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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"Take the train from Casablanca going south"

Better start off with a good Moroccan breakfast--(clockwise beginning at one o'clock) butter, almond paste, cheese, honey, olives--washed down with fresh-squeezed o.j.!

Need a chapeau?

Getting ready for next weekend's Marrakech Gran Prix!

Enough handmade berber rugs for everyone in the world to have one or maybe even two!!!  This rug dealer educated us about the women's rug cooperatives up in the high Atlas Mountains with which he works.  We are gathering information about women's cooperatives and spent a good part of the afternoon collecting business cards and explaining our purposes.  

Mon petit amoure...

We bought some wool yarn here almost right out of the dying vat.  These guys were very enthusiastic about me taking a whole big bag and kept trying to stuff more in!  It is coarse and probably only suitable for rugs, but it IS bright!!!  And dyed au natural!  I haven't met too many Moroccan sheep up close, but from the looks of their fleece they must be a pretty tough street gang sort of breed.  Switchblades, gang signs, hanging out under streetlamps...

Natural dyes to prove their claims!

A foot operated lathe.  My feet would be bloody stubs if I attempted this, but he has turned it into an art form.

We took "a three hour tour, a three hour tour" by horse cart ALL over Marrekech.  This was a peek into the high rent district.  A highlight was when the driver turned right into the medina and we barrelled on through!  Merchants, vendors, motorbikes, cats, donkey carts, other horse-drawn wagons--all sharing the same alley width.

Our driver's very charming hat

Camel handler--when I pointed my camera at him, he smiled.  NOT the snake charmer!  Oh no.  He had men surrounding him to chase OFF photographers!

"Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind!"

"I'll just hum."

Monday, March 25, 2019

A Peak at the Sale Souk!

Step through this open door.

Enter and make your way down the alleyway.  Pass the  guy in the straw hat and the school boy friends making their way home.  

When you pass the straw hat guy again, you'll notice he's pulling a bit of a tea cart!  It must be tea time!  Neighbor Madame Zerroni and Jerry will pause as you take pictures!

I think the tea guy is not only a regular souk visitor--
he's a fixture!  

Continue on past this intent seamstress

and this focused gentleman who seems to be repairing jeans--

and these two (we can only hope their tea will perk them up and light a fire under them).

Your nose won't miss the fish cleaner,

and you may wonder what the planners have in mind for this space.

Don't miss the watering hole for Greek gods

nor the irony of these publicly fleshy models in a completely covered and veiled society.

"Au revoir!"

Behold the Avocado!

I am hereby proclaiming avocados as one of the 5 BEST things about Morocco.  The other four have yet to be determined in rank order, but I am pausing here to freely profess my undying devotion to this green object of my affection.  We buy seven a week--the math is pretty easy--one a day.  Last week we were going to be gone, so I peeled FOUR.  We lathered that guacamole on bread.  We secretly dipped our fingers in it when the other wasn't looking.  And when we got home late at night, I straightway dug a spoon into the tiny leftover bowl of it in the fridge.

I come by my love naturally.  My mother treated avocados reverently.  We waited all year for February--the only month we could really indulge them.  I don't remember mashing them;  we just seductively sliced them.  My aunt Norma who lived in California had obviously learned there that when combined with peeled grapefruits, avocados become food of the Gods.

And then there's this.  Chickpeas (pois chiches) bathed in olive oil and a dash or four of vinegar, peppered with cucumbers and olives with an EASTER PARADE bonnet of avocado...I rest my case...

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Mr. Bojangles from a previous post has now been given a job description!  He sells water!  He pours it out of a goat bladder into these bright cups.  Apparently very traditional and very Moroccan.

The public buses here are incredibly dilapidated. We haven't braved them yet.  The trams and trains are very clean and sleek, and the taxis are very well-kept.  But these???

Mountains and mounds of exotic spices and beans.  One wonders why Marco Polo didn't just go southwest across the Mediterranean instead of east.  Get back to me with that answer.

Beautiful Moroccan tajine pots.  These appear to be ornamental, but you can buy working horse tajines all over.  Think couscous, vegetables, maybe some beef, and an array of those spices--all steaming in a huge tajine  brought hot to the table.  mmmm...good. 

Checking out the jilabas with my shopping friends in Casablanca.  Apparently, in this store you had to buy at least ten, so it must have been a wholesale place.

They are exotic and made out of beautiful material.

Argan oil in the making.

Google yielded up this picture of the traditional means of extracting the oil.  The argan seeds grow in trees.  Goats climb up into the trees to eat them, and then the digestive tract of the goat breaks the seed down so that it is softer to grind.  About 2 million Moroccans sustain themselves with oil production.  I'm going to write more about this later because it is so interesting and RIGHT UP OUR HUMANITARIAN ALLEY!  For now, the oil is used for dipping bread and cosmetically on your face and hair.  Mad hopes there are some tree-climbing goats in her photographic future.

Petit enfants

High fives in any language

Hair in Moroccan children (I don't know about the women because theirs is always covered, of course) seems to come in various blacks and browns and reddish tones--curly sometimes.

This little girl was playing on some steps behind her mother who was selling bread in the souk.  I zoomed in on her; it took maybe 4.86 seconds.  I'm not always so lucky.

These children were playing on the pillars at the Tower Hassan just a short block from our apartment.  I'll have to do a complete posting on this place--it is ALWAYS surrounded by tour buses.  We found out yesterday that the Pope and the King will be here when the Pope comes next week!  I wonder if we can just saunter over.

In China this would be a grandpa, right???? I love their yummy-looking snack.

This child's reality includes sitting everyday with his mother against a wall on the sidewalk while she solicits coins.  He doesn't seem any worse for the wear.

I could kidnap...
Oh, yes I could.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley