Friday, June 20, 2008

Morocco and Home

Just so you know.......

Cody and Cindy returned to the USA on June 7th. It was a LONG 23 hours of travel time. But the monotony of travel was broken up by the news of Lily's birth. The following pictures are some of the last I took in Morocco and the first I took upon our return.

This was Cody's last day of work so I took a picture of him with our Moroccan crew. This could be a new Moroccan Guy Band "Cody and the Mohammeds". Actually, only 5 of the crew were named Mohammed. We also had Hassan's, Omar's and others.

This is my wonderful maid, Rqia. Someday I will right an entire post about how sweet she is, and how much I miss her.

When we got home it had been raining in Idaho for 2 1/2 weeks, so it was very green....

...very beautiful, and very cool for a couple of travelers coming from Northern Africa.

We were only home for two days when we packed up ourselves and Hillary, Cali and Gideon and took off for Colorado to take Cody to wrestling camp and to visit friends. We camped part of the time we were there at Pueblo Lake State Park.
You can read all about that adventure on Cali's Blog. Just click on "Cali and Travis" at the right and scroll down a little on her blog until you get to "Colorado Cronicles".

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Marrakech Express Trip

We took a little road trip on May 31st up to the beautiful city of Marrakech. The first thing we noticed was the whole town is a salmon pink color. The ramparts of the town are very old but have been kept up. Marrakech is a lot greener and more metropolitan than Agidir. The architecture on the newer buildings is very traditional and beautiful....

Below you can see the gate welcoming us to our Hotel. The Royal Mirage Marrekech. Our Translator, Aziz, used to work in the hospitality industry (At the 4 Seasons in Palm Beach) and he has a friend who got us a real good deal on our hotel.
And the lobby was absolutely fabulous!!
We took a taxi into the city where we saw some interesting wildlife......

... and not so wild life.
We entered the Medina and found beautiful art work in unlikely places.
We grabbed a carriage and went for a short tour around the tourist district.

Cody tried to refuse the driver when he handed him the reins and whip. When the driver put the hat on Cody's head, Cody looked at us and asked how many critters he might be harboring in the hat?
The is one very old mosques of the city.
...and I finally made Cody take some pictures of me so people could see that I was here too.
We ventured into several of the souks where prices were a lot higher than in Agidir and Taroundant.
Of course I had no problem finding the shoe vendors.

And I loved these "Sparkly Slippers" I didn't even bother asking the price though.

We visited Place' Jemma El Fna.. one of the most famous places in Marrakech. It was early in the afternoon and not very much was going on.
We did find a good place to get fresh squeezed orange juice for about .42 cents a glass.
We went to roof top cafe' for an early dinner.
The smoothies were delicious! Then we headed back to the big square..... Place' Jemma El Fna..
Which was extremely crowded and bustling with snake charmers, dancers, storyteller, tooth pullers, vendors of all sorts and thousands of tourists and locals!!

Several of the over 100 food vendors served this speciality.... Goats Head anyone?

Cody and I indulged ourselves with Henna Tatoos..... And then we walked about halfway back to the hotel before we grabbed a taxi. It was a very pleasant ending to a very pleasant day.

On Sunday morning when the traffic was almost non existant, we drove through town to see some more sites.
As we left Marrakech via a different route we passed miles and miles of olive orchards. We drove home through the High Atlas mountains and it was a beautiful drive.

But you have to watch out for the sharp rocks. They will cut your tires.

All in all I have throughly enjoyed our time in Marrakech and I will miss it! Saturday Cody and I leave at 4:00 in the morning to return home. We will be home for 2 days and then we will leave to go to Colorado with Hillary and Cali and Gideon. We are going to camp for a few days and I am going to try to rest up for the coming six weeks of summer fun!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts from Morocco.....

Thought #1: What does your son do when he wants to surprise you by fixing you breakfast?
Well, that depends on if you have been to the store recently.
Last Sunday (the 25th) when Cody got up there were no eggs, no cereal, no bread, no milk.... Hmmmm???? What to fix. Well, it may look funny for breakfast, but it was delicious. Pasta lightly tossed in olive oil and minced garlic smothered in Gouda cheese, and hash browns fried in an obscene amount of butter. Put that with a glass of OJ and it was a right tasty and filling breakfast.

Thought #2 : Hedges
Notice the thorn Cody is holding.

Notice the branches from whence the thorn came.

Not everyone in this part of the world uses fencing to keep unwanted critters (2 legged or 4 legged) out of their fields or away from their homes. Some people use walls, especially in the city or around their country houses. But around their fields they build hedge rows. Sometimes of thorn bushes......

Sometimes they use a very large variety of Cactus....

Sometimes they use old tree branches and shrubs.......

And sometimes a combination of these things.....

So..... the next time you are reading in your scriptures and you come across a passage where it talks about a hedge, such as...Proverbs 15:19, Hosea 2:6, Mosiah 7:29, ...maybe you will have a different mental picture come to mind than what you have had in the past. Hedges in the countryside of this part of the world are not pretty or ornamental.

They serve as a barrier, and a very effective one.

".....if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up thy way; ...... know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." D&C 122:7