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NORTH AFRICA

Images of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia


Abdellah’s story… the collapse of one man’s dream. The Blundstone boots, he says, gave me away.  In Meknes,  another of Morocco´s rapacious handcraft vendors had found his mark; but Abdellah Fahmi does retain a genuine affection for all things Australian, in spite of his unceremonious deportation from my country.  Fahmi’s story is the story of how a cross-cultural relationship can go badly wrong.

Essaouira: A symphony in blue and white Eighteenth century ramparts still guard the blue and white houses of this sleepy fishing port on Morocco's Atlantic coast. Traditional spices and balms sold in the market include cakes of musk, mimosa, jasmine, rubbed on one's hand to release their subtle fragrances.  Conical mounds of tagine stew spice mixes, coriander, cumin and red pepper form tantalising yet geometric images.

Marrakech: The Square called Assembly of the Dead is a celebration of life Snake charmers, red-gowned water sellers, quack healers surrounded by pensive audiences. Be tempted by mountains of smoked almonds, walnut kernels, dates and figs and oranges for pressing. Horse carts, men in pixie hooded jellabiyas, women in veils and women in smart black suits... they are all here, and with a glass of mint tea one can watch them all day.  
 
The ancient port of Tangier is described somewhat fancifully as the White Dove on the Shoulder of Africa: white cuboid buildings tumble downhill around a horseshoe-shaped bay. More a white seagull, perhaps, as it can drop a nasty mess on innocent visitors. Just ask Toshi, a 19-year-old backpacker from Osaka – or Samuel Pepys, the great English diarist.

Tunisia: Colosseum, Kasbah and Couscous : From Roman amphitheatre to Muslim Medina, ancient Carthage to Saharan salt lakes, Tunisia offers much more than sunshine and sand. Plus all the couscous you can eat.


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