Last night we went for a stroll in search of supper, having said we might come back in half an hour or so. That was a mistake, because this morning Farid the manager said that he had waited for us, and that the custodian had told him that we hadn’t returned until 11.30. Supper was not a mistake. The usual couscous and soup, no better no worse than usual, followed by wonderful Berber drumming, all rolling rhythms and weaving accents. I confess that I would love to have had the courage to get involved; I think I could. Maybe tonight.

We ended the evening smoking a cigarette with Hassan, who had a little shop opposite the hotel and had been happy to sell us two cigarettes. He belonged to one of the eight families who live in the kasbah proper. Just inside the main gate, he told us.

“What was that like?”
“I was born there, I live my whole life there.”

And yet he had a good grasp of how much his village owed to its status as a World Heritage site and the prosperity that tourism had brought. We asked him about the movies that were made there, and he told us that he had seen Brad Pitt most recently, making Babel. Maybe they would make another film next month. And having seen how they make movies, like Gladiator, he thought it was different to see those movies on TV; not so good. Then back through the black night, the Berber drums faintly audible, to our bed, reflecting that sharing a smoke is a good way to share a conversation too.

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