Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Little Afternoon Whine Wine

A week or two ago, I received a phone call from our friend and fellow gin & tonic poker-aficionado Mr. N who was bursting with good news. He saw, on a rather grotty side street (Dayat Aoua to be precise) in lower Agdal, just past Dirty Label Vie (as opposed to Clean Label Vie in Souissi), a brand-spanking new, yet-to-be open Nicolas wine shop. Its location on this particular street ... in this particular neighbourhood of Agdal ... in Rabat ... in Morocco for that matter ... was about as incongruous as a Carmelite nun at an Al Qaeda bootcamp in the foothills of Afghanistan, but there it was. A spiritual oasis - an oasis of spirits - in this otherwise dull little city. Not to be thwarted by a locked door, Mr. N had knocked on the plateglass and was told that the store would be open soon. His confidante was true to her word.

Mr. Cat in Rabat and I have a personal connection with this wine shop - a handful of years ago when we had eloped to Paris, we would pass the Nicolas shop located near the École Militaire métro stop every day as we set out to explore the city. So today, we decided to make the onerous trek to pay our respects, to pay homage, and to pay for a bottle or two of wine at Rabat's own Nicolas.

The walk through lower Agdal will never be featured in "A Walking Guide to Rabat", nor should it be. As readers of my blog are well aware, the sidewalks of the city are fraught with urban landmines that ensnare walker's ankles and feet in their nefarious maws. If one were to look hard enough, I suspect that the entrance to Hell might be found lurking among the city's ubiquitous gaping holes. Nonetheless, off we went, winding and wending our way, with virtually no incident. Yes virtually. Although we would amazingly not have to jump into the bushes to avoid becoming road paste (that would be on the return trip), we would have to watch as a 12-year old girl repeatedly rolled a large rubber ball at a cat - at the cat's head to be exact - while it was eating its lunch. A local hanoot owner had kindly set out a dish of chopped meat for the cat and the girl, who by all rights should have been cut up and fed to the cat, stood a few paces away. And rolled her ball, aiming squarely at the cat's head. And hitting the cat's head. Then repeated the process.

Poor puss. Vile child.

As we approached, the child's mother was standing a few metres aside shouting something to her, presumably reprimanding the girl - or possibly telling her to lob the ball overhand - who knows? When she did it again - again hitting the cat - I asked her what in God's name she was doing. I would have to check with Mr. CinR but I may have raised my voice. I'm not certain. For good measure, I added a hand gesture known the world over to indicate that I thought she was fucking insane. She stared at me blankly (perhaps my suspicions were well founded) and her mother glowered at me as we passed by. Yes, I know that it's one thing to censure your own child and another thing for a stranger to do it. It's also yet another thing to hit an animal repeatedly in the head.

We continued on our way. The Devil Seed Child continued rolling her ball. The cat continued having its meal interrupted.

We arrived at Nicolas. It was as exciting - and woefully empty - as we had anticipated. It is a veritable candy store of wine and spirits, and although today we could only afford its more modest offerings, we walked out blissfully content with two bottles from their Les Petites Recoltés collection: a rosé and a white, sun-kissed summery wines of pink and chartreuse from the Languedoc. For 30 dirhams each. Can life get any better? Undoubtedly, but not in Agdal.

Thanks to Mr. N. for his excellent eyesight.


Blogger knarf said...

How much is 30 dirhams?

4:10 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

$3.97715 CAD

4:45 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:46 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Wow - that's cheap wine!

I wonder how much it would have cost in Paris?

6:59 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

€ 2.90

9:24 p.m.  
Blogger monsieur mike said...

I am greatly excited from afar of this auspicious event. I wonder if there will be one opening in Fes sometime. Thanks for the news.

4:48 a.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

Perhaps you can lob your empty wine bottles at the child's head the next time she's eating her dinner.

1:06 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possible sighting in Morocco.

6:51 p.m.  
Blogger taamarbuuta said...

WOW WOW WOW. Wine store!

I would have beaten that girl severely. Poor kitty. Wonderful hanout owner. I really respect those guys. My butchers have a horde of kittens that come by each night for scraps.

12:06 p.m.  
Blogger zippideedoodle said...

Will check out the shop this afternoon. But sounds like the deal can't beat the very good Spanish red, Don Simon Tempranillo, that you can get at the dirty Label Vie for 26 Dirhams. I think they have a special wholesale deal with the vintenor because there have been tons of this stuff available for many months. Doesn't seem to dry up. Thanks for the tip from Upper Agdal, 16th Novembre. Z

7:07 a.m.  
Blogger Di Mackey, Photographer said...

Congratulations ... memories came back to me, of the Turkish red forever after known as 'teacher's little helper'.

6:57 a.m.  
Anonymous WoW Gold Guide said...

good post

9:55 p.m.  

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