Morocco – a last look back!Posted: January 4, 2012
Antonio and I both suffered a brutal bout of some bug in Morocco and it changed the way we viewed things – we became a lot more cautious of what we were eating, and more critical of food hygiene standards!!! – lack of refrigeration and cleanliness. You cannot drink the water in Morocco. Even the locals warn the tourists against it! I had never noticed how easy it is to swallow some water in the shower until it was forbidden to do it! It is a hazard of travel in the country but not a problem for everyone. Fortunately the rest of the family had no issues in their 10 day stay in Essaouira.
A country full of small joys: To be brushed by the musky smell of the fleeting, flowing, colourful cloths draped round faceless women. To listen to the droll, amplified call to prayer, 5 times a day adding an atmosphere somehow thrilling and chilling. To see Souks, saturated with vibrant colour and buzz. Even with having to haggle it’s a shoppers paradise.
Tasting flavours of cumin tainted cous cous, freshly picked almonds, sweet as chocolate dates. In Morocco I discovered the red jewel seed of the pomegranate, perfect over our bananas for breakfast, followed by steaming hot peppermint tea.
Moroccan interiors have a style of their own. Sometimes borrowed from the 50’s or 70’s, often a clanging clash of colour, texture, tiles and fabric. Shapes are inspired from the beautiful curves of the mosque roof lines. Lanterns are metal and tin; timber boxes; woven cushions, all in all the colours of the Souk. Life is a moving feast of colour.
Landscapes; striking, dramatic, prehistoric, jurassic formations; red, rust, chocolate, white, mustard, ochre, gold and occasionally, bright green. Stunning. Setting the backdrop for the struggle of human existence we saw living in poverty in the Draa valley, without the excesses of the west. Without even furniture or cutlery, but maybe with a TV and a mobile phone! It was amazing to see first hand how life will make do with what is surrounding it. Homes built from the mud on which they sit, roofed with the puny tree branches and palms fronds that make their neighbours. What humans have had to endure to exist, all through the Draa Valley. The immediate lushness of an oasis directly on the sometimes trickle of the Draa River, yet moving 20 feet away to find rock and sand, barren, and harsh, continuing for mile after mile after mile.
The people, colourful, fun, funny, friendly and kind. Accepting!
There is something exotic and mysterious about the “Arab!” Man, and the women who follow them, born of the desert and symbolised by free moving robes, caftans, turbans and veils. Beautiful Arabic script, curvaceous and fluid like the water they lack and the sand that is plentiful. Curvaceous and flowing like the spirit of their ancestors that drive in from the desert. The nomad, unbound, yet wanting to share the straight roads and rigidity of the west. Wanting to meld. Like our Arab desert guides, their second foot already lifted, straining against its tie to the past, first foot firmly planted in a modern Morocco and wanting more.
Morocco has been a challenge and a joy. I did not quite have the heartful of Sahara sanddunes I wanted. There is still much to see in the South. We may return!!!
Who knows when that might be! In Morocco, all is in the will of God.