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Day 3: Tangier

Tangier, Morocco 
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Moorish arched gateway in the casbah, Tangier.
Michael Palin - Sahara'When I meet fellow Americans travelling about here in North Africa, I ask them, "What did you expect to find here?" Almost without exception, regardless of the way they express it, the answer reduced to its simplest terms is a sense of mystery.'

Thus wrote Paul Bowles, the American writer who adopted Tangier, in the book that lies where it fell from my bed last night.

Earlier in the evening, a group of elderly Moroccan musicians had played a thin, tinkling version of 'Happy Birthday' for me in the hotel restaurant. It was such an uncompromisingly Arab sound that it was only halfway through that I realised it was 'Happy Birthday' at all, and for that reason alone I shall treasure the memory of it.

It's six o'clock now and I'm trying to shake off the first hangover of my fifty-ninth year. The new day glows cruelly bright behind the curtains and I can't ignore it. I swing myself out of bed, surprised by the cool touch of a marble floor, and throw open the curtains. But the smarter the hotel the less easy it is these days to throw open the curtains, and by the time I've found the right cord to pull and disentangled the net from the main drape I'm seriously irritated and irreversibly awake.
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  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 3
  • Country/sea: Morocco
  • Place: Tangier
  • Book page no: 17

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