Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats, The main feature of Morocco is that it is impossible to imagine more direct communication between man and the Universe in any other part of the world. Isn’t that why hippies are so eager to go to this country, directors are filming “3 Star Wars” here, and Hollywood celestials are trying to acquire local real estate.
Pirate Citadel and Oasis of Freedom the ancient pirate fortress of Essaouira (formerly Mogador) became a stronghold of freedom, liberty, and romance in the early 60s of the 20th century. Where else could the hippie movement be born, if not here, since everything they need to be happy is abundant here: the sun, ocean beaches, marijuana plantations, which are nowhere else.
The wave of hippies that rocked the world is gone where it came from, and the blessed characters still sit on the city walls of Essaouira and smile at the seagulls. They are part of the local landscape, so beloved by painters who come here from all over the world for subjects, images, stunning soft lighting that fills the city blocks with a glowing haze. And the hotels are always crowded here.
But those who know a lot about Moroccan pleasures stay outside the city wall, in suburban riads – this is the name for buildings built in the form of a square, with an indispensable fountain in the center. Once upon a time, caravans stopped here, and so that people who crossed the desert could take a break from the sun, they pulled a canvas over the courtyard, thus turning the courtyard-well into a shaded tent. Today these travelers have been replaced by bikers, jippers, trailers, and other free adventure seekers.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats” The people of the great
The Sahara Desert is not as lifeless as it might seem at first glance. Tuaregs, the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa, have been wandering in it from century to century. Amazing people, the only people in the world whose unmarried men of marriageable age are obliged to cover their faces.
Girls, on the contrary, do not hide it and enjoy more freedom compared to Arab ladies. Tuareg women have not only property separate from their husbands, but also … the alphabet. Ancient mysterious writing is incomprehensible to men who use the Arabic alphabet. The inhabitants of the Sahara use Tifinagh, an ancient Libyan script also known as Numidian, in their letters. Its direction is unique – from right to left, from bottom to top.
Visiting Tuaregs is not an easy task. It is necessary at least to know the paths of their wandering and have learned, it is advisable to bind these routes to the satellite GPS-navigator by entering the exact coordinates into it. Of course, this is not necessary for the aborigines, since they have an innate ability to orientate – you and your Land Rover will need navigation safety aids. By the way, it is best to rent it in Agadir:
The real Sahara begins 300 kilometers south of the city. True, only 60 kilometers to the east is the so-called small Sahara – a large part, tongue descending towards the coast. An excursion to this place is a very convenient way to explore the desert for those who save time.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats”
One Thousand and One Nights of the Maghreb
Any speech, any religion is harmoniously woven into the ornament of Moroccan culture. The state has a long history of religious tolerance. In the Middle Ages, for example, Jews found here (as in Holland) a refuge from the Spanish pogroms and settled whole neighborhoods in the imperial cities.
During World War II, King Mohammed V bravely defended the people of this nationality from the Nazis: he saved more than 300 thousand people. Many Jews later emigrated to Israel, France, Canada. In 1973, a group of Moroccan Muslims and Jews organized a rally of reconciliation between Egypt and Israel, and King Hassan hosted an official reception for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
In Morocco, a country of intertwined civilizations, many great politicians loved to take a break from state affairs. So, Winston Churchill, who spent his vacation here painting watercolors, even called Marrakech the Paris of the Sahara.
In the evenings, the Gemma el-Fna square near the city medina is full of people: fakirs, pyromaniacs, magicians, musicians, traders, acrobats, beggars, healers, soothsayers, snake charmers, storytellers – and God only knows who. Everyone has their own business, their own leisure, their own interest. When you look at the square from the height of the minaret in the evening, the crowd that fills it seems to consist of circles communicating with each other and flowing into one another. Who is not here, and it is interesting everywhere.
