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.
Hangers! Hang me! Hang her! WTF??? Ramona, Sonja, and I laughed harder than I did on the boat in St. John last year over hanger-gate -- I nearly fell against the wall. We had gone straight from the welcome tea up to our rooms. Nobody knew where Cindy's room was. It's true that we all brought tons of clothes because we would be changing every ten minutes. Both Ramona and I suggested that everyone bring their own, plus ask the riad to make sure there were plenty. Simon, who has been in the hotel business his whole life, actually reminded me to remind them -- it's a really common problem. Anyway, the blondes all came prepared and were pleased to see that we had many more than needed -- when Cindy came in with her hair on fire, I was happy to give her 10 of mine.
I have to say one thing: Who is Kelly to talk about ex-husband’s homes? Are you kidding me? Kelly had no room whatsoever to take shots at her over ex-husbands and houses post-divorce. Glass houses. LuAnn was absolutely right to stop that discussion.
Jill ran into Brad out shopping -- I knew he had a house in Tangier but didn't know he'd be in Marrakech; what a surprise! For a split second I thought he was going to single me out when he started talking about someone who was rude to him last summer. Simon and I ran into him in the Hamptons and he was really, really weird.
LuAnn and Sonja both organized a series of activities and surprises for us on the trip, and while I didn't organize anything, I did bring scarves and wraps for everyone. I knew some of the ladies were worrying about covering their shoulders and arms, and Kikoy for Kenya, while not Moroccan, is a non-profit organization that makes beautiful pieces. After I passed out scarves, LuAnn kicked things off by bringing a premiere Moroccan designer, Albert Oiknine, to dress us for a night out. . .that you'll see that later.
We needed a log on the fire. It suddenly got very cold, and no one was around. I would rather go grab logs myself (which were right outside the door) than find a staff member -- mainly because I couldn't remember the word for "log" -- or ask the designer. As he's a top designer, he probably does not put his own logs on the fire either! Tee hee.
I got confused when Jill was confused about whether the house belonged to Brad. He told me it was owned by his friend. I wore a pair of blue sequined evening shorts designed by Malan Breton and was having a great time -- between the cobra necklaces and the cute boys to dance with, it was an amazing evening. And we hadn't even gotten to the fortune teller yet!
The fortune teller began, but since this part is "To be continued. . ." I'm going to talk about it next week after we see the rest.
Thanks as always for reading, and please check out our "Thug in a Cocktail Dress" T-shirt collaboration with Housing Works. If you enter IAMREAL25 at checkout you'll get 25 percent off. You can also find us on Facebook as well as Simon's and my Twitter feeds. If you want to know about my clothes (or luggage) this week, the fashion recap is here, and Simon's single "I Am Real" and the Thug in a Club Mix are available on iTunes.
À la semaine prochaine. . .