Finley’s flight to Tangier was the best kind—uneventful. She made her connection through Barcelona, suffering through the layover by arranging to have breakfast with some former colleagues from the firm, and even managed to catch up on sleep. Her suitcase arrived with the flight, still closed and seemingly intact. And surprisingly, the rental agency had her car ready, and it was fueled and clean.
Driving through traffic made the short trip seem longer than she remembered, but the city appeared just as colorful and curious. A wonderfully quirky port city that connected the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Tangier always maintained its underlying grittiness, despite its efforts at gentrification.
The flair of its squared and whitewashed structures, its unending blue sky and surrounding waters, its quaint winding streets and its passageways filled with overhanging bougainvillea were no match for the cars, motor bikes, donkey carts, and the occasional camel that kept it grounded—and gritty. It was this grit that made it a bohemian haunt decades ago, attracting writers and artists such as William Burroughs and Matisse as well as a raft of other unknown eccentrics. Proximity to the cannabis fields in the nearby Rif Mountains didn’t hurt either.
Finley was reminded of the story that Mama had told her about Malcolm Forbes, of Forbes magazine fame, holding his seventieth birthday party at his Military Miniature Museum in the Palais Mendoub, overlooking the harbor. Apparently, he had flown his guests, including Elizabeth Taylor, over on the Concorde and opened the party to any American in Tangiers that day. Nice, Finley thought. Mooney, with her golden touch, could probably have gotten me on that guest list. But I wouldn’t have had anything to wear!
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