for dinner. There were close to 50 people there. I still haven’t come back down to earth. It was wonderful to see everyone, but honestly my favorite part of it was seeing my granddaughter run around with her second/third cousins and crawl underneath tables, color together and just hang out. It was like going back in time, thinking of how much fun my kids always had running around with their cousins. It’s truly the best party of being from such a large family. Cousins/aunts/uncles/siblings that go on forever.

    866 chars

  6. alex said on October 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    beb, I read that article recently. Certainly does seem fishy and I hope it gets investigated fully and that the sleazebag-in-chief spends the rest of his worthless life in the slammer.

    184 chars

  7. basset said on October 27, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Continuing LAMarry’s comment from yesterday: “Basset, I think a Venn diagram of dog fans and Guggenheim attendees would overlap quite a bit.”

    Maybe so, depends on what subcultures of the dog world you include. Not me, though, I would be uncomfortable at the museum. Don’t know enough about art and would worry that my ignorance would be exposed… I have greatly enjoyed the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford, the Gilmore, the British Museum and many others, but I understand that stuff.

    493 chars

  8. basset said on October 27, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Dorothy, you are truly blessed. Not having family around growing up or since then is one of my greatest regrets.

    113 chars

  9. LAMary said on October 27, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    The artists I know;the ones who actually make a living at it and who have shows at galleries all over the world, are dog owners. I’m not talking about dozens of people. More like eight people. They all have mutts.

    213 chars

  10. Dexter Friend said on October 28, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Dorothy, we ate at Schmidt’s once. Very good, excellent German chocolate cake that day. ~ Pigeons for eatin’? Once I was driving near Hamilton, Indiana and I picked up a weary old man bearing two suitcases. He was headed to Detroit, to catch pigeons downtown using nets, and sell them as squab to restaurants. It was quite a tale…he had had a truck which broke down back a ways, and was meeting up with a cousin who had a pickup in Detroit. Of course municipalities all have rules against this practice, so you had to move quickly and at the right time of week and day, simply lay a net, seeding the area with baits of various nature , and pull quickly closing the net, load the birds into the truck bed and drive to the butchering place. He said he had been caught and jailed many times for some local ordinances but this was his calling. He worked all the midwest cities, to keep a low profile…sorta. See what I mean? This story seems phony but every detail is true.

    983 chars

  11. ROGirl said on October 28, 2019 at 7:15 am

    I love the contrast between the dusty, nondescript streets and what lies hidden behind the closed doors. It’s so unexpected from our American perspective of houses as public displays of net worth.

    196 chars

  12. alex said on October 28, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Dex, I probably shared this story before, but the grossest thing I’ve ever seen was in Bughouse Square next to the Newberry Library in Chicago. I was with a group of friends on a Sunday morning walk through the park when we came upon a pigeon carcass stripped of its breast and covered in barbecue sauce which presumably came from the empty Kraft bottle alongside it. Still gives me nightmares.

    Basset, you don’t have to know anything about art to appreciate it. Some stuff will strike you as total crap and probably is. Some will draw you in and mesmerize you like an acid trip. And being inside a building like the Guggenheim is also a trippy experience well worth the admission charge.

    Years ago the New Yorker had a great takedown of an exhibit called the Cremaster Series, a cheeky review that dared to raise the question whether the art world was having one over on pretentious art snobs who thought this show was the bees’ knees or whether the art world was simply just full of itself and as phony as a lot of people have always assumed that it is. The show was not-so-subtly intended to be all about jizz and jizzing. A couple of fartsy old ladies from Fort Wayne went to see it and I heard them talking about how shocked and appalled they were, so it must have been good.

    1283 chars

  13. Connie said on October 28, 2019 at 7:35 am

    We have tickets to see Lili Tomlin and Jane Fonda in conversation at the Fox Theater on Wednesday. Turns out Mitch Albom is the oderator.

    137 chars

  14. lisa said on October 28, 2019 at 8:46 am

    So glad you shared your vacation photos. I liked seeing them. Sounds like you two enjoyed your time so far away. It’s always so interesting to go somewhere you’ve heard of but never been to. My husband and I went to NYC last month to see our daughter, who moved there a little over a year ago.
    I found out that almost everything I thought NYC was all about was totally wrong. Traveling is a good thing!

