Marrakesh, Bouchee, and Cemetery Stories.

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Thursday night I received a message from my cousin. It said, “K wants to go to the cemetery this Sat afternoon. You wanted to, too, right?” To which I wrote, “thatd be so cool”. Because visiting cemeteries is one of the best things in the Universe, obviously.

But no, I find them peaceful. I’m quite the proper little goth.

Anyway, so we went. I vigorously type about it further below.

Another thing I can say that I will never look at this song in the same way, ever again.

But yes, the mournful things.

There are several cemeteries in this city. I have family buried in two of them. The first one is a 15-min walk away. It’s a posh cemetery. No sweat visiting that one. There’s asphalt you can walk on, and water you don’t have to carry from a well in a bucket for a mile, and territory you can cover in under two hours tops.

Then there’s the other one, where my mother and grandmother are buried. The cemetery prides itself as “one of the biggest in Europe”, because that’s something to brag about.

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother, whose graves I haven’t visited since 2010 and by this point am a little apprehensive to do so, because I can imagine the mess – anyway, they are buried in block 14.

My mum & gran? 261.

Two hundred and sixty-one.

They keep raising taxes to keep the place going, but honestly, the thing they should do is start selling maps and maybe set up some form of local transport. Mini-minibuses. Could also do with some signs.

But yes, you’d have to have actual paved roads in there first, yeah. Yeah, I forgot about that. See, roads in blocks up to… 230, I guess, they are more or less look like roads. There’s a lot of potholes that look like opened up pits from hell (very atmospheric), but with a little dexterity you can drive through them. 260s, though, is where the fun starts. These are new burials, so there are no roads. No trees. No fence. It’s like this apocalyptic land with small hills, marking each new burial.

And right next to it?

Is a corn field.

When brother and I visited in late June, it was right after some huge downpours. We had serious trouble walking. You either get sucked into mud and lose your shoes, or you have to balance between mud pools on bizarrely formed terrain and break a few legs in the process.

There was no rain this time, so we found our way around with relative ease. When we were at my mum’s and gran’s, cousin borrowed a shovel from a guy right next to us.

“Why would you want a shovel?” the dude asked.
I dunno, why do you have one? my cousin thought, but said, “To remove some bushes of weed”.

“You should’ve told him we’ve got a few fresh ones in the trunk, no talk, no info, lest he wants to be considered an accomplice”, I said.
“He’d have hit her over the head with the shovel, and then we’d have had another one to deal with,” said K.
“Why are we talking about this like we actually do have something to bury?” cousin said.

You know. Cemetery talk.

We removed weeds as some serious club music played in the background. I figure there’s a resort somewhere on one of the nearby hills, and since there’s little vegetation, nothing really muffles their jam. So at one point I may or may not have cleaned up my mother’s grave whilst listening to Satisfaction. And Chica Bomb. ~*~Before I looked around it hit me~*~. Yeah.

As we were leaving, K and I took an interest in a nearby block, which was mostly a bunch of freshly dug up graves, all empty. We questioned the practice, because it’s not really convenient to walk on 20-cm width paths between 6-foot-deep holes in the ground – especially when there’s a coffin to carry and beloved ones to mourn. Plus the soil there is kinda… crumbly? But yeah, the technicalities. They don’t really bother the administration.

After our sojourn to the cemetery, we decided to go get something to eat. Cousin suggested Marrakesh, which is a restaurant in the centre of the city. I’ve never been. So we went.

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doughnuts. they were tasty

I feel the need to rant. The place was not busy. Our order was not large. Tea, doughnuts, salad, izvar (which is like a more potent mulled wine with local flair), and their special kind of appetiser/ garnish, made from potatoes & carrots. I don’t know what was wrong with the service that night – because cousin reports this never happened before – but it took them half an hour to bring these doughuts. Another 10 minutes and a reminder to bring mint tea. And another 30 minutes and a reminder to bring the appetiser. It was tasty, and we weren’t in a rush, but I just wondered.

Having run a cafe, I know that sometimes slow service isn’t the waiter’s fault. A lot of things can happen in the kitchen that the client isn’t aware of, especially if the business is small and relies on one-two people to prepare most of the food. Which is exactly what I said to K & cousin when they started feeling restless. Here, though, this wasn’t the case at all.

I felt like I couldn’t fully enjoy the potato/ carrot thing because the anticipation was too long, and it wasn’t so much pleasure as relief to finally get it.

If you do go there and decide to order their mint tea, be aware that they serve it with sugar, so if you don’t like sweet tea or can’t have sugar, warn them beforehand.

Sunday was the day of our traditional brunch. Cousin and I went to Bouchee, a place we’ve been to before. They’ve expanded and updated, so now besides pastries they also serve soups and pizzas and stuff. I went for a bagel with cream cheese:

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It was crispy and good, but not quite the bagel that I miss from my stint in the US a while back. Still, it’s nice to know that there’s a place in the city that serves bagels with cream cheese at all. It was bigger than I thought it would be, and since Bouchee opens pretty early (8:00), is just a short walk away from my place, and the bagel price is quite decent (a little over a dollar/ under a euro), I might just treat myself to this breakfast on days that I know will be particularly difficult. You can eat it on the go, too. So all is well.

Anyway, so after we ate the bagel (you can see naughty cousin naughtily stealing a slice above), we devoured cream of spinach soup and cherry & nut strudel.

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The spinach soup was a little too thin to be called cream of spinach, but tasted good, so I ain’t complaining. There was a slight hint of coconut in it, which was unexpected, but lovely. And strudel is strudel. If you’re going to complain about a piece of pastry with cherry, we can’t be friends.

I’ll definitely be back to Bouchee, to try more of their pastries and to munch on bagels.

(Not compensated in any way or form to write about restaurants in this post.)

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