Submitted to the Daily Post Photo Challenge “Intricate.”
In response to “Where’s My Backpack” travel theme of “Industry.”
I took this picture at a leather tannery in Fez, Morocco.
In Fez, leather-making is done in pits that date back to the 11th century. There are three tanneries in Fez, this being the largest. Customers are given a sprig of mint to hold under their noses, in a vain attempt to mask the stench from the pits, where limestone, alum, and pigeon droppings full of ammonia are used in the process. After a brief orientation at the terraces overlooking the pits, customers are taken to the showroom, where the real show begins – negotiating for leather jackets, purses, slippers, ottomans, belts and more.
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A great wall with a very large red front door confronted them.
Even a few yards away they could feel the cold draft drawing them forward.
The door slowly open as if opened for the first time in hundreds of years.
A strange robed figure came toward them in greeting.
He held out his hand: “$10 in advance in my palm, $12.50 at the door.”
This weeks Travel Theme is “Fragrant”. Thanks to Ailsa and her Where’s my Backpack blog for this challenge.
Do you see the problem in the sentence above? See how one little letter makes a huge difference? Mea culpa!
I’m sure lots of post will be filled with pretty flowers and such but mine is a bit (understatement) different because of my misunderstanding. Instead of a flowery post mine gets down to the bad stuff. In this case the bad stuff is the smell coming from a tannery in the Medina in Fez Morocco.
So…I view this as a rebuttal to Ailsa’s post of Fragrant. My post for the Travel Theme of — Flagrant. Totally confused now?
Travel Theme — Fragrant.
The oldest tannery in the world is located in Fez, Morocco, where we visited last year. You can smell the tannery from blocks away. The smell sucks your breath away and makes you want to throw up. A grimace comes over your face, the attempt to breathe shallow, the stepping away from the source, and often the gagging and “almost” vomiting. If a person can escape that smell, they will, if they can’t they just muddle through.
The tannery processes hides of sheep and goats, turning them into high quality products such as coats, bags, and shoes. This is all done manually.
The workers stand in the stone vessels arranged like honeycombs, filled with different dyes, dying the arms and legs of the men. The hides are first soaked in diluted acidic pigeon excrement and then transferred to other vessels containing vegetable dyes such as henna, saffron and mint. When the dying process has been completed the hides are dried on the roofs of the Medina. After a few minutes we were ready to leave.