Sunday, April 30, 2017

tunnels of mud and concrete

As temperatures can rise to a maximum of near 40ยบ in Figuig with an unforgiving sun, the older part of the town is a small labyrinth of narrow alleyways that are often covered, forming cool tunnels of relief. More modern homes and walls are made of concrete, but it seems that mud was traditionally used, casting a familiar orange glow when struck by light— the orange of the earth.

Though there isn't much to Figuig other than the palmeraie and humble homes, I was quite taken by the little town. It just felt good— people were warm and kind, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the bleak surrounding landscape is something that appeals to me. Thoughts of returning danced around my head before I even left...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

where the palms lie

In a far corner of Morocco near the Algerian border lies the town of Figuig, a little pocket of green palmeraie surrounded by rocky golden desert.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

the desert

delicious things

While in Dakhla, we filled our bellies with boiled eggs and flatbread with olive oil and cumin for breakfast, the occasional fig, thyme and olive oil jam on crusty bread while on the road, and plenty of seafood and tajines for dinner. There was this wonderful little date-filled pastry (pictured above) that we bought one morning from a bakery that I had been stalking— it never seemed to be open when we we drove by. The pastry was a highlight of the trip as far as food was concerned!

Seafood in Dakhla was another highlight. We often found ourselves indulging in octopus and fish soup at a smokey little joint called Casa Luis.

Now I know this doesn't look very appetizing, but one of the ubiquitous Moroccan dishes that I have come to consider comfort food is the kefta tajine— a clay pot of meatballs simmered in a tomato sauce with an egg for good measure. It's delicious, and pretty much guaranteed to keep you away from any gastrointestinal distress, which is quite common in Morocco. Since tajines, which are dishes named after the distinct clay pot that they are cooked in (a shallow clay pot covered in a cone-shaped top— which you can see behind the tomatoes in this previous post), are simmered on a fire for a significant amount of time, I have found that they are pretty safe to eat. The only cases of horrific bowel distress that I have succumbed to in Morocco came from an accidentally eaten under-cooked shawarma, badly washed raspberries, and a rotisserie chicken. This kefta tajine was lovely, with a little bit of fresh cilantro sprinkled on top: