By the time that this post goes live, I will have wrapped my trip to Bismarck, North Dakota, and will be traveling back to Washington, DC. I am not a spiritual person, though standing on the edge of this view of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park may have been one of the more divine moments of my life.
Late last year V and I packed the rambler with her parents and snacks and hit the road for a white-knuckle trip from Rabat past Rissani and back, covering multiple mountain passes in order to catch the sunset and sunrise in the desert before racing back north. The journey took us through snow-capped mountains, cedar forests filled with monkeys, switchback passes (guard rails? not always) and ultimately into the desert between Rissani and Merzouga. We missed the sunset by minutes (and I admittedly beached the car near the dunes and was bailed out by a crew of Bedouin teenagers), though…
A recent visit to Jemma el Fnaa, normally one of my favorite sites for a kitschy sensory overload, took an ugly turn. I normally gravitate towards the story tellers and street performers, though this evening I encountered something new. A crowd ringed a young boy while a man walked around the circle, his hands full of bills as he challenged men in the crowd to offer their sons up to fight and accepting bets on the outcome. The boy in the photograph appeared to be there against his will and was ultimately pitted against a much larger and older boy….
V and I recently loaded the Wagon Queen Family Truxter up and headed off to Spain with my family. We once again based our adventure out of Tarifa, though this time we actually made it out-of-town and managed to explore a bit of Southern Spain. It was beautiful.
“From every mountain side, Let Freedom ring.”
We haven’t fallen off of the face of the earth or entered witness protection – Rosie, our lovely new puppy, recently moved in with us!
We aren’t silly and we certainly didn’t just fall off of the turnip truck – our furry buddy from the other day was interested in more than just looking cute and purring / chirping at us during lunch. Specifically, he surely thought that we were his meal ticket to a fancy seafood lunch. Barring a fresh seafood lunch, he may have settled for a squab pastilla…or just the main ingredient.
I recently met this gentleman while shopping with family in the Fes medina. His shop is directly across from the shop / workshop of another friend of ours and we chatted about home-stay programs and preservation of the medina, a sensitive subject to many of those still living inside of the medina walls.
As repeat visitors to this site probably know, I am a fan of street performers, animal tamers, story tellers, etc., and that I have a certain fondness for guarabs, the traditional water salesmen found in medinas across Morocco. Jemma el fnaa in Marrakech? Guarab paradise. Guarabs carry containers of water and are happy to pour off a cup for the equivalent of about a nickel. These men – I have never come across a female guarab – represent an interesting element of Moroccan culture, as their primary job has been displaced by access to clean running water and the prevalence…
V and I have travelled to Fes quite a few times since our arrival in Morocco. We’ve walked the narrow streets, navigated dark alleys and crowded into the Fassi souks with the best of them. We now have favorite restaurants and shops and know where the better deals are. According to one of my co-workers, I’ve been to Fes more times than most Moroccans! During our first visit to Fes I met Mohammed – a merchant whose family weaves cactus silk textiles and has occupied the same location in the medina for over 100 years – standing outside of his…
There’s a forge in the outskirts of the Fes medina that produces most of the ceramic bowls, tiles and tables found throughout the markets and souks of Fes and beyond. The forge is incredible in that the production process is demonstrated from start to finish, from the drying of the raw clay to the arrangement of hand-cut zellij tiles on ornate tables.