Thursday, 11 August 2016

Sage tea in the Marrakech furnace of summer

The temperature was 44 degrees in Marrakech today and although I had bought a hat I was feeling the heat somewhat as I passed a group of men sitting on the ground and happily drinking glasses of tea. 

'Le chaleur, le chaleur (the heat, the heat' , I commented. 

Immediately one of them offered me a little glass of his tea! And it was mercifully NOT the usual mint tea, but 'atay ble selmia' - tea with sage leaves. A few sips of this has a fantastic cooling effect: I felt much better and I was very grateful and told them - in my limited moroccan arabic - that they were lovely people and that the tea had helped me considerably with my heat problems. 

A complicated conversation then ensued, involving a lot of advice about how good tea was for the santé and so on. 

It went on and on and I was getting a bit lost as my Arabic vocabulary failed me. So the main man resorted to a lot of gesticulating, with some help from his friends.

 ... and finally I got it. They were pointing to a drinking place in the square behind me and they were emphasising the benefits of tea as opposed to, erm, things like WINE. 

I began to feel even more hot and bothered than I had felt before the tea: I fear these men have seen me entering that very same dark place of an evening, on many an occasion ...