You can, for example, join a circle in the center of which is the hero of an impromptu show: a juggler, dancer, gymnast, tightrope walker. The ability of their bodies to tie into a knot will envy even a yogi. But the most amazing is the old people, the storytellers of the epic. They are listened to by both mature people and teenagers, in whose players the rap of local groups sounds mixed with lingering Berber songs.
The old man, the epic himself embodied, tells another tale from “A Thousand and One Nights” with ecstasy that an ordinary actor cannot play. He learned the text not from books, but from the same old man. And now, among those gathered around, there will surely be a listener who will also remember his story and will one day sit on a warm stone heated up during the day and start his speech, living, endless, bottomless, like an ocean.
The magnetism of this place attracts, like a pole of power, the inhabitants of the other pole – the people of Western civilization. Tourists, even though there are crowds of them here, are easily lost in this self-sufficient world, which, however, does not leave its guests unattended.
– Hey, mister, take this, – says one of the inhabitants of the square and throws a snake around the neck of a red-haired sports Briton of considerable size. “Very good,” he admires and straightens her tail like a stylist straightens her muffler.
“Remove the reptile from me, please, sir,” Her Majesty’s subject demands carefully articulating, but without the slightest expression of any emotion.
– Photo! Photo! Vary Good photo!
– Know the photo, sir. Please remove the reptile from me.
Reptiles, which are intended for a photoshoot, are not at all scary – on the contrary, they have a pathetic half-dead hose. But those cobras that sway in front of the spellcasters give a much more impressive impression. Both snakes and their owners are here at work. How much you pay, so much will play.
If you give them 500 euros, they will dance for you and the hopak. Well, for ten dirhams, they will simply be allowed to photograph them. Here the fakir lowers his pipe and lights up by 51; nice. Cobra, apparently, does not smoke – she just froze in a characteristic pose.
“Hey, hey, mister, pay first, then shoot,” her owner waves her hands at the photographer, who too openly crawled the lens into the snake face. To which the cobra immediately reacts with a lightning strike to the camera. The photographer jumps 15 meters away. “The snake understands when it’s not paid,” the caster laughs, puts out his cigarette, and takes up his pipe again.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats”
– How much can you and a cobra earn in an evening? – I ask his assistant.
– It is hard to say. If we get lucky. Sometimes nothing, and once the Japanese came to shoot a film. We explain to the guide: they say, if you shoot, you have to pay. Very rare, precious cobra, back and forth. Did they ask how much? Well, Abdullah announced – 10 thousand euros. He just said that you know? And they took and paid. The Japanese are generally strange people. As much as you tell them, they pay so much. Never traded.
We are accustomed, and some traders take offense. If you don’t bargain, then you don’t respect or something. As if not a seller in front of you, but a price list. If you want to buy something with us, don’t rush, have some tea, talk to a person, you will definitely agree … Listen, maybe you need a cobra? I have one … And with these words, he raises a tambourine lying right in front of me, from under which a cobra immediately rises 20 centimeters from my nose and looks at me.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats”
The Asian way of production.
Here, as in the rest of the East, no one ever knows for sure. Having heard the price, you cannot say exactly how much you will buy this product. And the merchant who starts bargaining does not know how much he will give it back. The order of prices is not an abstract quantity, but a concrete attitude of concrete people. Therefore, some people sell plastic at the price of gold, while others sell gold at the price of plastic.
– 350 dirhams, and not a dirham less. These are very expensive beads.
– The red price of this plastic is 50.
– Well, 6O.
– 150! Last price. What’s your last price?
– Give me money! No, still 60.
– But you already said 100.
– I was joking.
– Are you kidding or doing business ?! Come on 80, Humpty Baltai.
– Well, if Humpty Baltai, then only 70.
– Ay, good! But then buy something else. Here! Carpet! Buy a carpet ?! Do not want to? Well, at least a fridge magnet?
