On day eight my friends and I woke early to hike through the Todra Gorge and up into the mountains to have tea with a nomadic family. The mother spun yarn, the little boy played with the baby goats, and the father told us stories of his other children who spend the summers in the mountains with a herd of goats.
Having since returned, I often question authentic experience.
What makes something “authentic”? By having lunch prepared by and eaten with a local family, is this an authentic experience? Would you normally just show up at someone’s house and ask them to prepare lunch for you and sit there without speaking a common language, and expect them to go about their daily lives despite having strangers in their home? Or are they just storytellers creating a narrative?
The afternoon was spent with a fake carpet demonstration and then sitting around as the woman who apparently makes carpets, although no loom shown, tried to sell us hundreds of carpets. Meanwhile we all just wanted to go sit by the pool and chill out. But we not taken there until carpet after carpet was displayed and eventually some were purchased.
So is authenticity irrelevant? Or is it subjective? Or has peering in to someone else’s life in another culture become a “reality TV” in which it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not, it provides an escape from our own lives, if only for awhile?