7 Mar 2020 – 9:23 GMT – 9°C Light Drizzle – Co. Longford, Ireland
That last night in Agadir, the concierge booked us into The Admiral restaurant, a recommendation I got from the guidebook in my hotel room. We drove over at 1930. It was closed. Very closed. Very, very closed. Think American ghost towns with tangleweed drift. Peeling paint. Corrosion. Our Moroccan driver suggested another place. Great fish, though really just a roadside bistro. No alcohol for my guests. Thin cats stalking among the street side tables, hoping for morsels we were never going to share. Beggars looking from across the street but not begging. Reminded me strangely of lepers in Burma.
In Burma, mindful of avoiding the attentions of the soldiers and police charged with ridding society of beggary, we formed sticky rice into balls around morsels of fish and chicken, then rolled them across the room and out the door to very grateful starving sick people. Five lepers, people who theoretically did not exist since their disease had been officially eradicated. All of this out of sight of five policemen lunching at the table next to us. The proprietor silently signing his endorsement of our subversive actions. We later learned there was a struggling charitable institution just outside town that did its best for them. Not sure what the protocol for beggars is in Morocco. Turns out, the bistro owner was present and guess what. He used to own The Admiral but sold it in 1997. He was sure it closed down by the new owners many years ago. My confidence and sense of humour were both restored after the hotel concierge was quizzed by one of my party. So the concierge called the number for the restaurant again and it was answered again. The Admiral of the Agadir Yacht Club expressed surprise that a booking of four honoured guests from the hotel failed to show. The number for the restaurant had been reallocated in bizarre coincidence to the AYC.