Lalla Koute greets us in an open courtyard many times larger than Lasry's. It is a garden, really—its quadrants thick with orange and lemon trees, a fountain in the center, and long salons at each end. In the kitchen, surprisingly unadorned for a house this grand, Koute, in a fawn-colored djellaba, welcomes us in good English: ''Any time is teatime in Morocco.'' (It turns out she's been to UC Berkeley.) We follow her through the garden to a salon and, removing our shoes as she does, join her husband, Said, a policeman, and a young student named Mohammed Sebti. Koute brings us plates of homemade pastries—crescent-shaped hlal, or moon cakes; smid, topped with sesame seeds; feqqas., which look like biscotti—and bowls of mixed dates, figs, walnuts, golden raisins, and peanuts. Then she twice pours the tea into a glass and back into the pot and finally, from a height of two feet, into our decorated tumblers. We sip the minty warmth of its welcome. ''We did not do this especially for you,'' she explains. Lasry elaborates: ''You prepare these things every day for guests, and every day someone comes. In Morocco, you never ask why. We are here for reasons we cannot explain. God will never let me meet bad people. I met these people last week because I wanted to show you something.'' After an hour, Koute sprinkles our hands with orange-flower water from a silver ewer and bids us good-bye. Inexplicably, Mohammed joins us.