The Oasis Siwa is located some 500 kilometres west of Cairo. That’s the region we spent ten days out in the desert, enyoing the silence, the delicious food as well as watching the stars at night sitting on a bonfire. There was no internet – luckily.
New Year’s Eve in Essaouira/Maroc: Totally relaxed I stroll through the Bazar looking for a teapot. Even though I have become a heavy tea drinker ever since I had lived in London I still do not own such a piece. The Maroccans are as addicted as me so I assumed that my search would be rather easy.
Booom! – a teapot appears, it simply jumps at me: a silver-grey coloured, slightly dented example with a rugged look, a nice shape and yes – character! I already saw that beauty sitting back home in my kitchen. The voice of a man pulls me back to the narrow street. It belongs to the owner of the little store and within two and a half seconds he has started “the full tourist program” explaining in three languages that this teapot is a very, very, very special edition, you know, more than 50 years old, you know, and originally used by the Berbers in the desert, you know. Then the program stopps and he mentions a price – surely a “special price” only for me, you know.
I take the teapot gently in my hands and start my program: “See, just by holding this beautifully made piece I can tell you that many decades ago, Boujir Abdullah Rahmani, a prince of the Sahara owned it. He was a wise man, tall, highly respected and the father of 43 kids. He usually drank tea out of this pot while collecting his thoughts at night, after he went hunting with his falcons or just before he set off for new adventures.” I pause.
The shop owner looks at me pretty puzzled. “Ok, half the price and it’s yours.”
I pay and he wraps the teapot into an old newspaper. As I reach the door he shouts: “What do you do for living?”
I stop and turn around: “See, I support the Maroccan economy. And sometimes I tell stories. Just like you.”
He smiles. “By the way, there’s no Boujir Abdullah Rahmani.”
I’m counting slowly to five and switch on a serious face. Finally I reply: “I know.”
For a moment, we are looking at each other and then, all of a sudden, we both burst out laughing.
P.S. It is easily possible that this teapot was produced a few months ago in China, put into some chemical liquid to get the patina look, and was then smashed on the floor in order to be dented. But you know what: I don’t care. imagination ist stronger than reality. So I stick to the story of Boujir Abdullah Rahmani and I just love drinking tea out of my new baby from the desert. No doubt, I can feel the spirit of the prince and the Sahara, too, you know.