Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Breakfast

When I got here, I was told, “In the morning, there is a breakfast buffet, you can help yourself.” Well, I’ve been here before and I know how munchy a Moroccan breakfast can be. That is to say dry and uninteresting, unless you like to smear everything with honey, which I don’t.

I got downstairs the next morning to be faced with a choice of black coffee which tasted like it had been made from instant powder and chicory essence, hot milk and weak Lipton’s tea. There was only one kind of chewy, dry, but, thankfully white, bread on offer. The classic round Moroccan bread.

A black french family emerged from a room off the main courtyard. The father explained to his son, “you can help yourself to whatever you like.” How ironic, there was nothing to choose from. The boy wanted a hot chocolate. Sadly, there was none. I felt sorry for him, his father was so optimistic, but the reality didn’t bear this out.

As time has gone by, more and more choices have emerged at breakfast. After two days, orange juice was on offer… even brought directly to my table by the long suffering “Khadijah”, whose name is heard every time the haggard old lady in a long black dress who presides over the central courtyard wants something done.

Yesterday we were even offered some kind of sugar coated bread which was really quite nice, but it left my hands covered in oil.

The shower in my room is a bitch. It only trickles water, and it is luke warm at best. Yesterday morning, the always optimistic black guy was telling his son, “now there is hot water…” I tried the shower... Hot water suddenly gushed out, and my spirits rose. But then it got too hot and I turned on the cold tap. Suddenly the pressure decreased again, and I was once more disappointed.

The other day, I was in the main square, and I tried one of the food stalls. The salads on offer were on display, and I could finally choose one I liked the look of. It was called “salade maroccaine”. Basicaly a salsa: tomatoes, onions, green peppers, beetroot, cucumber, coriander and mint, all cut into tiny pieces and with lemon juice and olive oil over them with rock salt and “rass al hanouff”, a moroccan spice mix. Fucking delicious. And only 5 dirhams. Don’t settle for anything less, but watch the price, chic restaurants will charge up to 25 dirhams for the same thing!

I then ordered the fish, which was more expensive and horrible.

But the main discovery was a small shop just around the corner from my hotel. Last night, I ordered the fish. This turned out to be salt fish, deep fried in batter, and a single mild, grilled green chili pepper (and I mean mild!). It was served, however with a salsa, diluted with water, which they called “sauce”, and one of the omnipresent flatbreads. The salsa transformed the meal, and it was a great snack. The price? 13 Dhirams (£1.30) Can’t quibble with that!

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