Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mint Tea by the Sea


I have started and restarted this post so many times, because despite the fact that every conversation here uses at least 2-4 different languages at once, I can't manage to find the words to describe this city. Every time I try, it comes out in the form of abstract, obscure poetry.

One of my housemates, a girl from Paris, said to me in my first week "Tangier is not a city that anyone just comes to visit. Everyone has a reason or a purpose for being here."And I think it's true. This is a place full of artists, eccentrics, intellectuals and wanderers. No one normal comes to Tangier.


I am still trying to figure out where I belong in all of this- what is my purpose for being here? Yes, I have an internship at the Cinematheque de Tanger, which has proved to be an incredible way to meet the most inspiring people and join a wonderful community.



I've been helping them implement a new menu at the café, which means a lot of baking, cooking and testing. Finally my longing to get back to making cookies and cakes has been fulfilled.



But something tells me that cooking all day is not the only reason I'm here. I'm feeling creative again. Like I want to paint, dance, write a book, whatever. The sounds, tastes, smells and air of this city is seeping into my pores and fueling my inner artist.

See? I told you all I can write here is abstract and obscure.

Like always, it's the moments that make up a place.
This seems to be the only way I can accurately describe anywhere I go...


The intoxicating smell of fresh baked pastries wafting up from the chimneys below my terrace in the morning.

The markets full of overflowing, beautiful fresh fruits and greens, burlap sacks of flour and grains and slabs of dead animals hanging by their feet (don't worry, I plan of having a whole post dedicated to just the food here).



Pinks, yellows, blues and greens everywhere you go that make you realize why Matisse spent so much time here.


Drinking a dangerously sugar-filled mint tea at Café Hafa, looking out over the gorgeous blue that meets the Mediterranean sea with the Atlantic.


Waking up almost every early morning at 5am to the haunting sound of monks singing or chanting through speakers spread out all over the city.


I am completely humbled by Tangier. However, it is starting to feel a little more familiar. It's actually starting to feel a little more like home.


12 comments:

  1. I can't believe you have gotten all those internships in the cities you visit! So jealous of all your amazing experiences. Its great you get you exercise those cooking muscles again!

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    1. Yeah I have been so incredibly lucky! And I missed cooking so much... I might even have to post some recipes soon :)

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  2. It is amazing how place can inspire a creative person. I look forward to the dance/art/writing that is to come. Your photographs are already inspired!

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  3. <3

    This sounds like a beautiful place to be & create.

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  4. A wonderful tale for us to read. Just relax into the unknowing. It is a portal moment and they are rare and precious, and are, by definition, very uncomfortable. Working with food IS one of your arts, too. It is the holy art, the art of people circled at table and nourishment of body and spirit. Thank you for writing.

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    1. Thank you, Debra. I love that- that food is an art as well. It is absolutely true.

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  5. I want to go there! Beautifully done and keep writing ... even if it doesn't come out the way you want. We will still love it!

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    1. Thank you so much, TyAnne! That is good to hear.

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  6. I love these photos, Ruby, and seeing things through your words. The pink kitchen walls are certainly inspiring! I would want to make pink-iced chocolate cupcakes in there or my favorite Valentine's cookie: chocolate raspberry Linzer cookies. The mint tea glass on that lovely table cloth was my favorite though.

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    1. Thanks! Mm now I just want to make those cookies- sounds delicious.

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  7. Holy moly!!! What absolutely stunning photos of a place ( in a galaxy far, far away....) like none I've ever seen!!! And how beautiful and insightful and wonderfully searching your writing about it all is.....the very definition of great travel writing. It all made my eyes tear up to behold the fruits of your courageous journey.

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  8. Hey Ruby! I just happened to stumble across your blog and you really are living a traveler's dream! One thing I did want to note since I have lived in the Middle East myself is that the "monks singing or chanting" are actually called Muezzins in the Islamic Faith and they hold quite a high position at their respective mosques. I became so accustomed to hearing the call to prayer (adhan) that once I was back in the West I missed it. Enjoy it while you can! All the best with getting back in touch with the kitchen while traveling (:

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