“Around the World in Analogue” is your bite-sized guide to the most amazing travel destinations across the globe, as documented by the members of the Lomography community. Today, lomographer Kayla Falk (@kayfalk) talks about the significance of serving tea in Morocco.
My family spent last Thanksgiving in Morocco. I wasn't sure what to expect: It's an African country with Arabic, French, and Spanish influences, somewhat of a historical melting pot. Everything about Morocco is a vibrant blend of cultures, race, languages, and artistic influences. The sound of humming minarets signaling Muslim call to prayer, the whispers of young kids speaking in French (the unofficial national language), the architectural style of arches and stucco carvings inherited from Andalusian Spain. In the main city of Marrakech, you even see a blending of ecosystems, as desert cacti grow amidst tropical palm trees. A third of the Moroccan population is Berber. The original inhabitants of North Africa, the Berbers cherish a culture rich with traditions that have lasted thousands of years in the remote High Atlas Mountains and Sahara. The tribes live in the villages up on the valley sides.
My most memorable experience was a day we spent trekking through the High Atlas Mountains. At the top of the mountain, we got caught in torrential rain amidst a freezing cold fog. We continued came upon a Berber village in the mountains and attempted to escape the rain by knocking on the door of a village hostel. The family that owned the place warmly took us in and let us dry off by the fireplace. They brought us fresh Moroccan tea and we spent the afternoon there sharing stories. Huddled around the fireplace, the hostel owner explained the importance of the Berber tradition of serving tea. Pouring the tea is the man's job and it must be done with diligence and care. Future father-in-law will observe a suitor's tea pouring skills as a test of maturity, focus, and marriage readiness. Tea is served in a small shot glass and poured up to a foot above the cup to create more bubbles (a sign of quality). Any splashes or spills are strongly frowned upon.
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