Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

It’s all to do with age.  After trying unsuccessfully to log in I realize my left eye, the one that had the detached retina, is now virtually useless and can’t tell the difference between an 8 and an &.  So now I can fill you in on what has been happening here as I haven’t been in the valley for a while, less for fleeting visits.   The weather in the Straits of Gibraltar has been awful all winter and I have only once managed to get away in time.  I have had delays from two to eight hours and last time had to go to Ceuta as that was the only ferry running that day.  A nice drive from Ceuta to Tangier Med, if you like mountains, wind and cloud.  I am using a Mac here, so let’s see if I can transfer my jottings from Mac to Microsoft.

The patisseries in Morocco are spectacular.  I suspect it is the influence of the French but the Moroccans say they influenced the French and who knows the truth?  A great deal of the pastries are finished with a coating of honey and the bees in the area make full use of this and all the displays are covered in bees.  This may seem a bit strange to westerners but the bees love their own produce and come back for more.  I would love to taste the honey these bees produce, twice distilled as it is.  Many shops have holes cut in the windows to let the bees come and go and at times the shop is full of bees.  A little disconcerting for anyone who is allergic to bee stings or who doesn’t like bees, but after a few trips to the patisserie you don’t notice and even start to miss them if they are no longer there, as in the evenings.

The roadside cafes are great value, whether just for tea and coffee of the small restaurants that serve tagine and barbecued meat, sausages, poulet and lamb, all for a pittance but healthy and wholesome, with a couple of small round wholemeal breads thrown in for free.  A meal for two with a couple of soft drinks costs less than the price of the ingredients in European supermarkets and all is ‘that day’ fresh.

It is very easy to make friends in Morocco and indeed in most Arab countries, as a result of Islam’s teachings.  One meeting and you are friends, two meetings and you are bosom buddies.  But don’t ever try to understand them, you will undoubtedly be let down.  This is not intentional, but Arabs will do anything to avoid hurting your feelings, even though this may hurt more when you find out.  An example of this was when I asked a friend, on a Thursday afternoon, if he would like to meet for coffee at the weekend.  He agreed to do so and we arranged a meeting place and time.  I waited for two hours but it was a no-show.  The next time I saw him I asked him where he had been.  He told me that he had been at his brother’s wedding!  I said that surely he knew his brother was getting married when he made the arrangement for coffee on the Thursday and he said that of course he did, but he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by declining the offer. Two hours wasted of a Saturday morning hurt my feelings more but the look of hurt and guilt on his face made it impossible to have a rant at him.