Morocco, Week Two

Week two was a bit more challenging for me, but not because I was having any less fun. I decided to fast for the first week of Ramadan, and gained a new appreciation for those who keep it up the entire month. Yesterday was my last day of fasting, and boy was I glad to start eating breakfast again today! During Ramadan, especially toward the middle of the afternoon, everyone in the city seems drained, crabby, lethargic. I was cautioned against taking unnecessary risks while crossing the road in the evening,1 have been dressing a bit more conservatively, and now know what it’s like to go fourteen or more hours without food or water. I’m glad I did it, but I’m also glad to be getting back into healthier eating habits at the start of my third week.2

Despite the constant hunger, I packed plenty of activities into my second week. Besides working every day, I bought fresh vegetables and fruit from the market for the first time.3 I bought a blender and broke my fast with smoothie made from my newly acquired fresh fruit, then made pasta sauce from scratch the following day. I even wrote a poem.

On the weekend, I went with friends to Asilah, an artists’ city close to Tangier. Wandered the streets, taking far too many photos. Watched children jumping from rocks into the ocean. Found patterns cast by the sun onto old walls, and explored all the most colorful streets. Visited a greenhouse owned by my friend’s father, and wandered through rows of roses. Heard birds flying in and out. Discovered a colony of snails. Couldn’t stop smiling.

That evening, I attended a concert at the American legion of traditional Moroccan music. It was a 12 or 13-man band, each playing a different instrument–some familiar, some not–and the music was just gorgeous. First time I’ve heard anything like it. Followed it up with some yummy treats, including a mysterious crescent-shaped filled pastry4 that was just heavenly. Sat on a rooftop with friends, night breeze on our faces, and spied a few shooting stars.

  1. Everyone speeds home to eat as soon as the sun sets! []
  2. Pretty sure I lost a couple of pounds just in that one week, and have been called “skinny” by friends and colleagues more times in the past five days than in the past five years put together. []
  3. I spent the equivalent of $7.50 on two huge bags of food. Not bad, eh? []
  4. Update: it’s called Kaab el Ghazal, or “Gazelle Ankles”. In France they’re “Cornes de Gazelle”.  Almond paste, orange flower water, cinnamon. []

3 Responses

  • The photo of the white houses with blue blue trims reminds me of the houses on the Greek islands we visited a while ago. What sorts of instruments were being played? I would have loved to hear the music (you know how I am about music.)What was photographed in the last picture?

  • Fasting for a whole week must have been tough. Did it make you cranky, too? I’ve tried fasting, but only for a day at a time. Never thought of breaking it with a smoothie, though.
    Can I find the Moroccan music on the Net?

  • faith: I’m sure I’ll leave some out, but they definitely had flutes, an oud, a rabab, a lute, a violin, and hand drums (darbuka). I’ll see if I can find you a recording. The last picture is of a mural painted on the wall in Asilah. The walls there were covered with artwork, most of it very good. That particular painting was my favorite.

    Rosa: Not too cranky, no. If I started to get grouchy, I’d remind myself that it was probably because of the hunger, and that I didn’t actually need to be upset. Smoothies are surprisingly filling! Usually I don’t need to eat again for a couple of hours after drinking a large smoothie.

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