8/17/12

Cultural connections

A good friend of mine with a passion for the exotic makes her home in Morocco (Casablanca if you must know).  Her stories and observations about the varied cultures that cohabit the Northeast tip of Africa are fascinating--old world meets new through technology and socialization. Most households have access to Wi-Fi but not necessarily indoor plumbing, it's an anomaly that's hard to comprehend.  The country is very much set in its ways, and despite Niki's place as a progressive modern woman, she shared the all too familiar experiences that result from living in a society that oppresses 50% of the population.

Each vignette that unfurls from her subconscious, paints the most colorful and robust threads of memory--it is no wonder that so many travel books call Morocco the land of contrasts. For a brief moment one can conjure themselves into an ethereal instance that radiates the magic of the Arabic culture and the conundrum that is an Islamic state. All brought to you by the adventures of a single Western woman and the essence of her perspective as she experiences this ancient world.

Morocco is seven hours from JFK by plane, due south of Spain and Portugal, and approximately 4200 miles east of Miami.  I have not yet had the opportunity to visit Nikki in the land of the setting sun but after hearing tales of adventure and intrigue from my friends it is a place that holds a mysticism I am curious about. Reminiscing about my visit to Andalusia, where I traveled to Granada to see the palaces of Alhambra, and then to the sacred Cathedral-Mosque site in Ronda, makes me wistful for the simplicity of another life.

I recently read Cultural Connectives, a book on typography that explains the similarities and differences between Arabic and Latin lettering, presented by the author's Mirsaal typeface.  The book helped me to understand the simplicity of the design and its beauty to transform the language into a storytelling mechanism. I finished the book with a better understanding of the culture behind the script, one that so inspires Niki's calm and relaxed demeanor.

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