And away we go!
What a trip -- a clear line was drawn between the blondes and the brunettes, for better or worse, beginning with the flight to Marrakech. I was sad to see that the dumping on Ramona, and to a lesser extent Sonja and me, began even before she arrived. Let me tell you about some of the lead-up.
We all pitched in together to get ready for the trip, including emailing websites of riads (villas) back and forth. When Simon and I visited Marrakech before, we stayed at the Hotel Mamounia, but with the ladies it wasn't practical to stay in a hotel. We'd all be isolated in our rooms with no places to gather together, so a riad was the way to go. I think the first place we looked at online scared everyone -- and we looked at a few that were not conducive to a girls' getaway. Also, the original itinerary had us landing in Casablanca and taking the bus halfway across the country. I'm completely up for adventures, but some of our group are less willing to give up their creature comforts and honestly even I didn't want to ride the bus.
Bottom line, I think everyone was a little anxious about going on this trip together, whether it was about the destination or the travel partners, or both. Was Ramona asking a lot? Yes. Was she asking for anything beyond what our trip advisors assured all of us we would have? No. I'm sure it was fun for LuAnn and Jill to snipe about her being a diva, but everyone was told to put in their own requests, so complaining about it afterward is a little disingenuous.
So, the three blondes arrived and found the car. I was sorry that we didn't get to see the long conversation the driver and I had about how the city had and hadn't changed in the years since I'd been there; I was trying to reassure the girls. Oh well. We arrived at Jnane Tamsna, which is in La Palmerie district and was beautiful beyond measure. The staff were fantastic, despite constantly being harangued by the ladies. Pop quiz, who tortured the staff the most that week? Hint -- not Ramona.
We all dove into the mint tea, the traditional daytime beverage of hospitality, and tried to stay awake. It had been a long flight, and since it was important to talk and spend time together while flying, it was hard to sleep so I think both shifts of travelers arrived tired. I excused myself and passed out for a few hours. Ramona and Sonja couldn't sleep, and decided to take a drive over to the Mamounia, which is where many New Yorkers and Parisians stay. We had talked about it on the way over, and once the girls came back, they were completely refreshed and on board with the trip. They had run into people we all know, gotten the "lay of the land," learned that the riad we were staying in was top-of-the-line and first rate, and were ready to have some fun.