Morocco, From Tafraoute to Mirleft through Tiznit, and a bit of Sufi Poetry
Since Jules started shaving his head, we have had some very interesting experiences getting haircuts for him around the world.
You would not think such a simple act can be such a big deal, but take it from me…. it has added some laughter and interest to our travel.
He got his head shaved by a homesick Mongolian man, by many eccentric barbers, and by a professional Chinese lady in high heals and an elaborate hairdo, who kept a folding straight edge razor in the back pocket of her impossibly tight jeans.
This morning, we had gone for a morning walk around the mountain town of Tafraoute, when Jules decided it was time for a shave…
Across from our hotel, was a row of clean barbers, each working in his own little shop.
Jules chose a friendly man who happened to be a Sufi.
This Sufi had a kind face, a calm and pleasant disposition and such a gentle soul.
He pointed to some photos that he had on his walls.
There was a faded photo of his Sufi Master, a photo of his Sufi order, singing and playing instruments, and an old photo of a barber giving a shave to a man under a date palm.
This old photo was also done into a painting, which the barber showed to us with much pride…
Of course like in almost every other place, he also had a photo of the current King of Morocco.
This was a photo of the king in the garden with his wife and his baby boy, and it looked as if the son were taking his first steps.
It was wonderful to see him work on Jules, and to see Jules totally surrender to the qualified and experienced hands of this gentle man.
We left the charming town of Tafraoute, and started driving into the Anti Atlas mountains towards the town of Tiznit.
Along the way we enjoyed the interesting architecture of the area, which looked so striking against the background of large boulders that were piled high on top of one another to form tall mountains.
It felt so precarious….. some of these houses were built underneath these huge boulders that seemed as if they could roll down with the slightest earthquake….
We saw whole mountains that had been extensively terraced for agriculture.
These terraces were edged with stone walls, and ran along the mountains for hundred of meters.
Some of these terraced slopes looked as if they were created hundreds of years ago, yet they were still in use today, and therefore well maintained.
Along the way we played some car games…
We joked that if we were Moroccan, and had names chosen by Moroccan towns and villages, I would be called: “Princess Zamzam Zagora,” and Jules would be called: “Monsieur Amizmiz Tiznit.”
We also came up with names for our imaginary children with other funny names of places that we saw around Morocco….
After a few hours, we left the Anti Atlas mountains behind us, and the landscape became flat, dry and rocky, almost with a desert look to it.
We arrived at the town of Tiznit, by late afternoon.
We did not plan to stay overnight there, because we intended to drive all the way to the beaches of Mirleft.
We drove through Tiznit and enjoyed the old walled Medina, and decided that we may visit it again on a day trip from the beach.
As we approached the ocean, the landscape became more fertile again.
We took some bends in the road, and the blue Atlantic Ocean spread before us.
It had strong waves and much energy to it.
We drove around Mirleft, and came upon a place that seemed too wonderful to pass.
Hotel Dar Najmat sits on one of the most beautiful beaches that we have seen thus far in Morocco.
Plage Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, is the name of this great beach, just south of Mirleft.
In the middle of this crescent shaped beach, there is a large rock formation and strong waves break around it, making this place a favorite spot for surfing and paragliding.
It is off season now in Morocco, but during the summer months, thrill seekers from all over Europe, come to play on this beach.
The room that we were shown was so wonderful, that I did not care how much it cost…I just wanted to stay there.
It had a glass door that opened into an Infinity pool overlooking the beach, with cushiony pool beds and oversized towels.
In a second I changed into my bathing suit, and spread my body by the pool, like butter over a fresh baguette…
We fell asleep in this heavenly place, with the gentle late afternoon sun warming our faces….relaxed and lulled into a sweet doze by the strong sound of the crashing waves….
In fact, even now sitting in this small hotel’s comfortable lounge, I can hear the strong waves breaking on the rocks……and it makes me feel restful and safe….
Like many other places we enjoyed so much, this is a small hotel with only five rooms, and currently we share this place with only one other couple.
We were served a delicious dinner prepared especially for us by a chef that came to discuss our dietary choices and preferences.
Every dish was tasty, and we felt so fortunate that we found this place totally by chance or by divine guidance…. Which is how I prefer to see things…
We had two other names of places in mind, when we came to Mirleft, and both of them did not look as good as this place does..
Tonight I go to sleep happy, grateful and satisfied….
I took a good hot shower, and oiled my skin with Aragan oil which I scented with essential oils from the essence blossom of tangerine flowers.
I now smell like a fragrant flower myself….
I am so happy that we came to explore Morocco….
You cannot find what you want if you do not chase after it….
Or as the Sufi saying goes:
“For although not EVERYONE who chases after a gazelle captures it….
The one who captures it has to run after it….”
As I lay my head on the pillow, I feel that I am in the mood for Sufi poetry…
Muhammad Shirin Maghribi was a a world-traveler (he lived in the 14th century) and a great Sufi poet.
The name Maghribi refers to the Maghreb or Magrib region which is an Arabic term for the Northwest of Africa.
It is generally applied to all of Morocco.
The Sufi poet Maghribi was actually born in Tabriz, Persia, but he picked the nickname Maghribi because of his famous and beloved journey through the Mahgrib Moroccan region.
Maghribi had said:
“The spiritual friend knocked on my door last night.
Who is it? I asked.
He answered: Open the door, It is YOU!
How can I be you? I asked.
He answered: We are ONE, but the veil has hidden us in duality.
We and I,
He and you,
Have become the veil,
And how well this veil has hidden you from yourself!
If you wish to know how WE and HE, and ALL, are ONE,
Pass beyond this “I”
Pass from this world, with all of its old and new,
And see that all its ancientness and novelty are ONE….
Paintings and pictures are paintings and pictures no doubt…
But the artist is hidden inside his art…
In this lovely melody, behold nothing but the minstrel.
For every sweet strain you hear, is played by HIM.
You are the shadow of the Sun of the Orient…
And like the shadow,
You run after the sun….”
Thank you Maghribi, for your beautiful spiritual Poem….
Tonight I sleep in the country that you loved and enjoyed traveling in…
And I turned to my friends and to all the people around the world, and I wish them a good and blessed day or night…
Wherever in the world they reside….may their hearts be happy and calm…