I'm tickled that the grand, if modestly perceived, turning known as the spring equinox occurs as I turn myself and begin the long backtrack to Regina (but don't get excited, my peeps. I'm not home until May5). First step, the same hotel room in Tangier I vacated four days ago. How satisfying, a couple of hours ago, to arrive in a place I know instead of have to figure out.
Now, a couple of delicate matters. My experience of this country, brief as it is, includes two prominent responses. First, in a religion-dominated culture like this one, (a) there's no liquor in the cafes, and (b) no women. A woman would have to speak for herself of her life in this culture. But from my perspective as a writer whose office is a series of cafes, well, these places are deprived of at least half of their vitality, and then another half when I can't get a beer or a glass of wine. That doesn't leave much. Who wants to sit in a place filled with old men, even young old men, like me?
I exaggerate, but come on, Morocco.
On the plus side, the food. Absolutely stunning. My lunch just now: a plate of saffron couscous topped with chicken topped with a kind of raisin relish with boiled carrot, zucchini and chick peas on the side and, the clincher, a tiny bowl of a sauce the woman described as "piquante"--let's say flat-out killer hot. And a bowl of onion soup. These things were familiar, but the exquisite delicacy of tastes entirely new. I could go on in that vein about breakfast this morning in Fes, dinner last night, street vendors in the medina, and so on.
What brings these two sides of the Morocco coin together for the moment is the place I had the couscous: the Darna restaurant in Tangier. A women's co-operative. I'll be going back there for sure.