Archive | March, 2011

I AM STILL ALIVE.

31 Mar

Okay, sorry about not posting about what’s been going on in my life…I’m very lame and will say I have been busy. Which I have! I was in Rome for a week, then had midterms and this past weekend I went to Tangier and Chefchaouen…and in two hours I’m hopping on a train then bus to go to Marzouga in southern Morocco for a CAMEL TREK this weekend. I am quite the intrepid girl.

However, rest assured that I have posts written up for Rome AND Tangier/Chefchaouen. But I refuse to post them until I figure out a good way to incorporate photos into the posts. Which I’m working on. But not now, since as I said, I’m headed to the desert!

Sarah Palin may be able to see Russia from her backyard, but I’ll be able to ┬ásee Algeria from across the Saharan desert. I win.

Until next week, when I promise to update like crazy, salaam!

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A Return to Rabat

19 Mar

Today I head back to Morocco and to reality (…this sentence seems incongruous).

I have lots of homework to do that I’ve been avoiding for the past week, but hey, that’s life.

And more importantly (yup, making priorities), I have to write here about my adventures in Rome!

But a quick summary of my thoughts on Rome: I love it. And of all the places I’ve been in the world, seriously believe this is a city I could actually live in. Rome gets me, I get Rome.

Until later, ciao!

Salaam, Maroc! Buon giorno, Italia!

11 Mar

Tomorrow I’m heading across the Mediterranean to the Eternal City, Roma for a week of food, wine, history and adventures!

 

Unfortunately, I’m going alone. Due to absolute bureaucratic BS, Macarena could not get her visa to come with me. She’s headed off already to the south of Morocco with friends, for a week of beaches and camel treks – so she’ll have fabulous time.

Seeing as I had to make some rearrangements in travel plans, I’m now staying with my friend Kelly in her apartment in Rome.

Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy vacation! (But I always did love a bit of turbulence).

Until my next update in Rome, arrivederci!

I See the Sea (and Sheep)

10 Mar

Almost a week later, here’s my update on El-Jadida and my day on the farm!

I’ve just gotten seriously upsetting news, and my emotions are a little ragged right now, so if this post comes off as snarky or apathetic or bland or whatever in parts, I apologize in advance. It’s hard to be bubbly when your hopes keep getting dashed.

Anyway.

Friday I went home with Macarena, we had couscous, I went to Alaina’s place and had lunch part 2, then Alaina and I caught the train to El Jadida. The ride from Rabat to Casa and then Casa to El Jadida was beautiful, as usual. But that’s just Morocco.

We got to El-Jadida, hopped in a cab, who took us to the medina where our hotel was, stopped the cab, got out, and said, “We can’t take the car farther – I’ll show you the rest of the way.” Very nice of him. We got to the hotel, saw some hot Spaniards checking in while we were checking in and both checking out each other and then went to our room. For some reason, there was a random stone (read: cinder block) wall in our room. But that’s fine, it was cheap (50 Dhs each, or less than $6 per night) and clean. We settle in, then head out to get dinner (since it’s about 8pm now). We go to this little restaurant between to big ones that are FILLLLLLLLEDDD with guys who keep staring at us. The restaurant’s cooks were two sisters and it was run by one of their husbands. I made that all up, I have no idea what the people’s relationships to each in that restaurant were, but I like to make up stories that romanticize things. I had some legume soup, Alaina had some calamari (it was delicious. SO FRESH).

Then we went to meet up with the rest of the girls who had gotten to El-Jadida earlier that day. Where were they? Oh, they were in a bar. What was the bar called? It was called Le Tit. I kid you not. We went there, had some beers, were the only women in the whole bar with about 60 guys staring at us intently. Good times. Then we went to another bar and had the same thing happen. Good times.

Then we went back to the hotel (we were all staying the same place) and talked for like 3 hours before everyone went back to their respective rooms for sleepy times.

