Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The colours of Tangier (1)

The colours of the sea
The sea is everywhere in Tangier. It has been painted, written about, filmed and sung. It has been the means of repeated invasions but has always pushed back the invaders in the end. Today the invaders still often come by sea but they are usually friendly and always welcomed. 
The sea gives Tangier its uniqueness and its incredible power of attraction. It defines the city, determines its economy, represents a gateway to another continent but also a major barrier to its access. 
Without the sea, Tangier would never have become the stuff of legend that it is to this day. 

The sea takes its cue from the seasons. 

Deep greenish blue in the freshness of spring...

...a paler tranquil version under the intense summer sun from a friend's terrace...

...or more hazy in the softness of fall, barely suggesting the silhouette of the Malabata hills and Spain beyond.

Unhappy, growling and menacing in the winter cold.

The colours of the sky
What is it about a sky that is in permanent contact with the sea? Why does its blue have that particular quality, that incredible depth. Where does it get that aptitude to transform itself as the day goes by? Is it because it is reflected in the sea? 

Here Spain seems closer than it is, sixteen kilometres away. Treacherous currents mid-way to Spain claim the lives of many trying to get across illegally on makeshift boats.
Photo by Liezje

Cape Malabata stands out under the very particular, deep blue sky of summer

Even as it prepares to retire for the night, the sky gives one more tantalising show of pride, pushing the moon to the side: "One more minute, please. My admirers are still staring at me below".

 Then it winks and gushes forth in an insolent riot of fiery colours before reluctantly bowing out. What a ham!

It is time for the city to take over, bright lights shining in the darkest of nights.

"On the other side of town, Anne sat on the cement bench of the highest terrace of her house. The lights of the bay positioned in a semi-circle along the beach sparkled like a diadem set with the multi-coloured neon lights of the hotels and cafés and the golden facades of the minarets pointing up toward the night sky. There was something soothing about that spectacle but also the hint of excitement, a whiff of danger and the promise of romance. She sat fascinated like a voyeur in the darkness of her aerie and wondered what dramas were unfolding in the city below." (Villa Victoria)

Photos: Sylvie Pellet, Joelle Desparmet, pinterest and as sourced


  1. Reportage plein de poésie... j'aime... C

    1. mCatherine, merci de ton soutien constant. Je suis ravie que tu aimes.