Saturday, June 30, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 27

Day 27:

- Went in bike tunned even after knowing shouldn't. Hotel filled with Chinese (owner is Chinese).
- The Chinese refusing to pay the full amount for "burn" in room. Got free breakfast. Chinese plates and was Chinese food at night.
- Train to Venice across bridge. See in distance. Met another Portugese when Andre look for lost waterbottle.
- Wandered to outskirts of Ghetto. Saw Realto and San. Marco. Went up the tower. Great view, can see all the islands (but can't see canals).
- Went in cathederal. Great mosaic gold tiles on ceiling. The St. Mark's altarpiece was huge and completely studded and filled with gems.
- Went to palace. Very tired. Rape of Europa... wasn't sure we saw it since we were expecting more. Not so impressive. Wish know significance. The large meeting room very impressive. Paintings (the black rag), decorations and reliefs. Size and the largest canvas painting very impressive. The bridge to prison cool with 2 sides.
- Prison closest thing to what I imagined a dungeon to be.
- Delicious lasagna.
- Andre crashed. I washed some, shower, read new book (Romania) and write. Try to meet Chinese in lobby but only employees left.
- Then I fell asleep and didn't hear Andre's shower. Woke up, Andre awake due to jet lag.

Friday, June 29, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 26

Day 26:

- I take short trip to Monaco while Andre sleep.
- Beautiful hills and ocean on way.
- Underground Monaco
- Monte Carlo station excited to see name. Walked to Casino.
- Escalator stretch 1/10 across country!
- Regal building, looks very fancy inside, but can't get in due to dress code.
- See good cars.
- Beautiful view of mountains and clouds just scraping the top.
- Went to hill where palace is. Beautiful view of Monaco and yatch harbours (giant yatchs). Can see the entire country by looking at both sides. Packed buildings, some classical, on hills gives a layered look.
- Walked by palace in time to see changing of the guards. Old style city in front of palace.
- Walked up hill in Nice and saw the panorama. Nice waterworks and fake waterfall.
- Night train to Venice. separated from Andre. Had snacks and guitar players next door.
- Andre's room had older people glaring at him. Mine had 3 Indians, 2 snore, one not happy with snoring. They came aboard later. See moon and coast on ride.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 25

Day 25:

- Felix leave at train station and I leave to pick u Ndre.
- Come out late about 1 hour after land.
- Andre tell story about being kicked out of Heathrow so wondered for 4 hours at night.
- Booked ticket and spent rest of time on beach. Water gets cold farther out and down. spooky so swam back.
- Bought roast chicken and baguette for dinner.
- drank on deck outside I had 1.5 bottle of wine (almost).
- Sat on beach to drink and talk about politics then Morocco.
- Drive girls away but I get them back.
- Going to bar but Andre tired so go to sleep.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 24

Day 24:

[on train to Florence]

- Train to Nice. Hotel full of Australiand and Canadians. Some Americans.
- Nice square with fountain and two story carousel. Ate baguette and stuff on park bench overlooking beach.
- Saw Cannes and beautiful beaches and white sand from train.
- Nice: pebble beach but bright azure waters. "Cote d'Azure" that turn blue farther out.
- Wait for Andre for 2 hours. Get message when return but already checked in. Chicago flight cancelled.
- Hang out at beach. Swim among large crashing waves. Walk along beach at night.
- Beautiful moon reflection, crescent of lights, and the square with the ring of light. guitar player there.
- Lighted castle on hill and view of boulevard.
- Seeing the rock tubler motion and sound of the ocean on beach.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 23

Day 23:
- Day trip to Avignon.
- Theme park/minigolf-like town walls. Old-style town.
- Pope's palace on cliff.
- Boring commentary/very long commentary for both.
- Avignon bridge (song stuck for rest of Felix trip). Nice view from end (of palace).
- Cool double-decker chapel.
- Pope's palace very big place. Cool layers of vaulted rooms.
- Cool to see models of construction progression.
- Took local train back by accident.
- countryside and lots of vines.
- walk around old town Marseilles. Walked to the large church. Drawbridge. Good view down and of hills.
- Busy waterfront near harbour with lots of restaurants.
- Walk back to hostel. Small streets, plum tree (purple). Beaches/waterfront.

