Ouazzane to Chefchaouen

(This chapter continues from two chapters ago…)

It is a bright and sparkly morning and after our Yoga session inside the van, we take a stroll down to the house, marmalade in hand. The dogs and the geese make a real racket when we approach, and the woman I met the day before waves us into her courtyard where she has prepared a lovely breakfast for us, with fresh bread, scrambled eggs and olives from her own garden. We have our limited conversation on the topic of our respective families. How I wish I could speak a bit more Arabic! We spend a lot of time just smiling at each other and showing each other photographs, but somehow we manage to exchange quite a bit information about our lives. The 21-year old daughter is at home, meticulously sweeping the yard with a broom in one hand while holding her mobile in the other, on which she receives a constant flow of messages from her fiancé.

It is ok to speak about this in the presence of the mother, and it ellicits a happy smile in the daughter, so I presume all is going the right way for everyone in this family, and it’s not long until the marriage.

When we leave, we are showered with gifts – Olive oil, freshly pickled olives, Beldi Lemons and we ‘retaliate’ with a jar of Frank’s marmalade. We invite the mother and daughter to come and have a look at our van and they extract a promise from us that we come and visit again next time, insh’allah.

On our way to Chefchaouen we stop once more to buy more pickled olives and beldi lemons from a family with a roadside stall. We chat for a while in the morning sun before heading off again. Just as we’re saying good bye, they bring out a litre of Leban beldi as a gift.

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We have two important missions today: Frank needs to find somewhere to watch the 6 nations Rugby match and I want to buy myself a shorter, more westernised version of my Jellabah in Chefchaouen, one which won’t look too strange once we come back into Europe.

We find a place to park Emma in town and go and explore. It’s amazing how much less energy it takes to go to a place that you’ve been to before. When you know a few things already, such as where to park, and how to get to the town centre from there. There’s something to hold on to, a familiar structure that allows you to economise with your senses and go about your business with more clarity. And yet, straight away, the mind looks for new things. We choose a different route up into town, one that leads through some back streets. We pass the workshop of a very skillful carpenter working on various Andalusian designs. He kindly takes the time to show us the various patterns. Some of it is highly decorative writing. i find it impossible to see the letters, even after a few months of reading practise…

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We then head for the top of town to the cooperative where we bought or first jellabahs. However, I don’t find what I’m looking for there, so we stroll back through the old town. I see two jellabahs that I like but only buy one.

After a delicious lunch, Frank settles in to watch Rugby in the van and I head out to buy vegetables – and the other jellabah that I saw but didn’t allow myself to buy earlier. Maybe I want to hold on to Morocco…

It is dark by the time we leave. Frank has seen his two games of rugby, and I, the Minimalist, have managed to obtain two extra jellabahs, in addition to the one I already owned!


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