    408 chars

  15. Suzanne said on October 28, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Same here about NYC. I had never been there until a few years ago and fell in love! Absolutely not what I expected. Most of my big city experience had been Chicago, so I assumed it would be a bigger Chicago. Not at all. The vibe is totally different.

    Yes, travel is a good thing.

    282 chars

  16. Deborah said on October 28, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Yes, I agree traveling is a good thing. I’ve never been anywhere in South America, Africa or Australia, never been to the Middle East, Eastern Europe. Never been to Norway, Denmark or Iceland either. Or India and China, but for some reason I have no desire to go there. So many places to see but we seem to keep going back to the same places, which I love. So little time and it takes so much money to do it all.

    Connie, that sounds like it will be a terrific evening, I’m jealous.

    My Dr appointment was changed from this morning to 3:10 this afternoon, of course they called me about this change after I got up early and showered already. It’s no big deal, I’m just getting some sun spots on my face burned off, I have this done every other year or so, it’s what I get from having grown up in Miami, FL before anybody heard of using sunblocks. Instead we worshipped the sun and used baby oil with iodine to enhance our tanning.

    935 chars

  17. Julie Robinson said on October 28, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Buildings and homes with courtyards have always appealed to me, for the cross breezes and extra sunlight, and also for the secluded area in the center. Add a roof getaway like on these riads, and it looks perfect for a hot climate.

    Connie, I love your (un?)intentional typo re Mitch Albom being the oderator. Odious moderator is a term we could use, what with debate season being on us.

    Dorothy, your party sounds marvelous, especially that grand baby. We briefly discussed a party for our 40th, decided we didn’t want to plan one/family and friends are too scattered, and opted for a nuclear family trip to NYC instead. It was a real treat, and our adult kids acted as travel agents and guides, so for the most part we just had to bring the credit card. I highly recommend this as a travel method.

    In fact, I would love to go every year to see more Broadway shows, but as that proved the most injurious to the credit card, it’s not going to happen.

    959 chars

  18. Deborah said on October 28, 2019 at 11:22 am

    On twitter today I have read some criticism of Trump for not taking his son Barron to the world series game last night. If the kid is on the spectrum as has been speculated, I can see how he wouldn’t want to be there, so I don’t think finding fault with Trump for that is warranted. There are plenty of other things to find fault with Trump for. IMO.

    350 chars

  19. Sherri said on October 28, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    beb, Felix Salmon was talking about that Vanity Fair article on Slate Money, and his conclusion is that it is bogus. Selection bias in the data; trading is happening all the time, so if you start with times of chaos and go looking for trades right before the times, you’ll find trades. You’d also find similar trades other times, but you weren’t looking for those. When you start with the answer and look for the data, without the context, you get suspicious-looking shit.

    There’s plenty of open and obvious corruption going on without having to resort to some sophisticated corruption. Trump is more of the smash and grab corruption type, not the sophisticated magic tech car fob that quietly opens any car to steal from it type.

    742 chars

  20. Scout said on October 28, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    What a fascinating trip that must have been. The pictures really tell a story. I’ve only been to Morocco once, on a day trip from Gibraltar by boat. It was very curated and nothing like the immersion into the culture that Nancy and Alan experienced.

    No wonder the Mobster in Chief doesn’t make public appearances unless the crowd is very carefully vetted. I hope this is still eating his tiny narcissistic heart alive.

    After a month of bathroom renovations, we finally took a break from it all and drove up to Sedona on Saturday to hike, then enjoy some beers with live music on a brewery patio, go to our favorite woo-woo store to buy some crystals and then dinner before driving back down the mountain. A much needed break from everything, especially the news.

    820 chars

  21. Deborah said on October 28, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    I didn’t even know that Trump was in Chicago until late this morning, so for our daily walk we went to the protest across the river from Trump Tower where he was attending a fund raiser. There was a good crowd, maybe 2,500 to 3,000 protesters, not enormous but there wasn’t a lot of advanced prep or communication about it. There were about a half dozen Trump supporters with signs and flags, an old lady and 4 or 5 young guys. There were lots of funny anti-Trump signs as usual, resisters can be very creative. Apparently Trump spoke at McCormick Center earlier for some kind of cop conference. The cops were out in force around Trump Tower, that’s for sure.

