Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Light Falling on Marble

How prettily the light falls through the colored glass
on the marble bowl
and the inlaid tile at the Bahia Palace.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting on the Bus

This family must be off to some family party because the little boy is wearing a very smart tarboosh (hat).
The bus stop is beside Djemma ElFna and incredibly busy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Traditional Dress

Heading towards the main square on a cold winter's morning.

Watching the world go by in Djemma Elfna.

Crossing the main square with a bicycle.

In Djemma Elfna in the evening. The tower of the Kotubia in the background.

Under a trellis on a bright morning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ollie and Mimi: Marrakshi Cats

Mimi arrived on the roof one day and then moved in.
 She was young and elegant. Soon she was a young mother.

We kept one of her boy kittens, Ollie, who was very curious about water. 
He could stare at a dripping faucet for hours.

Here he is looking young and tough and bold.

Here he is at the top of the stairs leading up to the roof. 
Note the traditional old tiles and the metal lamp which holds a candle.
The silhouette on the metal door is of the  big old cat who lives on the roof.

Here are Mimi and Ollie snuggling together.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Handpainted Decorations

So much is decorated in Morocco --from the humble little cart used to transport groceries --and every thing else in the medina.... the doors in our house and a wonderful wooden suitcase.

These second two pictures are from the Baia Palace --painted doors, green and white tiles, cut plasterwork arch.

A window looking in to a collonaded courtyard.
I never tire of the elaborate and wonderful designs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Djemma ElFna at Night

At night Djemma ElFna, the big square --  which isn't really square at all -- is turned into a giant barbecue where you can eat meat and fish and eggs and vegetables and buy dried fruit and drink orange juice.

The air is filled with smoke and the delicious smells of cooking.

When you have eaten, you can see all the entertainers and magicians and snake charmers. 

How empty the square is in the morning when the pavement is newly washed and few people are up.
Such a difference between night and day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ismail's Mom's Chicken and Olive Tagine

A tagine is an absolutely delicious sort of Moroccan stew.
This one was made by Ismail's mother. The base is chicken breast to which all sorts of fresh vegetables like zucchini and potato are added.
Then spices and olives.....yum.
Cooked almost all day, very slowly, on a very low heat.
To be served with flat bread and salad.
This tagine was made in our neighborhood and each tagine is a little different.
For excellent Moroccan recipes go here. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Moulay Bouzerktoun

In Moulay Bouzerktoun some 25 k. north of Essouira,
the mosque overlooks the beach and the Atlantic.

High on the cliff, there is a little cafe where you can watch the tide encroaching and retreating...

and see the traditional fishing boats. The amazing blue  is used on the boats and also many of the doors and window frames in this part of Morocco. I don't think it has a particular name but someone may well correct me.
One of my favorite Atlantic beaches in the world.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mimi on the Landing

It's difficult to try to explain the house to anyone not familiar to Morocco. Unlike most houses in Europe and the US, there are few, if any, exterior windows --everything opens on to a courtyard.
This is Mimi on the landing outside our bedroom by the fragrant jasmine bush.

This is outside Robert's studio looking down into the courtyard.

Pomegranates on the roof. The colors of the fruits are lovely against the traditional tiles.

This is the little 'salon,' or sitting room, downstairs. The chair was made by a man on Derb Dabachi, the cushion covers up by the Mellah market. The rug is very old and from the Middle Atlas. It is hard to find black and white rugs --most often the rugs are much more brightly colored.
The tiles are new since the old ones were quite worn out.
The room is looking pretty neat, so Ghizlain must have tidied it up. There are no windows at all.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Laundry in Morocco may be picturesque --see the photos by our daughter Claudia Schmid -- but it is also boring and time consuming.

Since we don't have a washing machine I have a trusty blue bucket instead, and a wooden paddle to stir things with. I soak things in the bucket, scrub the grubby bits, rinse things a lot – since the water is so full of minerals it’s hard to get the scum out, then wring the wretched things by hand and carry them up two long flights of stairs. Dryers exist here, but most people, like us, merely haul everything up to the roof. To be honest, I don’t attempt loads of sheets – we take them to the laundry proper.

Pegs seem to be considered rather a frill -- how much easier it is to just throw things on the wall, where everything, including blue jeans, dries almost at once.

Of course, sometimes things float off into one's neighbor's courtyard and they may or may not reappear.

All in all, washing machines are very good inventions.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Studio

Robert's studio on the second floor. You can see the very traditional, hand painted doors and the old tiles. The chair was made just a few hundred yards up the street.
The painting on the wall is of people walking across Djemma Elfna.
The railing goes round the courtyard and the little plant struggles in the heat.