I'm sure that many people start to accomplish bucket list items and then right when they are ready to git 'er done realize it's not what they imagined. Or even want. My trip to Morocco was surreal at times (having tea in a Berber cave kitchen while the son's cell phone rings was very Dr. No), but overall it was very real. Thanks to our fantastic guide Said from Desert Majesty, we got to see parts of Morocco most don't even imagine exist.
And so my exotic ideas of getting my hands hennaed in Morocco flew out the window. The women who sit in Djemma El Fna in Marrakech do a beautiful job of taking tourist's money and creating superb drawings on the backs of their hands. My resident friend warned me that the black henna can cause scarring so I went off into the back roads of Meraouga and Dades and Draa Valley ready for my henna moment at the end of the trip.
Until I met Fatima. She graciously showed us how to create bread, adding ingredients like my husband's grandmother (by sight) kneading and kneading until MY arms were sore. It was as she was shaping the bread that I noticed her hands. My aunt Cynde had commented on how much time and care Fatima had spent on washing her hands before and after dough preparation. But her hands looked dirty. So I sneakily asked Said about her hands and he explained that this was the true tradition of Henna. Berber women coat the PALMS of their hands with it, cover them with material or bags then sleep so that the staining appears in the morning. THIS is the Berber tradition of beauty. NOT the designs on the backs of the hands.
Also they use it to color their fingernails and I found it precious on the shy little girl they handed me to kiss (on the cheek four times each side) that I didn't want to put down. You can see it if you look hard at her fingernails. This is Sophie (the mom, who invited me into the inner sanctum so we could all see the rest of their house!), Fatima in my arms, and Eunice in Sophie's arms.
I have so much to say about my trip, but I still am processing it all. And getting all these pictures uploaded is a CHORE! Can't wait to share my hammam experience though!