Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Riad

One of Julia's student's parents own a Riad (hotel/restaurant) in the Fez medina. She took me there for a late dinner one night.

Dinner went like this:
We walked down a long alley, covered in carpets and entered an unmarked door. We were greeted by a woman who led into an amazing courtyard with flowers, fruit trees and a fountain. A man strummed a small stringed instrument while a beautiful woman sat next to him and sang.
We were brought us wine, bread, and ELEVEN salads. We ate most of them and I was stuffed.

Then, a tangine appeared- a sort of sauce of stewed vegetables over meat, this one over sheep. Jules doesn't eat meat at all, while I will on certain occasions. Taking one for the team, I ate a polite helping of mutton.

The wait staff came for our plates. I was relieved until I noticed that after taking my plate away, they gave me a new one. "Another tagine is coming..." the waitress said in french. "Encore?" This one was chicken, with apricot sauce and stewed prunes. It was amazing.

The man switched to a new stringed instrument. The tagine plates were cleared, and three tiered cookie plate arrived, folled by mint tea that I will dream about for the rest of my life.

The family refused to let us pay, and invited us to come again. A man with a lantern escorted us down the alley and back to our car. The whole thing was completely unreal, but never the less, amazing.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fez Medina

The medina is the original city, surrounded by walls. It is still a fully functioning part of the city, with appartments, mosques, schools, doctors, industry, restaurants, and stores. The streets are narrow and goods are transported by cart or mule. The Medina in Fez is the most populated car-free area in the world.

Street sign:

Cleansing before prayer:

There are 64 quarters in the medina. A quarter is an area that includes a mosque and a fountain:

Traditional Moroccan houses were built with privacy in mind. If windows existed, they were enclosed, like this one, so that women in the house could see the street but could not be seen themselves:

Almost every house has a sattelite dish...

Working in a tannery:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



Morocco is amazing but all of this posting has taken the love of blogging out of me for the time being, so more to come later. The short version:

I arrived.

Julia (my cousin) lives in a mountain town that is resorty and cool and at the end of the day, a really nice change from the surrounding areas.

The closest city is Fez, one hour by shared taxi.

They speak Arabic and French. I know like five Arabic words, so I use French. My conversations are sort of pre-school level.

People are really nice, though the women are nice-nice and the men are not always.

I love the Medinas-old parts of the cities surrounded by walls. The streets are as wide as donkeys.

I made some moroccan friends today.

I went to a night club in Marakesh.

I fed some monkeys.

Today I am going to the Sahara!

Monday, June 9, 2008


PA -> NY -> Barcelona

I thought this trip would be a chance to experience being alone, since I had a few days to spend in Spain before I headed to Morocco. It appears that I am not attracting solitude quite yet though: after a few blurry hours exploring el Barrio Gotico in Barcelona and weaving my way through crowds of people in the Picasso museum, I fell asleep in my hostal only to awake to my new traveling buddy standing at the foot of my bunk. Mariel, 29, from Buenos Aires and very much on the same wavelength as I, was my perfect traveling compliment. I tend to meander around, bumping into historical sites and museums only by chance. She, on the other hand, knew everywhere there was to go, had circled every important square, building and street on her map and was ready to see them as early as possible. Luckily, our paces were well balanced, and Mariel never went anywhere without mate and hot water which made seeing everything on very little sleep possible (and also made me addicted to mate.. drinking it now...)

I was sad to see Mariel go, but just a few hours after she got on the airport bus and we waved good bye, Autsy and Jade arrived. We scoped out the local hangout spots, became experts on Gaudi architecture and ate amazing cheeses in the apartment where they are squatting...(sort of).



I spent the week after the wedding in New York. I love Brooklyn, staying with Aliya and Travis, exploring. I also love New York as the international meeting place. No where else in the world do so many people from different backgrounds come together, filling subway cars with dozens of cultures and languages at one time. New York also seems to be where all of my various lives intersect: family, childhood, highschool, college, traveling, seattle: people I've known forever and people I've just met all seem to be there. And invariably I run into them in the street or on the subway, amongst so many millions of people.

Aliya and Mathew at Cuban breakfast (Aliya is having lemonade cleanse):

My parents came to visit for the day, and we went to an Austrian cafe, complete with delicious pastries:

My four year old cousin took this one:


The Wedding...

Since the mansion - and its extensions- usually seem to know what everyone is up to in some form or another, it seems very strange to have to explain my wherabouts, especially in writing. But, I realize that today it has been almost 3 whole weeks since I left - wait a minute. I actually hadn't realized that until just now counting the dates out on my fingers. What in the world? - ok, so admittedly it's been a long time... Here is where I have been:

The Wedding:

PA was beautiful, the farm was on a rolling green hill covered in fields, trees and a few alpacas. We camped, cooked, planted, constructed, made bonfires, decorated, performed, danced.

Shira was the calmest neurotic bride I've ever met, and was moving chairs, cooking and carrying things until the hour before the ceremony. She and Jeff made the food for the dinner themselves using produce from local farms, canned beets for wedding favors and completely succeeded in making their wedding be a celebration of their community and their place within it, as well as of themselves.

I loved seeing so many people from my life in one place and getting to spend time with them in such an amazing place and way.

Aviva touched every part of the wedding without being there physically- she wrote a blessing for the ceremony, created part of the hoopa (spelling please?) co-created the centerpiece idea, wrote a song verse and was there on speakerphone when Travis played campfire songs. Still we missed her all of the time, and everyone talked about her incesantly.