Monday, June 25, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 22

Day 22:

- [Train to Marrakech.] See Pyrenees as pass border. Beautiful ocean villages. Tunnels.
- Tourist info closed as enter Marseilles. Felix start flip out as no accomodations. "we'll just have to sleep in the streets" (Bonnevienne found after asking a series of stations and places.)
- Stop Montpellier four hours. Very classic French architecture. Drink wine and eat crepes.
- Asked train station info -> asked metro. Give map and told to take to Rond-Pont and bus 44
- Ask bus driver. Driver shouts and few youth in back say they go there. Difficult to converse and they seemed like a gang. Very relieved to see they get off right stop (and ask someone) and then especially when I saw sign. Was afraid they'd lead us to alley and mug us!
- Saw Montpellier acquaduct and hills from the main park.
- Felix relieved when hjear hostel is in guide books. I relieve as see HI sign in front.
- Strange mix of people in hostel. Older people too. 2 French from Morocco in room.
- Managed a conversation with then in broken French and motioning.
- Cheap and hearty food.
- Took walk to beach. Relatively close and see kite surfers, surfers, windsurfers.
- Good sunset, wind, and waves.
- Nice lights and curved beaches. Went to sleep relatively eary.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 21

Day 21:

- Woke up a bit disoriented.
- Slept to about noon.
- Walked around the main road (La Rambla)
- Visited Cathederal. see roof. Cool dark vaulted ceiling and lighting. wood carvings in middle.
- 2 pastries overloaded. "not enough" to "too much." sugar high. Not want pastries for rest of day even as Felix loves pastries.
- Crazy street performers. Grouped markets. Colon turns out to be Columbus.
- Visited oldest Gothic cathedral (San Marie del Mar?) Roof many black old looking parts.
- Decide go to mass in Sagrada Familia.
- Dinner just outside.
- Mass in small fenced off area (where wedding was before?)
- Strange symbols (the 4 crecent moons not cross).
- Catalan or Spanish? Small band section.
- "church tour"
- My 1st mass and Felix's first in a decade. I tried to follow. People surprisingly lax.
- Good, relaxing and friendly music with Spanish tune. Simon and Garfunkle. People crying and touching cross after mass.
- Take metro to the fountain.
- Ginormous musical and lighted fountain. Skyscrapers and the twin towers. Like the ones in Venice according to Felix.
- Promenade of fountains.
- Much more street excalators. Nice misty effect somtime. Giant layered waterfalls with clever engineering including up nozzles at base... great engineering for great effect.
- Fountains lined escalator. The large fountain at top seemed small by comparison.
- Great view from hill and the beam lights from the top lighted building. (looks like crown).
- Very good impression of Barcelona overall. Borderline shortlist but still have to study society.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 20

Day 20:

