Morocco Part Six
Today we went to Riad to visit Aziz and his pottery. The day was bright and the bus we took was quite elegant with the driver dressed in a tan suit. The drive was not far but took us past another gate into the city and towards the Atlas mountains. Rains during the month before had washed out the bridge across the river. The local people made their way across by the use of several palm trees across the river and stepping stones. It looked too iffy for me with my bifocals, and others were not nearly as fit as I. A tractor was organized to carry us across.
Six went across sitting in a large wagon with a plastic woven carpet spread. The remaining five went on the second crossing and were carried up nearly to the top. The climb was rather steep and dusty but the view from the top quite fabulous.
The pottery consists of a fairly large kiln that is fired three times a week. The clay comes from the river, is mixed with water and formed into a variety of bricks including star shapes, large squares, and long rectangles. Molds were dusted with regular dirt, the clay packed in, and then smoothed over with water. The bricks dried in the sun first flat, and then propped up on their side before being loaded into the kiln. The kiln is kept burning all night and the following day it is unloaded. There was a simple potters wheel in the entrance to his home, with multi-handled large jugs being made. Many of them did not survive the firing process and were then used as parts of walls or the spouts were used as drainage spouts on the roof. Turtles, camels, tajines, and multi-candle candlesticks were also on display.
Lunch was a traditional tajine again—beef with vegetables served with bread cooked in a outside oven. A large paddle about a foot in diameter is coated with oil, the dough patted out, more oil placed on the top; the paddle is then placed in the oven with very hot coals over stones; the bread is then flipped onto the stones to complete baking. It was quite delicious even with burned bits.
Goats and sheep were herded by an older woman; she tied a string to two animals. A lamb got tangled up in the ropes and looked like a calf-roping at the rodeo. A younger woman had to rescue the lamb. It was amazing to see how fast that group of animals consumed the vegetation.
We returned over the river via tractor-wagon and were all quite happy to shower and get cleaned up.
After dinner, we will see some of the photographer’s work and our tutor will select some of our work to display.
Tomorrow we go through the Atlas mountains to Marrakesch.