My time in Morocco
A ferry ride of a couple of hours across the Strait of Gibraltar from Southern Spain to Northern Africa can get you on a time machine to travel a century back in time.
Morocco in Northern Africa is the exotic land of native Berbers, Atlas mountains, Busy ports, with the mighty Sahara occupying two thirds of the country’s land area. Square Minarets, Argan trees and Mint Tea are unique to the country.Chief economic activities are Farming, cattle rearing, fishing, food processing, textiles & Mining. Thankfully no oil is discovered here, thereby denying the capitalists any chances of discovering weapons of mass destruction or triggering new wars.
Apart from an elected Government, the country is also under Monarchy. The present King of Morocco married a commoner, the daughter of a school teacher, and the Royal couple together are working to bring on reforms, in the fields of economy, finance, housing, education etc. The economy of Morocco in manufacturing & food processing industries is getting a boost with the aid from European Union.
Moroccan cities are cosmopolitan in nature due to invasions from southern Europe, leading to fusion styles in cuisine, language and crafts. Native Berbers believe in” Blind architecture”, and houses are built with high walls affording no views from outside.
The must see & feel in Morocco are : the madness of Marrakech markets, narrow lanes of Fes Medina, architectural beauty of Casablanca mosque, French-style mansions in capital city of Rabat, maritime trade in port city of Tangier and the green plateaus of Atlas mountains.
Marrakech is the most visited city, The beautiful Bahia palace with the artistic tile work and colourful gardens is a must see. With Snake charmers and camel herders still in brisk business, Marrakech markets retain the old world charm. Bargaining in trade has been a part of the culture and over centuries, has been refined into an entertainment and an art form.
Fes is the cultural capital of Morocco and a world heritage site. It is amazing how dense, concentrated & compact the houses are built in the old city. Shopping in the Medina, navigating the labyrinth of narrow lanes, finding the way out from this maze are amazing experiences. The natives are majorly into family professions and till today carry on the traditional crafts of tannery, wood carving, pottery , metal craft, glass making and weaving, using the same tools and methods practiced by their forefathers. It is very interesting to see a neighbourhood bakery in Medina of Fes, where customers bring the dough and get the bread baked in the huge terracotta oven.
Time stands still in the hinterlands, lifestyles are unhurried and unchanged, Home made paellas slow simmer in tangerines on coal fired stoves and life moves on at it’s own pace. To summarize
While the rest of the world has clocks, Morocco has the time !!