Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cool Breeze

We arrived in Essaouira, a beautiful beach town. Quite windy. It was a pleasure to be in the sun after over two weeks of hot miserable, drenchingly sweaty weather -without searching for the next shady spot. On our way, we stopped at the argon cooperative. We were given a quick overview of the process of making argon oil. It is done in the traditional way of women breaking seeds with stones, kneading with hands and grinding with mortar looking untensils. I over heard our guide telling one of the fellows that the women rotate positions along the assembly line process every fifteen minutes. The ladies doing the laborous work were all ederly while the ladies in the fashionable display show room were all young and attractive. I bought peanutbutter and honey for David, argon oil and soap for Alex for his face and shampoo and lotion for me. The young ladies in the store were much fun and friendly. The girl who was assisting me wrote the names of the items I bought in Arabic and tried to help me pronounce the names. It was an arduous task for both of us. I am certainly tone and or language sound deaf. I am happy I provided some entertaiment for them because they certainly laughed out loud as they listened to me trying to sound out the words.

Before we entered Essaouria, we stopped at a look out point to take pictures of the town and the coast. There was a camel there and I became interested in it’s poop. Its poop is dark brown with slight green and compact. It has an oval, cylindrical shape. Actually, I was not able to discern the smell. I am glad it is not an awful odorous scent. Susan gave me a sandwich bag to put it in since she did not want to smell it. I am hoping to find a sample of donkey and horses’ poop. I think I will have a difficult time collecting the horse’s poop since there is a bag / catchment under the tail that is attached to the carriage. The poop are in this container. I guess they have to save the poop. My grandfather always said that horse’s poop is priceless manure. Anyway, who wants to walk the streets and clean up after the horses. I can do a lesson on different animal poop by reading the book, Everyone Poops. I know the first graders would enjoy a lesson on poops. They talk about bodily functions all the time. I hope I will be able to take home the poop without crushing it. I guess I’ll have to wrap it gently in some soft clothing.

In Essaouira, we ate lunch at the sea side cafe called the Fanatic. It was an ejoyable meal of fish combination - whiting, calamarie/squids, sole, and shrimp - and of course bread dipped in olive oil. It was a refreshing change from the tangines. I noticed that fish is prepared with the bones as in Jamaica -unlike the US where it is filet before cooking and serving. It was fun watching the fellows clearing the flesh of the fish from the bones before eating. They searched each bit of flesh for bones and once they put the fish in their mouths they chewed slowly to make sure the forkful was boneless.

Sherri, Susan and I strolled down to the boardwalk. The headwind made us use a few extra muscles to increase our stamina. We had tea at a little cafe and then we gaily walked on the shore like three litle girls experiencing the ocean for the first time.

“It took me fifty years to get to the other side of the Atlantic,” Sherrie muttered.

“Took me much longer,” I replied.

“I have to take a picture in the water.” responded Susan.

We talked about how low the tide was. We looked at all the footprints and shoe prints that were deeply embedded in the sand. The sand that was covered by the ocean before the water ebbed was moist and compact. It was easy to walk on. We took off our sandals and made our own footprints. I thought of the stanza in the poem, “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that states:

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And departing leave behind us

Footprints on the sand of time,

Sherri thought of Jimmy Hendrik’s “Castles Made of Sand.” We heard that Essaouira was Jimmy Hendrick’s favorite place. Maybe that’s why so many camels are called Jimmy Hendricks. I wonder why he would write such a melancholic song while sitting on these shores- A girl getting rid of a drunken, wayward lover. An indian boy being killed in his sleep. A cripple girl and her wheelchair. The refrain states:

And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.

And so castles made of sand melts in the sea, eventually.

And so castles made of sand slips in the sea, eventually.

We took out our cameras and the snapping began. Sherrie’s picture had the island in the background. Susan’s picture had every concievable detail. Well, mine had to show that I actually touched the water in some way.

Sherri and I snapped some pictures of some camels on the beach. I would never have put the two together- camel and beach. I collected some dry beach sand so the children can compare and contrast desert and coastal sands and do some artwork such as sand painting. It was much more difficult to walk on the dry beach sand because It is much looser and finer than the wet sand and the sand I collected from the desert.

Yes, Essaouira made me think of Longfellow so I will close with the last two stanzas of the poem:

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing

With a heart to every fate

Still acheiving, still pursuing

Learn to labor and to wait.

I wonder was Jimmy Hendriks a socially “shipwrecked brother” who found solace on the shores of Essaouira!!

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