The night before we left Marrakech, we decided to have a home cooked couscous dinner at our lovely, four-room riad. The French riad owner, Michel, and all the other guests had stayed in for dinner as well: a French-speaking Swiss couple, who, thankfully, spoke English as well; a French couple; and two new guests, a French woman and her daughter, who’d arrived just that night. When the French woman came into the cozy, fire-warmed lounge for dinner, I thought I recognized her—but that was ridiculous. She was French; we were in one of hundreds of riads; we were in the middle of Morocco. But when I saw her again the next day at breakfast, the feeling persisted, and later in the day I placed her: she looked like the heartbroken downstairs neighbor in Amelie.
We saw the woman in the street on our last night, as Simon loaded our suitcase into our airport-bound taxi. She wished us a good journey; we wished her a good stay. “I just have to tell you how much you look like an actress from Amelie,” I said. She nodded. “It’s me,” she said. It was a suitably strange ending to our trip. Of all the riads in the city…an actress from Amelie was staying in ours.