After spending a few days visiting Essaouira, Safi and Oualidia, British guy and I made our way to El-Jadida, a small town on the Moroccan coast well-known for its beautiful Portuguese port (as in boats, not wine). Upon arrival we checked into the Hotel Bordeaux.
It was cheap and cheerful and all was going well until about 11:00pm when we were getting ready for bed.
Me: What is that and why did you use my CHACO FLIP TO SMASH IT?!
British guy: It was nothing.
[I wasn't going to be deterred that easily.]
Me: Was it a mosquito?
British guy: No...
Me: Was it small?
British guy: Yes. Sort of.
Me: Why are you still looking for it? Did you kill it? Oh my God. Was it a roach?!!!
It was. I tried to be philosophic about it. Really, I did. Instead of screaming and fleeing the scene I sat on the bed with my knees up to my chin and compulsively scratched every inch of bare skin. But the problem with roaches is that there is never just one. Never.
Sure enough they suddenly started surfacing behind the curtains. We went through our stuff and found them skittering along the sides of our backpacks. I suggested that we burn everything, but British guy said that was a ridiculous idea. Sometimes he feels threatened when I come up with good ideas. Or maybe he's just so used to my ideas being ridiculous that it was an automatic reaction. Or he's just attached to his Karrimor pack. It's 15 years old. He had to super glue it back together on this trip.
In reality I am certain that we only saw a total of 6 or 7 roaches. In my head however it was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There was no way I was going to sleep that night. I planned to stand in the middle of the room all night armed with one of British guy's shoes (I'm not killing them with my shoe. That's gross) and whatever pesticide spray I could find at 11:00p.m. in El-Jadida Morocco. Nevermind that I am an environmentalist. These are roaches we're talking about. Roaches. I don't care what sort of chemicals are in that spray as long as it results in a dead bug. And there was no way I was turning any of the lights off. That's when they get you.
Our original intention had been to camp along the coast, but the pouring rain had driven us to this hotel. The roaches as well it seemed. It was a nice enough hotel, but it was a budget hotel. At 13 euro a night for a double room we could hardly complain and the admonition "you get what you pay for" rang in my ears.
I bemoaned the fact that we wouldn't be sleeping safely in a 0.5 person tent far away from roach infested hotels.
British guy suggested pitching the tent on the bed in the hotel room.
Sometimes he has really good ideas.
Except that two people in a 0.5 person tent with only one little mesh panel in a tiny hotel room in a very warm climate is only slightly more comfortable than sleeping in a bed with no sheets in a roach infested hotel. It was the equivalent of sleeping in a sauna wrapped in non-breathable nylon. This particular tent is not a stand-alone tent and despite the fact that we tied it as best we could (well, British guy did. I stood in the center of the room and made sure that no roaches touched me) the tent kept sagging lower and lower until it was basically a bivy sack. And then there was the TV stand. Personally I would gladly have foregone a TV (it was the only hotel we stayed at that had one) in favor of a roach-free sleeping environment, but it seems that the hotel management did not share this sentiment.
Once we (British guy) had the tent set up, we climbed in and it was only then that I realized we were sleeping directly below the TV stand protruding from the wall.
Me: Do you think it's safe to be sleeping under the TV stand?
British guy: What?
Me: Well what if it collapses. We'll be killed instantly or severely maimed at the very least.
British guy: I don't think the TV stand is going to collapse.
Me: This hotel has roaches. Anything could happen.
At this point British guy got up and out of the tent to check to see if the TV stand was securely fastened to the wall. It was. But I still had nightmares about rogue TV stands falling out of the sky while being chased by rabid coyotes in the Negev (There aren't any. But it never hurts to double check).