It has been 8 years since I wrote this post. Before I was stranger to WordPress, I had no home_(website) to settle down at and put down my load of thoughts. Like anyone else I was struggling for the matters of the living, and only have my sketchbook and a small notebook either to take notes or doodling whatever thing I encounter with in the moment. In the past, in my early career I traveled the world a lot. I was happy then, like Ulysses, who has made a beautiful journey, he visited cities and villages, countries and sea. I, instead I could say that I took the route of the sky airlines. In my debut like a steward 👨✈️ onboard the aircrafts I grooved my days long to the arrivals at exotic places in the vast Algerian desert, the Sahara. It was exotic to me because all I know about it was in the books of geography and history, and some nostalgia for books I read like the Atlantide, of Pierre Benoît the French writer of the Movies. Hence it was my encounter with Thé à la menthe au Sahara.
Later on it was my foreign encounter with The English Breakfast, Peackoe Orange, the Ceylon, and The Ottoman teas, since the green teas I was Already and always been accustomed to it, with cardamom, lemon and mint. Rest the Japanese, and that was the travel time of 19 and half hours plus taxi to the hotel, passing by the Northern pôle route, stop in Alaska before landing, what day was it? After jet-leged I went in a tour to visit the Emperor palace and there, the house tea with the ceremonial and all the ritual of the preparation and serving the Japanese green tea by an authentic old lady geisha at that time, 40 years ago.
So, finding a home is a quest for a place where to rest and have a cup to tea. A tea-house, a wooden tent in the Gobi desert or made of stone or wool, it’s where you are and the emotional moment you live, and that you make history.
A wander in a his quest for a home;
”Perhaps the house I felt ready for
wasn’t a physical place,
but an emotional one.“
“Perhaps my search for home
wasn’t over just yet.“
— “Home Is a Cup of Tea”
Courtesy to _ http://www.candaceroserardon.com/
All illustrations by Candace Rose Rardon
Algerian Thé à la menthe
A woolen-tent In the Sahara Desert is home of a cup of tea, and sometimes for a coffee, depending on the time of the day in when the ceremony is held. And the time of your arrival.
A 3 cups of tea, is a tradition usage proper to the Men of the Sahara Desert, the Tuaregs. Their kindness and hospitality are legendary. It’s in the habits offering of a cup of a hot tea to a Passer-by wanderer, in this wast land which is the Sahara desert, he became a guest the sooner he approached the whereabouts, he is welcomed and invited inside the woolen-tent.
The passer-by into a rudimentary stone house at a perched village clung downhill on one of the Karakorum Himalayan mountainous sides; Often he found himself called in at a distance by an habitant in the middle of nowhere in these mountainous escarpments and invited for a cup of tea, it’s a sign of showing hospitality to visitors escalating those faraway horizons. Equality, you are invited with a refinement and elegance, inside a Japanese tea house, as a guest and in a Japanese way. The ritual proper to the “country of quite morning,” in that far eastern part of the world, and or with a spontaneous welcome and warmth, and simplicity of manners. For Instance, and being in the know of the matter of tea and the manners of preparing and serving it,
A digne Touareg has always with him in is travel bag, a kettle, a bag of tea, dried mint leaves, hard sugar slabs, and a wrap of dried curried camel meat, or lamb, and a must have, a gourd of water, always.
And always think, that is to humble oneself before the modest present , and seat right on the ground, to honor the house host by accepting to take a cup of tea from his hands, to sit on a Tatami, or on the sands, at the detour of a dune under a scarce tree and a faintly shade.
On parlance of coffee, this is another story, there is also green coffee with cardamom, nutmeg and other spices added, like there are great green teas, black and white teas, brought by caravans in exchange of salt_ back to ages, as salt was considered a reliable source as money for trades_from journeys throughout to far away souks, and markets, nestled deep into the heart of the African countries. In the desert, it’s a domestic chore, wich preparation is a reserved domain, for women living under the Khymas, a nomadic tent woven with fine camels wool. The best preparation of the coffee and the ritual can take several days, first because of the sun-dried coffee beans, then the roasting process could take a couple of hours, and last but not the least the brew with meticulously mix of spices, or drop of orange blossoms water. Then comes the moment of delight, the time of the savoring the 4 o’clock afternoon coffee. Usually it takes place when the muezzin calls for the mid-afternoon prayer, and the time of milking the goats.
What is the mysterious thing that attracted writers, artists and exegetical scholars in this fascinating desert? to stop at its doors, and spent his entire life, like Etienne Dinet did at the oasis of Bousaadah, in Algeria, or André Gide, a simple passage to Touggourt , and or to the point to spear one’s own life as Le Pere Foucault did it, between Tamenrasset and Bechar, on the extreme borders. There are too many writers and artists who wrote novels, books and diaries, from Tunis to Rabat, like The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, or simply lived their life and made history, for posterity like Isabelle Eberhart,and the list is long. Tinged of total mystery and attractive charm, the desert remains a challenge of questions inspiring poetry and mysticism till today.
l have posted this blog 4 years ago, and then as I continued receiving prompts and following WPress blogs, when I read the post on Home and Tea, it send me back in a split of a second to the time when I was hovering over the oases of the Sahara desert as a flight attendant, and the standby in the tiny airports, for refueling and between the time of disembarking and boarding passengers, for the crew taking a little break to sip syrupy tea mints. But those moments are lost among other things of life.