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Want something for your new house in Marrakech? There’s someone who can build it or make it. Need it today? No problem; they’ll at least show up and measure the space for you, find out what you want, and take a downpayment. Then they might be back tomorrow to confirm what you said, ask a few more questions, and then voila! It’s finished!

I’ve seen the “cushion man” about 5 times. That’s not all his doing, though. I keep adding things to the list to make: a curtain covering the kitchen so the team can work in privacy, a cover for the pool that the previous owner claimed to have yet never delivered, shades for the terrace so we can sit without glaring sun, and now cushions for the new chairs and daybed! And the price? You’d die if you knew. Or at least move here and begin an export business…

Already the kitchen has been tiled, the plaster repaired and painted. The TV has been installed and positioned above the fireplace. The “wood man” has been here to measure for the cabinet and desk the team will use for house management and clients. Massive quantities of household goods have been carted down the narrow streets to this house by donkeys and men. It’s been a flurry of movement; constant comings and goings. And it’s been a lot of fun.

The only problem so far really has been with the representative of the previous owner, who is not a decent man. Looking like a young Jack Nicholson (whom I love), this guy looks flashy and untrustworthy. He stands out like a sore thumb in this traditional neighborhood filled with djellaba, hijab, and drab colors with his pink/purple striped shirts, straight-legged green pants, and loafers. Cute outfit in any other setting, except here it looks shifty and shady. He fake-smiles when he says ‘salaam alycom’ but the eyes are dead. He’s not nishen. ‘Nishen’ means straight, direct, honest in Arabic, and this guy is anything but. We refer to him as the mafia.

Turns out he has a long line of haters from the neighborhood, especially with the immediate neighbor. Mr. Shady promised him a new wall, among other things, and apparently never delivered. The neighbor is livid and says if he lays eyes on this man he will go crazy. I’m thinking now that that’s why Mr. Shady won’t come around.

The guy says he’ll call, he doesn’t. Says he’ll show up at a certain time on a certain day, and he doesn’t. Says he will bring the pool cover, but I know he won’t because I’m sure he never had one since there are no hooks in the tile to which to attach the thing. He took the faulty (and new) washing machine out of here and never returned the correct one. He won’t answer his phone and if he does he’s just lying anyway so what good does it do. He’s awful.

But if these are the only things to be wrong so far with a home bought in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language, in a culture you are just learning to understand, that’s not bad!

So I’ll just have the “cushion man” make a cover for the pool for a good price. And if I need to buy a washing machine, I will. Anything to get away from this young Jack Nicholson character and proceed with my plans!