I had been in Spain for almost a week. At the end of the first week, my two friends joined me at the beautiful resort. Tired of talking to myself and wandering around alone, I was looking forward to their visit. During that 2nd week we visited Mijas, a quaint, picturesque village; Seville, historic, cultural, and financial capital of Southern Spain; Gibraltar where we visited St. Michael’s Cave and the monkeys that roam freely about the area; and the Casbah, a walled city in Tangier, Morocco.
I’d seen Casablanca, the 1940’s movie staring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid, and couldn’t wait to see that area of Tangier where such intrigue took place. Before entering the Casbah, our guide warned us all to keep up with the group as the Casbah is made up a maze of streets and alleys where one could easily get lost. We were also warned to watch out for pickpockets who preyed on unsuspecting tourists. He added that we would encounter many vendors trying to sell their wares and to be “careful how you open your purses or wallets.” Armed with these warning almost put me in a state of panic. I don’t know about the others, but I was on guard. As our guide led us through the Casbah pointing out different sights, all I could think about was his warning. “Keep up with group and watch out for pickpockets.” When I spotted several young men in green-stripped tee shirts moving among us, I clutched my purse even tighter. When vendors approached, while I wanted to examine their wares, I dared not stop. One vendor was offended about my refusal and asked derisively, “Why are you here if you don’t want to buy?” Despite this, there were many memorable moments even if I can’t remember them.
Back to our resort. The end of the week fast approached but not the end of our adventures. The weather was hot and humid and since our apartment had no air conditioner, we were forced to leave the windows and door to the balcony opened to catch whatever breeze happened by. One morning, one of my friends was awakened when she felt someone standing at the foot of her bed. Thinking it was me, she didn’t pay much attention at first. But when she opened her eyes she saw a man bending over the nightstand where she had her bag. She shouted, frightening the man who headed for the balcony door. We watched him leap from balcony to balcony carrying a basket filled with other tenants’ valuables. Lesson learned, when traveling, don’t leave valuables lying around openly. When we reported it to the front desk, they denied knowing anything about it. Suddenly I understood why this beautiful resort had so many empty rooms. The next day my friends flew back to the U.S. leaving me alone to spend one more day and night at the resort.