After I went and spoke to Farid’s high school English class last week, he and I set up an appointment to have breakfast together this past Monday. The schools all have spring break this week, so he was free during the day. He picked Denise and me up at the hotel about nine o’clock, and we were happy to see that his wife Bouchara and his 18 year old daughter Yasmine, were with him. The coffee shop he chose is a brand new establishment located on one of the main boulevards of Fes and is called La Momie, which I discovered is French for mummy. The restaurant is decorated in an Egyptian motif, with pharaohs, sphinxes, guardian animals, and other images displayed in the traditional style in tile and polished stone. We were quite impressed and happy to see that a number of new establishments such as the one we visited have been constructed in the past few years and seem to be quite successful.
Two years had passed since we had spent time with this family, and we engaged in the universal inquiry as to how family and children had been doing, and their plans and expectations for the future. Like us, they have one daughter and one son, but their children are only half the age of ours. Of course, we also spent time remembering the times together we have had over the past 25 years, though there have been only five or six of those since we returned to the states in 1989. It was a very pleasant time together and we always feel the investment of time in such events is well worth the effort and provides continuity to our relationship.
They were quite dismayed that we would not be able to come to their house for a meal however, and convincing them that we did indeed already have other events scheduled prior to our leaving on Wednesday morning made it impossible. They did extract from us a promise however, that during our next trip to Fes, they would receive our first scheduled visit to anyone’s home, whether lunch or dinner. We agreed to that compromise and assured them that would be the case.
It was almost eleven a.m. by the time we finished both coffee and conversation. Denise needed to complete some shopping and we took a taxi to the “big-box” shopping area in Fes called Marjane. By three o’clock that afternoon, the shopping had been completed, preparations for visits to two other homes for tea had been made, and a short rest enjoyed. The obligations that evening were not for meals, so we thought we might drop by McDonalds for a cheeseburger, sensing the need for a little comfort food before the pastries and tea we would be encountering later.
Denise went to secure a table in the very nice patio area at the local golden arches while I queued up to secure our food. When I came out, I saw Rachid, Bouchara and Yasmine waving at me as Denise took a seat at their table. They were quite pleased that we were going to at least share something akin to a meal, even on this trip. We did in fact extend by about an hour the time we had to spend with them, and they seemed quite happy about that. Even though this second chance to get together before leaving had been provided, they were still adamant that they held the rights to our first home visit on the next trip. We agreed to that, assuring them of our future commitment, as well as our happiness in the unexpected extension of our time together.