A Riad Conversation
Salaamu Aleikum, Ruby!
Wa aleikum salaam, Madame!
So let's write about where we are right now... it's 10 pm and we're in a riad, Riad Arabesca, chez Gita Sellman. What a place... and what a hostess.
R: Gita's hair is as bright on fire as the lights of the motorcycles we see in the streets of the rose colored medina here in Marrakech.
SPW: We had a full day today beginning with breakfast here at Arabesca: two kinds of bread, three kinds of jam (including figue - j'adore) , hard boiled eggs, cheese (Gouda et La Vache Qui Rit), cucumber, a kind of ham/bologna. Ruby just said that in Botswana it's called Polony.
R: I feel very taken care of, here. The rooms are so beautiful. The one that looks like a honeymoon suite is so romantic.
SPW: and there are so many decorative aspects to our rooms: the fine pottery, lanterns, beautiful woven bed spreads like the textiles we saw being woven in Fes, copper topped coffee tables, the poofs for our feet (ottomans). One student bought one the other day... shhhhh it's a gift...
R: color coded robes, towels, plastic shower slippers, the blankets, the carved walls - on clothes it would be embroidery - and the showers are "real."
SPW: and all the rooms open up onto the courtyard. We are wrapped in lovely shawls and woolen wraps borrowed from the riad - we just learned that it snowed in the mountains where we're headed and none of us has mittens or parkas here!
R: and it has been pouring! My pants were soaked. Today we went on two tours: a museum tour which was interesting and I did learn a lot about the jewelry and instruments and clothes of Morocco's past.
SPW: this museum was Dar Si Said - a house that probably 20 sons and their families lived in. And the palace we saw afterward was the Stork Palace! Badia Palace.
R: We could see the Atlas Mountains from the terrace. And afterwards, we had a tasty lunch.
SPW: more incredible FOOD!
R: We tried lemon chicken which was awesome with the bread. And the kebabs were... ah! I don't know the word.
SPW: Ldid? (= delicious in moroccan arabic)
R: and the dessert: I felt like I was having cookie dough! Then we basically went shopping in the rain. After we all went to the herbalist.
SPW: and some of us had 20 dh shoulder massages as we learned about oils, flowers, saffron grown in Morocco.
R: I got saffron for my Mum which was so inexpensive here. And some mint tea for my family to try.
SPW: I got herbs and spices, too. Since last evening in the Place Djma el Fna I've had tea (spice tea, mint tea or ginger tea) five different times!
R: speaking of tea, the glasses are beautiful. And so are the teapots. In the souk (market) I saw a lot of beautiful cutlery, and not just that. The carpets, scarves, shoes (baboush), lamps,
SPW: aprictos, mint, spices,
SPW: dates, nuts,
R: everything, really...
SPW: we're forgetting the friendly (??), eager vendors!
R: then we had the men singing for the dikhr.
SPW: this was back at Arabesca, between our two blocks of free time: an hour-long introduction to sufi chanting/singing/prayer. Candles lit, us around the salon on the low moroccan sofas, some of us meditating, some dozing, some studying the backs of our eyelids, some watching - here was just another aspect of this culture. OH! We totally forgot this morning's talk/lecture on the Berber culture! Wonderful Mohamed Soudani. Great to see and hear him again.
R: I didn't take any notes, but he was really engaging. It didn't feel like two hours! I was really happy to learn about the positive differences between the women of the Berber cultures and the Arabic city culture.
SPW: and that each of Morocco's kings has had a berber or common (or muggle!) wife. Right up to Mohammed VI whose wife is a Fessie (woman from Fes).
R: I don't know if it's because of where we've been, but more women are covered, here.
SPW: but also, they ride mopeds through the medina, even in their jellabas and veils.
R: I'm trying to end this blog entry: maybe just end with the Friday couscous that we had. Which we cleaned. It was really good: beef, not the usual chicken. And you can talk about the dessert -
SPW: fresh squeezed orange juice mixed with finely shredded carrots! Another delicious moroccan treat.
R: Eeyah, Ldid!
SPW: mizzyan bezzef!