Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 46: Same Same but Different

To look around and see through time and space, connections become clear. Most of the architecture I see on my coastal frollic through the mountains is modern. Odd in a way because people have evidently lived here for ever, yet nearly every house is built of modern hollow brick. Most houses are in some stage of construction, suggesting a level of recent prosperity. Yet there have been glimpses of the past in some isolated overgrown house of more traditional construction - mud covered adobe bricks sprung up from the earth... single story with wood posts protruding just below the flat roof; small rounded-cornered windows; blankets covering the doorway. With their center courtyards, these look exactly like the adobe haciendas of New Mexico and Mexico. The nopales cactuses - ever so ripe with fruit these days - cluster around them... In the yard of nearly every home, an adobe horno beehive bread oven, charred with use, for the yummy rounds of flat brown bread - just like in New Mexico. Same same, just different. A series of timelapse images from the 14th century to present would be fascinating to see the development on both sides of the pond.

I've noticed the women's dress... layers of colorful pants and tunics with a vibrant blanket tied around the waist; on top of the nearly-ubiquitous headscarf, a tall straw hat, sometimes colorfully adorned with ribbons or silk flowers. Very reminiscent of the hats of Bolivian women. Speaking in French with a host one night I made this comment. The hats, he told me, are made in China and are very cheap, so the women buy them to wear in the fields. Same same, just different.

Lots of agricultural activity in the steep fields... men plowing small irregular plots holding a wooden pole, the tip wrapped with metal, and drawn by a team of two little donkeys. There are a few motorized tractors, but the steepness and irregularity beg for the simple method. The soil is rocky, but the effort of the men with the donkeys doesn't seem so laborious. Another man with a basket supported by a string around his neck, broadcasts seeds for the next crop of alfalfa. The abundant mushroom-shaped haystacks would give Monet something to paint - they're everywhere.

Most families, it seems, live multigenerationally in the same big house... ten children, more... everyone sleeps on foam mattrasses under thick fleece blankets. I've stayed in many such homes by now, one more person always seems to fit in comfortably. I'm a pilgrim, a hajaa christiana... welcome.

5 comments:

ksam said...

I so hope you can take or make pictures of this adventure too!

Sheila Phelan Wright said...

Reminds me of India -- women washing clothes, moving rocks, carrying water, but always in the most vibrant of colors.
Ah, if only we could all see the world through the eyes of its people, rather than the words and acts of its governments. Glad you are the one representing all of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi from a cold Camino de Madrid, at Alcazaren. I am glad you are finding the true Magreb/Muslim hospitality, for your government and mine demonises these people.

I wish you well......

Amy R said...

Hi!
Thinking of you!
Seriously, there are cameras barely bigger than a credit card. I really wish you'd bring one along...
did you?

Anonymous said...

A bit of text is worth 1000 photos!

Anyone can press a shutter; not so many can write about it.....