The fresh sticky dates after every dinner. The savory chorba frik with lamb and peppers and tomatoes and potatoes, like an Algerian version of minestrone. The chicken in a sweet sauce of apricots and dates on a bed of tiny yellow couscous.
The friendly people, who smile at you only after a few sentences of conversation – somehow, more realistically than in other countries -, the people in hotel hallways you don’t know whether to greet in French, Arabic or Algerian (and in the latter case, you don’t know how either), the university dean who appears at your hotel at 6.20 AM before your return flight simply to say you are ‘leaving a hole in his heart’ and he hopes you will be back soon (laying aside the previous day’s official platitudes about ‘scientific collaboration’).
The beauty of nature all around you, from the verdant dynamic hillsides
to the rocky tufty lake beach
to natural moonscapes within caverns
And stalagmites beyond compare (stalactites? no matter how many times I rotate the photo, it is hard to tell)
The food, the people, the natural landscape of Algeria – all of these retained my interest, my memory, and my emotions.
But it was something a smaller scale that sparked a photographic obsession.
To be continued…