The Elephant Cloud


The Elephant Cloud header image 2


September 3rd, 2009 by · No Comments · Africa, Morocco

Imagine a month long fast celebrating the Koran as it was revealed to Muhammed, similar to Christian Lent, followers adhere to strict Islamic law- Forbidden are the right to drink, eat, smoke or participate in sexual activities from sunrise to sunset, thus paying homage to the poor and homeless.
4am the Muezzin incants from his mosque, signaling prayer, absolution and commencement of the fast. Muslims finish off their 3:30am breakfast. Local cafes and restaurants remain closed; abstinence keeps most tucked in until mid-day, as sleep shortens fasting hours, the city slugs along.

As the sun sets, families rush home to break the fast. A call from the Muezzin atop his minaret, screaming sirens attached to telephone poles, even a military cannon shot off into the Atlantic coast signifies the hour of 1900. A strange sight to behold, streets completely unoccupied and locked down for twenty minutes as traditional Iftar(Arabic: إفطار‎) is served- hard boiled eggs, mint tea, hrira(soup), dates and pastries.

Then as if Muhammad himself were to appear, the city breaths life. Men savoring cigarettes and sipping espresso fill outdoor cafes; streets overflow with children and women weaving their way through stalls and markets, chatting with satiated bellies. Cooks open their kitchens for travelers.

In the Muslim world, Ramadan is highly regarded. It is a hard time to travel and as the sun presses over head, smokers get irritable without nicotine- seemingly every Moroccan smokes. To immerse ourselves is nearly impossible; hours on foot exploring new cities with humid temperatures soaring, we can’t go without water. Discretely, we manage to hoard food and drink, eating only a light breakfast of market food. Finally, as night falls, we give in and indulge in Moroccan Tangine.


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