In a small square in Marrakech, where the crotchety veiled ladies sell crocheted hats, the sun beats down on caged chameleons, good luck garden turtles and henna sifters. It’s midday, 30 degrees celcius and the Marakchi (the people of Marrakech) are at home in their skin.
It’s a bizarre bazaar. Talismans, gourds, furs and long amber necklaces hang down from the spice shops like a string of plump Turkish figs. Walking into any one of these shops will suck you into a vortex that one is likely never to escape empty handed or sober. You leave at least drunk on smelling the various heady perfume blocks of amber and jasmine or the overwhelming swoon of ras-al-hanout, a house blend of at least 11-35 spices.
|Paul Grimes smelling the roses at Jalil Belkamel’s aromatherapy garden in Marrakech.|
“My name is Peggy Markel and I haven’t written a blog in over 15 days”. This is what I imagine a meeting at Bloggers Anonymous would sound like. In this case, I confess that I can’t keep up with blogging, or other social media word flow. My life moves fast in the “slow food and travel” lane.
Just this late summer and fall, I have kept moving at the speed of light. I’ve been steeped in poetry, fed warm sheepsmilk ricotta, tasted numerous full-bodied wines, eaten rustic ragus, seafood stews and delicate volutes topped with fennel pollen and drizzles of aromatic oils on various stuffed pastas, meats and frilly fresh salads. I’ve sucked on salt chocolate, cinnamon chocolate, hot Sicilian chocolate and soon to be, ambergris chocolate. I’ve traveled by air, train, ferries, sailboat and zodiac. At times, I switched to donkeys, camels, mopeds and bicycles. Even when I have stopped for a few short days here and there, I am constantly asked to do something, organize something (even a closet), make plans, write out a recipe, think of a plan for next year (but right now), price something, talk to this person, introduce that person, meet these people, re-pack a bag, hop a taxi, book a ticket, or deal with the details of the moment. Old and new friends are constantly coming and going.