One of the many beauties about travelling are the valuable lessons for life I have learned from different cultures, different traditions, different points of views.
Morocco is evoking the value of love of detail.
As I was strolling through the narrow windy streets of Marrakesh, my gaze jumped from one little ornament, colorful tile and wooden carving to the next one. I have always had a thing for décor, architecture and interior design, and Morocco is clearly the land of milk and honey for such a fondness. But the amount of detail, intricacy and love those artisans have put into every little nook and cranny is simply mesmerizing. Sure, it wasn’t always their choice. If a sultan or vizier wanted to immortalize himself, it wasn’t the craftsmen’s choice to climb up to the highest and most remote corner of the ceiling and paint or carve exquisite details.
But this love of detail can be seen on a smaller scale amongst the mortals and in everyday life here wherever I look. On a beautiful blue door, I caught a glimpse of its delicate, adorned knob. One might ask, why would someone spend so much time engraving a doorknob?
During the course of a cooking course, Chef Joussef, the eldest of the village and I sat under a shady tree and the head of the village started preparing the tea – an essential and central ritual in Moroccan culture. “Do you know the 4 points necessary for preparing tea?”, Joussef asked. “A teapot, hot coal, water/ingredients– and patience”. Here, tea is not consumed chiefly to quench one’s thirst, and never in a rushed manner of a “to-go” version. It is celebrated, slowly, carefully, attentively. Firstly, green tea is simmering away for an hour in the pot sitting on hot coals. Then, fresh mint, verbena, citronella and sage are added together with sugar to bring out the flavours of the herbs. And instead of stirring the sugar and risking scratching the bottom of the pot, the tea is poured forth and back between pot and glass, lifting the pot higher and higher, making it a mesmerising and soothing spectacle- and leaving plenty of time for socializing. “We drink tea to socialise with others, therefore it is very important to take a lot of time in preparing the tea and to always enjoy tea together with others”. There it was again, this incredible love of detail.
Have many people looked at every single one of those carvings and paintings in the distant corners of palaces and houses? No. Are they (or adorned doorknobs) necessary? No. Does a meal taste any better with a flower decoration made out of tomato peel and does tea prepared over many hours make you less thirsty than instant tea? No.
But to me it brings a big smile to my face, joy, admiration for the necessary patience, and appreciation.
Intricate details on buildings. A smile from a person sitting on the street, making eye contact with you. A lovingly produced decoration on your plate of food. Good conversations over a tea ceremony. The few minutes someone takes to walk you back to the right road after you got lost. A short “ Hello. I just thought of you and wanted you to know that I care about you”- message to a friend.
The love of detail. Making life so much more special.