Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finding an Apartment in Morocco for Dummies

1. Begin by asking everyone you know who they know who has apartments for rent (because, of course, life is all about who you know. Especially true in Morocco)
2. Spend a few hours (all-told, a few days) on, searching the craigslist-esque site for suitable places.
3. Make a million phone calls in as many awkward, stilted languages you know to simsars. Simsars are middlemen/real estate agents…basically well-connected folk who will be happy to show you around, for a price (usually the first month’s rent if you find a place).
4. Take weekend trips from your current city of residence to Rabat, in order to find a place before you have to move out of your old apartment.
5. Get your hopes up.
6. Have that option fall through.
7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 a few times.
8. Move out of previous apartment. Sleep on the floor of saintly friends’ houses.
9. Make a brief trip back to the United States for some emergency medical care. Regroup.
10. Return to Morocco, prepared to settle for the only crappy place in your price range.
11. Make a lot of dinners for the friends who are letting you stay at their house. (thanks again, Sam and Rod!). I repeat: life is all about who you know.
12. Attempt to get some research done in the midst of your house hunt. Have house showings in between research interviews. Often get phone numbers confused. Accidentally ask the head of Morocco’s Human Rights Council if he has a studio for rent in the medina.
13. Have Moroccan friends help you look for places…but then have them only take you to extremely nice (read: expensive) places because they think it’s the only respectable neighborhood for a single American woman to live. But thanks anyway.
14. Most likely repeat step 7.
15. At wit’s end, spend a day fasting and praying for a miracle.
16. Voila! Go see the very last place before settling for something out of your price range. As the door opens, watch the Apartment Miracle unfold.

And here she is: beachfront view off the balcony. Sizeable kitchen. Mostly furnished. Warm & inviting. AUTOMATIC hot water!
It’s an Apartment Miracle, and you’re all invited. Dar darek. My house is your house.

Photo captions:
1. My library and, yes indeed, that is a fountain!
2. My weeny bathroom, which turns into an indoor pool every time I shower, because the shower curtain is too short.
3. Bedroom/sitting room/office. The couch folds down into a bed.
4. Dining room. On the left is my bedroom. On the right is my kitchen.
5 & 6. Sunset views from my balcony
7. I eat breakfast overlooking the Atlantic ocean every morning
8. The magic hour
9. Of course it wouldn't truly be Morcco without a political riot down the street. I was yelled at by a gendarme shortly after this photo was taken.


Anonymous said...

Oh My Gosh. It's fabulous!! Well worth the wait. Enjoy! Lynda

Bridget E. said...

You are HILARIOUS! I love that you called the head of the human rights council for an available apartment :) SOOO glad that you found a place - and a stinkin' gorgeous one at that!! I wish I could eat breakfast with you out on that balcony...and then maybe go out there for a glass of wine at night and look at the stars (can you see the stars?) Unfortunately I'm several g's short of getting there :/

Julia said...

My darling Cath,

IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL!! I will absolutely be coming to visit you! My place is not so fancy (read: no electricity, bucket baths, and pit latrine) but my family is wonderful and you are more than welcome here!

Love Julia (Adama Njie)

La Libertad said...

Cath- You are such an amazing person! I've been reading your blog all morning, marveling at your compassion. Keep on keepin' on sista!

molly rae said...

Yay! It's absolutely perfect!!! Alhamdoulilah :) I wish I was there to watch sunrises with you...