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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Discovering Morocco


Nothing can prepare us for visiting a place for the first time! Regardless of how much we read, and how many programmes we watch; how much of it's food we cook, and how many people we speak with... nothing is like going and experiencing a place first hand.   Morocco exceeded all the expectations I had!


I had gone to Morocco with humongous expectations. It is no secret that I love Moroccan cuisine and love cooking Moroccan food. I had even posted Moroccan recipes and cooking techniques, as well as posts on cultural Morocco on a few occasions. Most of my fascination with this country took shape through reading what's been written about it, and watching programmes about its cuisine, culture, history... and so on. The more I read, watched and cooked its food, the stronger my desire to visit and actually experience it first hand. I had gone expecting intrigue, a huge cultural experience, amazing food and to be quite frank a life changing experience (you know the type of stuff that can change the way you see life! Yes, I know but true ... )... I had gone with many an unintentional stereotypes, and many expectations... Finally I was in Morocco!!! :))

I don't think that there can ever be enough said about this country. I don't think that all that's been said is enough to explain Morocco. I do think that Morocco is a country that has a powerful effect that can only be known by experience and that effect in my opinion is what's been referred to as the "mystery of Morocco". The country exceeded all my expectations by far.. But even I can't explain it all! I will attempt through these Morocco posts to give you a small picture, but really, go there and consider it time off, because there is an overwhelming sense of reboot that you will feel once you take that journey. However, I must say that if you really want to find this experience in Morocco, you have got to visit a handful of places there because it is a world of difference from one city to another and one interaction to another. Also do go with an open mind, and an open heart and see where that journey takes you, because somehow it will take you to where you need to be! Throw those plans and leave them to another less chaotic destination. As they say "go to where the road may lead" and I guarantee you will understand what I mean by life changing!

While there, I had felt like I had been put in a washing machine on full cycle. I felt like I was being pulled and pushed in every which direction. It was loud, chaotic, normal, abnormal, peaceful, full of struggle, simple, complex, layered, deep, superstitious, realistic, crazy, sane, old, new, freaky, strange, ordinary... and I can go on for ever, because it was all things at once, which explains that washing machine effect! Most of all it was powerful.

While in it, I was so visually and mentally stimulated that I really kept telling myself, "I have to take a moment and let all this sync in". But there was no time at all, it was continuous in your face interesting everywhere you looked and of course being tied with other people and on a project does not allow time for this kind of contemplation. I must admit, I struggled. I felt like I could do more, like I need more time, like I have so much to express, like I needed to write, paint, photograph, call a friend... lol... really I wanted to slow down and take it all in. In it, you don't realise all this, in it you are simply there feeling overwhelmed. However, looking back I know that what I really needed and was looking for is to slow down, and really live it! Remember my resolution about adventure, explore and discover. I was in my resolution, but unable to fully experience it. That is why, I am going back, but next time my way!

Discovering Marrakesh's Tangia

With that said, despite being absolutely scheduled, and getting small tasters of this and that, I had found tremendous inspiration in Morocco. Throughout this adventure I was inspired; in Jordan, Oman and of course the UAE, however most so in Morocco.

One of those brilliant learning moments that I have experienced was during our visit to the Argan Oil Female Cooperation. Those women, whose life is dedicated to the production of Argan oil (perhaps unwittingly) have taught me the world of patience (a virtue that I unfortunately lack and could do with more of). More details in following posts.

Another special moment was meeting the difference between modern day's ambitions and the previous generations' dreams, which has confirmed to me that there is no need to conform, to each their heart and all goes on living (will explain in another post).

I loved the couple we met in Essaouira, they are wonderful and their relationship urges you to take a deep look at today's superficial relationships and why today most relationships are stressed. I have learned that the great superficial expectations are the enemy of all relationships. As here is a couple whose life had tested them to the most. Having lost 2 daughters and struggling with diabetes among other life challenges, they still manage to love each other so deeply that it shows to everyone who meets them. Had they expected a fairytale (most do), had they expected each to be perfect (most do) or had they expected the riches of Solomon (most do) would they have still felt the same way they do having gone through all this?!

But the single most powerful moment I experienced in Morocco was the visit to the Berber family which reminded me why I love the simple life. Their life, their food, their family, their social set up and their smiles... Absolutely perfect. Throw balance out of the windows, because perfection and happiness are simple. Perfection and happiness are content and grateful. Perfection and happiness need no planning, no strategies, no facilities, and no labeled confusions! There is nothing to balance in simplicity because there, balance, perfection and happiness simply are. And I am yet to meet a people more happy than those Berber!

Moroccan Berbers

I really cannot say enough! From what you will find, what you will taste, what you will see, what you will learn... this destination is truly an adventure full of explorations and saturated with discoveries on all levels. #Goforit

Meanwhile, below is a small slideshow of some of these moments take a look and hope you enjoy it.

If this does not convince you to pack NOW, I rest my case ;)
Come back soon for the Stories & Recipes of Morocco...





#Travel #CulinaryTravel  #inspirations  #adventure #explore #discover #culture #food #Morocco #Casablanca #Essauira #Marrakesh #fun #life #goforit

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