We’ve moved from the enclosed campsite at La Gazelle Bleue to the open vistas of Haven La Chance. No walls to enclose us here as we find a spot directly open to the desert. Here’s hoping there’s no sand storm over the next week or so.
We’ve decided to have a mini-break from travel here in Merzouga whilst we prepare to celebrate Christmas together with Andrea & Paul, along with Elizabeth and Wayne of World Roamers who we’ve met through Facebook (as you do!) and who are slowly making their way down south towards Merzouga.
Before we herald in Christmas though, it’s Friday today so we spend the rest our day making food. Andrea is breaking in her new tagine and brazier making Lamb Tagine (<– click here for recipe) while I immerse myself in the ritual of making Couscous (recipe still to come!). I’ve mentioned before, that contrary to our understanding of couscous (the starch), in Morocco Couscous is an entire dish including the starch.
The dish is made traditionally with 7 vegetables, with either lamb or chicken (or even a mix of meats including lamb, chicken, beef and sausages) with the broth, that the meat and veggies are boiled in, reduced and served as a gravy and a side of tfaya, a sticky, sweet, savoury accompaniment richly loaded with onions, raisins, honey, sugar and cinnamon. The dish is a delight!!!! But, jeez, the cooking of Couscous is a true labour of love. The couscous (starch) is steamed for over an hour over the broth in a couscousiere (like a double boiler), removed 3 times to be lovingly rubbed by hand with olive oil to separate each grain then sprinkled with some of the cooking broth to be returned to be steamed 3 more times. I completely understand now why this is a dish served only on Fridays or for special occasions, when the women stay at home and have the time to devote themselves to the dish to show their families how much they mean to them.
And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Or in my case, the Couscous.
A day of rest as our time is taken up with mundane chores, that no matter how much I try to write about them, are snoringly boring.
So skip instead to our walk into the desert as the sun is setting. As we forge our way into the dunes, with a few clouds in the sky, we are witnesses to a spectacular sunset. And a walk back to the campsite through the desert in the dark, that in itself an amazing experience as we navigate our way back by the lights of the campsite that keep disappearing as we drop down the dunes and re-appearing to reassure us that we are indeed walking in a (fairly!) straight line back to safety, the desert sand now cold beneath our feet.