Next morning, Brittany, Alaina and I got up a bit earlier than Kate, Michelle and Abesha and got coffee (and Pringles in my bag) for a pre-petite manger meal. Then we all met up, and went to this restaurant on top of a building looking out over the Atlantic ocean. It was gorgeous. My crepe tasted like a chicken pot pie. Weird.

Afterwords, we walked to the Portuguese city (El-Jadida = originally Portuguese apparently) and walked along the ramparts of the old town, admiring the views and such idyll pastimes. Then we split up and Brittany and I went to see a communal bakery while the others went to go sit on a cafe on the beach.

So we went to the bakery. Where the man spoke to me only in French, very quickly. My French is the equivalent of my knowledge in dance theory – I might be able to BS some of it but pretty quickly my flimsy attempts at understanding run out. Anywho, afterwards Brittany and I finished walking around the walled city, and made a short pit stop into our near death in a completely dark/smelly/terrifying prison. Which we were too terrified to check out.

At this point, Macarena, Caity and Anna have arrived in El-Jadida and are heading to meet up with the girls on the beach. We go to join them, and we all sit for a while drinking coffee/tea and chatting. We then head to the cistern, the big tourist site (meaning not that big) in El-Jadida. It was pretty awesome, if slightly mildewy. Happens when it’s hundreds of years old.

Afterwards, we got lunch (yum shawarma) and then all of us caught the 5pm train back to Rabat. We had a ridiculous fun time on the trains, and probably annoyed everyone else in our train car to the point of┬ácontemplating 1) suicide or 2) violence against women. Yeah, we aren’t obnoxious.

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Sunday I got up early to go to AMIDEAST so we could to go a farm! Only seven kids showed up, so it was me, Alaina, Anna, Caity, Carson, Michelle, and Brittany. Which was great, because I don’t think the day would have turned out so well if we had more people.

We get into our mini-bus and head about an hour outside of Rabat (which puts your firmly in farm land. Twenty minutes outside of Rabat puts you firmly in farm land.) and stop at a country souk to meet with Chikiri, one of our professors and the owner of the farm we’re going to. A country souk is kinda like a farmer’s market (but a serious farmer’s market, with livestock and butchers and EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE) and a flea market. It’s very hectic, we were the only whities there and it was a bit overwhelming…but absolutely interesting. After Chikiri made some purchases (and we got to eat the best oranges I have ever tasted) we headed to his farm “house”. House? More like mansion. It was GORGEOUS. You can go through the pictures in my FB album and see what I mean.

We spent the day playing with a 10-day old calf (omg favorite), hiking the countryside, making fresh lemonade, stuffing our selves with delicious homemade food, planting a tree, making bread, in general an excellent time.

Loved that calf. So adorable. It liked me too :).

And that’s all I have.

I’m going to Rome in two days. On my own. Macarena literally cannot get a visa, so I’m traveling solo. Should be interesting. But I just wish Macarena could have gone with me – she needs a break more than I do.

To the Ocean!

4 Mar

This weekend I’m heading to El-Jadida with a friends. It’s a beach town. That’s about all I know. I hear it’s beautiful though!

But today, I’m going to the Italian embassy in hopes of convincing them (through whatever means necessary) that they should give Macarena her visa so we can actually go to Rome for spring break next week like we’ve planned and paid for.

And Sunday, we’re going to a farm to milk cows, make bread, be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Until then, salaam!

Aging With Grace

4 Mar


History in Ruins, originally uploaded by catlitten.

Volubilis, a Roman outpost in what seemed the edge of known world around two thousand years ago.

I loved this place. I loved that everything was so old, so fallen down, but still there and still meaning something to people thousands of years into the future. Even with it crawling with tourists, you could feel perfectly alone and at peace.

I would camp here if I could.

Also, got to climb all over the ruins like a monkey. Good times.

Urban Agriculture

1 Mar


FESplendid, originally uploaded by catlitten.

This is Fes. This is a city of around 1 million people. This is a city that is thousands of years old. And yet I can be surround by fields and sheep and shepherds in only a few minutes.

Morocco is simply like this. A flux of urban, suburban and rural.