    659 chars

  22. LAMary said on October 28, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I can’t believe I never took advantage of the opportunity to quote the Hope/Crosby film, “Road to Morocco before you left on your trip. The song they sing at the start of their journey ends with the line, “just like Webster’s Dictionary, we’re Morocco bound.” Between that and your idea for the “all the vowels” slogan you could have impressed a lot of folks.

    359 chars

  23. Deborah said on October 28, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Once again, the protests in Chicago were peaceful. The right wing always screams about Antifa, and if there would be anyplace you might expect it, it would be the big bad city of Chicago. But of course, nada.

    208 chars

  24. Dexter Friend said on October 29, 2019 at 1:54 am

    riad rooftops…I sensed I had been there, to a scenario like that, but couldn’t pinpoint it from memory, figuring maybe I had been in a similar scenario in Vietnam, and just now it hit me: in the 80s I went to a helluva lot of baseball games in Tiger Stadium, Detroit. Right across the street was Paros Home Plate, which was a bar restaurant with good food . Upstairs were circular tables made of painted concrete, with umbrellas protecting one from rain and sun. I don’t know if the Paros family were Greek or Macedonian or what, but I really enjoyed going to a classy place like that before a game for a meal and Labatt’s Blue Lager.

    641 chars

  25. Deborah said on October 29, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I mentioned the Eames house in LA a few days ago, it’s still OK, but they’ve closed it to visitors, it’s in the evacuation zone for the Getty fire. LA Mary, hope everything is still OK with you and yours. Horrendous photos online.

    230 chars

  26. LAMary said on October 29, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Still ok but jumpy. Neighborhood is still on Red Flag alert, an LAFD thing for high risk areas.

    95 chars

  27. Deborah said on October 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Another saga about expensive medicines: my dermatologist prescribed some cream for my forehead sunspots instead of burning them off (actually freezing but whatever). I went to Walgreens to pick it up today and without insurance it costs $852!!!! The Dr burned off 2 spots, one on the side of my nose and one on my cheek but she said the ones on my forehead are too tiny and too numerous to burn off. You apply this cream one time a half an hour before bedtime, make sure it’s dry, then it takes 2 weeks for the stuff to ferret out the bad cells, she says it will leave my skin red and raw and then it takes about 2 weeks to heal. Sort of like a chemical peal, she said. I thought maybe the cream would be around $50 and I’d go ahead and pay for it out of pocket, but now of course I have to wait until January when my medicare medicine insurance kicks in. It’s fine, whenever I do it, there’s no hurry or anything but holy cow that’s a lot of money for some damn cream.

    969 chars

  28. Deborah said on October 29, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    I should also say that these sun spots are pre-cancerous, I’m not removing them for cosmetic reasons.

    101 chars

  29. basset said on October 29, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    This must be my punishment for having an outdated iPhone… ordered up a new Otterbox case online maybe three weeks ago, realized afterward that it was coming from Hong Kong and thought “well, here we go.”

    After nine days of “processing” they finally sent it all the way from HK, got here and it was, as you’d expect, a knockoff. Emailed them, they said they would refund, which I doubt, and didn’t need it back.

    Ordered another one from Best Buy, due to arrive tomorrow. Got a text yesterday that it’d been delivered and signed for, wasn’t here so they said they’d send another. Of course, the first one showed up today… wrong size. I ordered a case for a 6 plus, not a 6, and they’re different. Second one is due tomorrow and will also be wrong, they said my only option is to return it, cancel everything, get a refund and start over.

    Just ordered yet another from Amazon, not the color I wanted but the only ones which are (camo and safety orange) are obvious copies. Due next week sometime.

    And I’ve been in chat with Comcast for the last… let’s see… 34 minutes, still there, to see if they serve the brand new subdivision street where we started an offer on a house today. A resident I happened to catch out walking told me about some kind of wireless AT&T setup that works for him, maybe we’ll get away from Comcast once and for all.

    1363 chars