Morocco, Come Back!

I never properly blogged about my Morocco trip. That’s because I came back and plunged right into writing about it for my book.

Actually, I spent a lot of timing tuning up my chapters on Egypt, and Lebanon, and the Emirates. By the time I really focused on Morocco again, I was in less of a Morocco frame of mind.

Of course, I had my notes and photos and everything, and I remembered what happened. I just had lost a little of what it felt like to be there. I didn’t realize I was forgetting until I was in a movie theater, watching Lincoln, and in one scene, someone’s wearing some elaborate silk dressing gown, and in a close-up, you can see the little silk-thread buttons on it.

And I felt this sudden pang. Morocco, it’s slipping away!

Why did the buttons spark this sensation? Djellabas and caftans, the standard Moroccan clothing, are often done up in heavy brocade, and these very lovely buttons. They’re emblematic of a certain level of luxury and comfort and care that’s everywhere, every day, even in rough settings. Flashes of beauty, rich colors, ornate detail–and not covered in grime or left to ruin, but well kept, and in many cases, freshly built or even being made before my eyes.

I walk around New York and look at old buildings and sigh: “Why can’t people build things like that anymore?” I harrumph. Rockefeller Center. The General Electric building–that kind of thing.

In Morocco, it’s still happening! I’m not saying every new construction is lovely, and the country is aesthetically seamless. Not at all. But a certain, very specific style is completely intact and vibrant.

So here are some photos, to try to recapture a little of that feeling, the silk-button feeling. I recommend looking at these while wearing comfy slippers and drinking mint tea… (I also recommend opening each one in a new tab–the details are key!)