Nancy Metashvili in Morocco
A few months ago, klezmer Nan Metashvili left her old haunts in Alaska for points east. Back in December, she wrote about Burning Bush in York, UK. She is now in Morocco and writes:
Allo, mes amis;
Huddled Parcheesi playing ... cut throat! ... around a tiny blazing fire, freezing in the Rif Mountains—I'm wearing every layer of clothing I have, piled layer upon silken wooly fleecy layer, trying to keep warm in the Rif Kif Spliff Moroccan mountains under a yellow crescent moon. Chef - Mira! - Chaouen 'Look at the Horns of Chaouen' climbing blue cubist arched Medina alley/snickleways up the hillsides; miniscule plazas, olive trees growing up through arbours, stairways leading to balconies rooftops upper twisting lanes, and hidden courtyards, everywhere shades of blue, deep Cerulean mysterious brilliant blue fading to soft almost lavender. So beautiful! A Jewish innovation from the 1930s. sheer genius!
Greetings of Hola!Bonjour!Salaam!—my polyglot mixture of Spanish French and Arabic is mirrored by everyone else.
In the daytime the sun is blissfully warm. The red mud walls of the old Kasbah of Moulay Ali ben Raschid ( 1471) dominate Uta el Hammam Square, and outdoor cafès offer standard Berber food, from the shockingly sweet mint tea like one's worst sugar nightmare to Tajines, wonderful oranges lots of mutton-on-the-hoof as unwilling sheep are dragged through the strteets to their fate; by afternoon carts full of fresh pastries appear. Around the main square gaudy goods are proffered - pushed?- by the usual mixture of con men, in your face salesmen and sweet little old men.
Figures wander through the lanes wrapped in wool Burnouses, pointed hoods keeping off the winter mountain chill and lending a Middle Earth ( Middle Ages?) cast to everyday life. Accenting blue walls and passageways are gorgeous textiles carpets jumpers pottery bags of dyes spices and unknowable lumps of 'stuff'. Tonight I bought a rock which purports to become shampoo when rubbed with hot water! We'll see!
The old Caravansarai, the old Mellah ( Jewish Quarter- Jews arrived in 1494 after being expelled from Spain), a cheerful Eastern Breughelish laundry scene by the waterfall; river rushing down from the spring above town- quite fantastic!
Kanuns are plucked and daraboukas drummed. and five times a day from 25 surrounding minarets there is a hauntingly beautiful call to prayer- our rooftop catches the sun, dries the laundry, shares in the higgledy piggledy Medina life and concentrates the muezzins voices stong as time...
PS. Aziz won the cut throat Parcheesi game!