On a strange and wonderful trip through Morocco in the hell on wheels of a guided tour, we stopped in Massa for lunch. It was here, according to legend, that Jonah was regurgitated by the whale. The bus jostled and bumped down a dirt road, between shuttered shops and small groups dozing in shaded doorways. But walking along, squeezing away from old men whizzing by on mopeds, to a place with tall walls and bright yellow arched gates, we stepped into a dazzling white-pink set of courtyards. In shockingly high sun, every inch of the walls glowed with light, and stepping inside, to interlocking arched white rooms, I shivered at the dark coolness.
We were greeted by a portly chap, clad in gleaming white, topped by a smile as wide as the ocean. "I feel like chicken tonight!" he announced, with great glee, then paused, waiting for congratulation or laughter. Uh, yes. "Chicken tonight! I feel like chicken tonight, chicken tonight, chicken tonight!"
We got the grasp of this, and applauded, and nodded politely at his grand performance. He bustled around, placing wide baskets of bread on each table, dispensing cold cans of Budweiser, tepid bottles of water, and white plates overflowing with impossibly rich honey. "Chicken tonight!" he cackled, and vanished again, popping his head back through an arched window, "Welcome! Ma-ha-bah! Wel-come! Sheers! Sheers!"
And I sat, smearing my bread through the golden honey, and shrinking back into the corner so I didn't have to listen to all the gabblings of "Oh, isn't he a funny chap! Chicken tonight? Ha-ha! How delightful!"
Our host came back, with a musical instrument this time, and performed an encore.