There are no hard and fast rules, like prices. They are reinstalled each time. A spontaneous relationship is not binding. If you like something, you always agree. If you don’t like something, give it up, and no one will be upset. If you have an appointment at lunchtime, it’s more productive to wait until evening. Time is perceived differently in Morocco than in Europe. This is our whole life as a ruler, and their time has no beginning or end ornament, the ornate lines of which flow into one another in an intricate, cyclically twisted rhythm.
The embosser covering a copper dish the size of a cartwheel with the finest ornament, or a seamstress who embroiders a tablecloth with a size of a tennis court with her unique pattern, a potter bringing out the sculpture of another vessel – all of them do not use sketches, sketches, rough drafts, but project some kind of material onto a material surface.
that inner drawing of your soul, complex, like a formula, and light, like a spider’s web, tangled like a ligature, and harmonious, like a verse, delighting strangers and impenetrable for understanding from the outside for the past millennium. And don’t tell these people that they are late somewhere. People of the East, from Baghdad to the Maghreb, are in no hurry. They are separated from the world of total time trouble by 20 miles of Gibraltar.
It, like a moat, is being stormed by immigrants from the south in search of a way to join the benefits of the “golden billion”. Representatives of this very “billion” migrate in a counter-flow, seeing in the Moroccan style and rhythm of life some ideal degrees of freedom – freedom from strict regulations, verified routines, strict agreements, formalized mechanistic relations.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats” Complex meanings of simple objects
Whatever you buy – even a hand-woven carpet, even a fridge magnet – the acquisition process is, by all means, a theater of two actors, with the drama of a ruined seller and triumphantly victorious over the buyer’s fortune. In the course of the bargaining, the utilitarian functions of simple things will open to you as an event of the level of revelation.
– Look what a cup! She is made of clay!
– So what?
– But you can pour water into it! These are triple fired ceramics. Look! I
pour water into it … – So what?
– The enamel didn’t even change color … I’ll sell you four of these cups for the price of one.
True, the price of one is sometimes increased tenfold, but is it really money if in return you are offered a feeling of happiness from owning such wonderful cups, into which – you just can’t believe – you can pour water!
There is a saying that you can endlessly watch how others work. In the medina of the city of Fez, you really can’t take your eyes off the craftsmen, because these craftsmen, unlike the “office plankton”, do not function abstractly, but create, moreover, every minute. The spectacle of the usual daily work of a potter, chaser, woodcarver or alabaster, leather dyer, weaver and seamstress ilm hypnotizes.
You are present in the act of creation, creating beauty out of nothing. Before your eyes, a simple piece of amorphous clay turns into a graceful vessel. What exactly it will depend on the master, on his current mood. If he is cheerful and contented, it means that he will come out with a weightless jug of refined shapes and proportions. The potter will be sad, immersed in heavy thoughts – and the vessel will turn out to be such that it is better to store poison in it, rather than medicine.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats” Butter oil
If you suddenly see a herd of goats galloping through the trees, do not think that you have caught a “squirrel”. It’s just that your road approaches the city of Agadir, in the area of which unique argan trees grow. Goats love their fruits very much, they literally lose their minds from them, therefore, forgetting about the fact that it is not typical for small ruminants to jump on branches, they climb up to the very tops.
After all, everything that could be eaten below, they have already eaten a long time ago. These trees grow only in Morocco, and only in the southwestern part of it. So goats that are not lucky to be born here are deprived of argan happiness.
Ibrahim is a little over 30, he has been grazing his goats in the local area since childhood and is used to the fact that his herd works as a visiting card of Morocco for almost every second magazine in the world – from those that write about travel.
“This way of grazing is very convenient,” he laughs. – I hung the goats on the branches and sit in the shade, rest.
– But the goats can probably burst if they are not stopped in time?
– I think that the business of the argan cooperative will burst before them. If the goats are not stopped, they will eat all our trees like locusts.
And this cannot be allowed in any way, because these are not just sacred plants that, even at a temperature of 50 ° C, are not afraid of drought. Their powerful roots help stop erosion and hold back the onslaught of the desert. In addition to goats, argan trees are the most important segment of the national economy and employment of the population. Argan fruit is used to produce a unique oil used in a wide variety of fields.
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats”
“It is part of any perfume you know,” our guide Rahim authoritatively asserts. – And in our elite SPA-salons, which work at any five-star hotel, complexes of rejuvenating cosmetic procedures have been developed on its basis.
Rahim can be trusted.
He knows everything about argan oil, starting with the chemical formula and ending with the history of the international public relations of this wonderful product, even the Phoenicians called liquid gold.
Its density is less than that of walnut and olive.
This is the reason for the cosmetic effect: oil with such a low density easily penetrates into the pores of the skin without leaving a greasy mark on the surface. Vitamin E in high concentration (twice that in olive oil) acts as a powerful antioxidant.
It is very important for the development and maintenance of the functions of the nervous and muscular systems. Argan oil is rich in mono- and polybutyric acids, which are good for rheumatic and cardiac diseases, neutralize free radicals and protect ligament tissues, help activate oxygen in cells, improve brain function, and have a positive effect on the liver and digestive system.
Argan oil is not only healthy – it is also very tasty, somewhat reminiscent of pumpkin seeds, but much more piquant, with a sharp aftertaste and a very bright and strong aroma, with tones of nuts and spices. This product is important in the nutrition of the local population – it is widely used instead of olive and other fats.
It is the rarest edible oil on earth and the most difficult to obtain. From 100 kilograms of seeds, one to two kilograms of oil is obtained. The fleshy fruits of the Argan tree are larger than olives, each containing a stone with a very hard shell and two or three nucleoli resembling almonds in shape. It takes about 16 hours to manually squeeze a liter of oil. It can be of different colors – from dark amber to orange with a rich golden reddish tint.
“Try it,” says Raheem and dips a piece of freshly baked flatbread into a dark golden and incredibly fragrant substance. – Do you know what it is?
“Oasis of Freedom And Flying Goats”
– How do I know?
– This is the so-called Berber jam: argan oil mixed with honey from wild bees and grated almonds.
Only out of respect for the work of wild bees and Rahim, I tried and … felt like that very flying goat, experiencing drug addiction to argan oil at the top of a tree. The taste was as amazing as it was strange, and evoked any desire other than the desire to break away from the bowl of “Berber jam”, even remembering the prospect of the nightly feast, which is modestly called dinner in Moroccan hotels.
In historical chronicles, the first evidence of an argan tree dates back to the 11th century. The famous Egyptian physician Ali Ibn Radouane wrote in his treatises that there is no better remedy than argan oil for treating diseases of the ears and stomach. In 1867, the first Moroccan delegation attended an international convention in Paris. Among the many issues discussed at the congress, the first place was taken by the topic of argan grains. In 1997, UNESCO declared the argan groves a World Heritage of Humanity.
Leaving the goats along with the argan, we continued our journey along with one of the most picturesque roads in the world – along the Atlantic edge of North Africa. The sun-scorched landscape at sunset turns from dull to demonic. The gray land surface, illuminated by the oblique rays of a luminary plunging into the ocean, suddenly becomes voluminous, red, with a shade of brown, as if out of solidarity with the other planets of the Galaxy.
In this part of the world, it is easier to imagine yourself on the world map than anywhere else. You are a point in space, more comprehensible to the gaze of a hawk than to your own inner gaze. Everything is concise in this part of the world. On the left is the great desert. On the right is the world ocean. Ahead is the horizon crossing these parallel elements.
North Africa. The edge of the continent. The beginning of the world. There are places in the world where travel evokes a state of meditation. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a yogi or a bred yogi from the Cherkizovsky market – here you unconsciously turn off the engine in order to just sit on the edge of a rocky cliff with the only purpose – to give your hearing to the sound of the surf, your eyesight to the sun, your hair to the wind. To feel not completely outside of this, perhaps, the main event of your life – the reunification of the sun with the world’s oceans.