Some Improved Methods for Previous Adventures and a Second Moroccan Thanksgiving

November 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

At a similar point in the preceding year I visited Merzouga, on the cusp of the Sahara desert, and Volubilis, the Roman ruins outside of Meknes. This year, I have recently returned from repetitions of those same undertakings, but with some improvements on my previous experiences to report. In addition, my second Thanksgiving in Morocco -meaning, new recipes!

« Read the rest of this entry »

In the realm of Botticelli, Da Vinci, and the Romans [Updated]

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Early morning light in Florence. Ken and I have just returned from an epic foray into the land of pasta and cannolis. Neither of which, interestingly enough, featured that prominently in our experiences. After spending 10 days in Italy, its beauties still seem impossible to exhaust.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Enjoyable Exploits of the Month – In Morocco.

October 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

My last reflections focused on an idyllic journey through southwest Ireland, but that is now far distant in the past. Now, I have the great, good fortune to forward to an extensive adventure in Italy, beginning this Wednesday. Since I imagine upon my return my thoughts and photographic resources will be entirely absorbed in all things Italian, I take this opportunity to return to my neglected activities in Morocco. Indeed, the time has not been as my bare blog might suggest. Just a week following my return to Fez, Ken and I set off for Jebel Toubkal, so that I might take another shot at reaching its peak (if you recall, my first attempt last year was foiled by snow and thunderstorms). As the photo demonstrates, the weather was perfect for our ascent and we reached the top with only slight miscalculations in route and loose rock.

(The above is another masterpiece that I must credit to Ken Johnston and his mastery of the point and shoot apparatus.)

« Read the rest of this entry »

Céad míle fáilte ~ A hundred thousand welcomes…to Ireland.

October 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

Credit for this masterpiece in green must go to ra’ajli and his newly discovered genius in photography. Nobody puts the camera to “landscape mode” like ra’ajli. It should be noted, and indeed it will later be in evidence, that he has also mastered “pet mode”, “food mode”, and several others.

At the beginning of September, I embarked on a journey that I have been dreaming of from the years of my childhood. The mystical emerald isle has always held special fascination for me; I suppose it could be an instinctual feeling of kinship with people of green, wet places. So, off I went to Kerry County, in the southwest of Ireland. I stayed in the town of Killarney – a lovely, extremely popular tourist stop for Irish and international parties alike.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Sellou/Sfuf السفوف او سلو ~ Or, how I’m continuing to develop my Moroccan sweet-tooth.

August 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Medina wall art. Who could this character be? It’s not often that you see a pipe like that here in Fes. He appears to me as a sailor. I love those thick orange lips. What a lovely rendition.

Among other activities this week I decided to attempt the creation of one of my favorite Moroccan desserts. Sellou is a mound of ground almonds, spices, butter, etc. that Moroccans prepare during Ramadan, other holidays, and for pregnancies. It is obviously an efficient means for restoring your body after a day of fasting. I have eaten mountains of sellou and it is a dish that is usually sharply marked by the preferences of those who prepare it. I have tasted sellou that was formed into solid cakes, sellou that had to be eaten with a spoon, and sellou that landed somewhere inbetween – meaning that it crumbles just before it reaches my mouth causing all sorts of mortification. It is a dangerous thing to keep in the fridge and I have spent many tens of minutes standing there, with the fridge door shamefully open convinced I shant remain long, consuming endless spoonfuls. It is rather like my father’s chocolate cakes. I recently tried to explain to someone here how my mother and I would decimate those poor cakes spoonful by spoonful, right under my father’s nose. I think the most amusing part for my listener was that my father bakes cakes.

And so, yesterday, I gathered my ingredients and messily embarked on this mission.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Painting the mood of our neighborhood.

August 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was leaving my neighborhood when I found a long stretch of drb had transformed from its formerly drab grays and browns to the freshest white. It was applied haphazardly, as is often the case in Morocco, but nonetheless the whitewash gave the street a revivified air. As the days progressed, so did the transformations in this area of my neighborhood. Large blue arches were painted over the white early in the process, only to be cloaked in another layer of white. Individual paintings of flowers began appearing at intervals and these were kept. Several doors were repainted in a dark, deep red, and, at last, phrases began appearing on the walls. Phrases like this one above, “Cleanliness is of the faith/faithful.” This project fascinates me because it demonstrates a communal interest in the neighborhood that, based on my research thus far, is often indicated to be lacking.

« Read the rest of this entry »

What am I learning in Morocco?

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. I want always to have time in the mornings to sit through one or two pots of tea while reading things of peripheral meaning to my life.

2. I imagine myself doing everything – before I decide to do it, as I am doing it – I imagine it over and over in new ways. Afterwards, my memories are challenged by preceding imaginations and new, retrospective ones. Sometimes, I get lost in these creations.