When hot water pours so easily from a tap, we tend to take it for granted. Having lived in places where hot water (and water itself) is not a guarantee, I'm delighted and grateful each time the shower provides me with warmth. Hot water is a beautiful luxury, especially if you happen to have a bathtub. Our last three homes have had standing showers, so whenever Pedro and I come across a tub while travelling, we feel like we've hit the jackpot!
As in Turkey, Morocco has a hamam tradition— one which I am curious to experience, as I hear it's quite different. While in Meknès, we were charmed into having a guide take us on a morning tour through the labyrinth of alleyways in the old medina. As I stopped to take a photo of a bright green doorway, our guide explained that this was the entrance to an old hamam. "Come," he said. "I will show you something."
We followed him to another doorway, a simple and unremarkable entrance to a dark space that smelled of burning. Inside, a man in a woolen cap sat in a pile of sawdust, diligently tossing the dust into a hole in a cement structure that breathed flames with each new offering.
This is the man who feeds the fire which warms the water for people to bathe in; his eyes narrowed to tiny arcs from years of caring for the flames. He never looked at us, never paused, never said a word. When I asked if I could photograph him, he gave a slight nod of acceptance while continuing with his work.