Saturday, April 16, 2011
I had never been in the desert when it rains before. This was a first.
The dark clouds moved into the Palmeria in Marrakech, and I watched the palm trees fix their leaves firmly to the rights side of my window view. The ginger colored sand and dirt darkened in color as the rain fell. A hot date with a hammom, a pair of soft leather baboush to cover my cold toes, and a dinner of warm tangine never felt so good. The tangine is a traditional Marrakech dish made only by men- lamb or beef are cooked on the bone, in a clay vase buried in Hammom ashes. It's different than a well known tagine which has more of a steaming effect while cooked over an open fire.
My recent trip to Morocco was one with a familiar scent. Bits of India still lingering on my skin, words, and the yoga classes that I lead each morning on rooftops under African sun. The reconnection with Morocco and it's beautiful people was an easy one, like bumping into an old friend. And the organized chaos when stuck in a traffic jam out of the airport of trucks, bikes, camels and donkeys felt comforting and alive again.
"Moroccan woman have delicious hands" - Our beautiful chef, Bahija says as she tosses hot barley coucous with her bare hands. We season finger-fulls of appropriate spices into our slowly caramelizing onions and raisins which will top the 2 hour-steaming couscous. Bahija and Peggy pick up the finely ground powder and hold it at a slight angle above the onions. With a quick twitch of momentum in the wrist, the cumin, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric come raining down like a fine mist. Touching every exposed onion in sight. The steam sends up clouds of spice. The ginger burns your nose sightly as it rises back up.
3 weeks of warm Barley bread, rose scented aragon oil, 100 year old Moroccan rugs, spontaneous 3 day camel safaris, oranges dusted with cinnamon, goats in trees, and ginger rain in the dessert of north Africa.
Didn't think I would write these words so soon... but.... I am, yet again, boarding a plane tomorrow.
More soon..... x -A