- After sleepless (relatively) night. See the "Torre Catalunya" sign. Arrive Barcelona.
[at Venice Hotel in lobby]
- Walk to hostel. 2x ring bell (Felix 2nd time). German lady looks grunpy and not take Lori's bags.
- Lori mad. Store bags at bus stop. The woman with cat on leash and puppy. (saw 2x)
- People speak with lisp.
- Gaudi: Casa Batillo. Very ocean-themed. Cool vents, enlarging of balconies, color shifts to suit lighting, ceiling swirl, patterns, attention to detail amazing.
- Sagrada Familia. Very impressive. Long slender pillars inside. Tall scaffolding, mist added to effect. Finished windows cool. Did not go up due to wait. Again, detail is amazing.
- Praise Gaudi. Shocked when saw the plans. 20-50-80 years estimate. but I'm not sure seeing 125 years already. I believe 80 years more.
- Wonder if reconstructed plans actually same as Gaudi's.
- Marquee around towers, fairy tale clounds, etc.
- The park. wonderful pillars and "overpasses". Gingerbread houses. Street escalators.
- Checked in hostel. Was afraid she'd be mad due to 11:00 check in time. We return afternoon.
- Cheery greeting and ramble about spitting, littering, mugging, "uneducated". offer mousetrap and tips.
- Figure she was crazy. Marion was very nice but very high strung. "electrician friend" "many ideas but he say bathroom indicator lights were enough"
- Sent Lori off at bus stop. Told of San Juan festival.
- Gracias and Barcelona with lisp.
- Fireworks, like firing range. People drop them as they walk, dangerous.
- ppl on beach, drink, fireworks, music (different bar areas).
- 1st touch of Mediterranean Sea. Bought beer, not enough. Bought 2 campaigns. Mine Cava. 3.5-4 euros.
- Felix drunk. No fireworks (turns out is next day). Was going to dump leftover in sea, but finished.
- Both of us got blasted by fireworks. Makeshift earplugs of toilet paper.
- Note: loved the beer and tapas in the bars. 1 bar and free tapas each bar.
- Felix meet high school friend at dinner.

Friday, June 22, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 19

Day 19:

- 5/6 hr bus to Madrid... All trains to Barcelona full. Theorize about solstice festival. (like 5 trains)
- Bus: have to wait for 9pm bus, other nearly hourly bus full.
- Discussed an dbooked 10:30 bus.
- Walked aroun dMadrid. Quick tour for Lori. Nice cafe and desserts.
- The stop at around midnight was good. Brisk air woke me up a bit.
- Drug advice.
- Realize rail pass is crap in most countries. Amazed at low quality of Spanish transit.
- Very good buses. 2 movied Granada->Madrid. Madrid-Barcelona: had same map at first like airplane info screens, but the info screens did not work and turned off eventually. Davinci code shown on bus! (from Granada)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 18

- Walked around Albycin. Reminds me of Morocco. Layout chaotic, like Morocco.
- "no gypsy town"
- Decided not ot walk up ot gypsy otwn.
- Walk into pole. Pidgen crap splashing. Unlucky day.
- Train station: all full! Granada trains full for 2 days.
- Decide take bus to Madrid and train to Barcelona.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 17

Day 17:

[on night train nto Venice. Just in Ventamiglia]
- Alhambra. Interesting Muslim/ Christian mix. Parts with Muslim, parts Christian. Old Muslim seals exist.
- Can see snow peaks of Sierra Nevada. Good terrace on bell tower to see town and Albycin.
- Lion fountain gone for restoration. Wonderful gardens and thin columns. Very impressive waterworks.
- The water staircase is cool idea. Amazin gto see Moroccan influence in Granada. Water staircase is less impressive than what I had expected.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 16

Day 16:

[resting after 1st dinner with Andre. I'm laying in dark room on my back]
- Busy street, etc. Many tourists. Go up rock. Many monkeys. See them grab at things.
- on emonkey nonchalantly walks up to me, we look at each other. Then he jumps on my back (on backpack). "hold on" "that monkey just jumped on that man" They got aggressive when food.
- 3 monkeys in th efamily and the baby breastfeeding.
- Bus from Algecerias to Granada.
- 1st hostel full after walking through what seems to be Morocco again.
- Check in 2nd. Beautiful view from roof bar. The puppy kicking incident.
- sleep with Lori next 3 nights.
- Almost like a private Spanish flat.

Monday, June 18, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 15

Day 15:

- Bought ticket to Ceuta from what seems to be touts. Local bus. 50dh. walk away.
- Unexpected switch at Tetouan. Hectic bus scene. People selling/rushing/dirty and disorganized.
- Try to ask baggage money again.
- get to (Flidilk?)
- 55dh grand taxi reject.
- Police wave taxi for us, tell should be 3-4 dh each. See Ceuta jutting out of ocean. Taxi says is free, gave 15dh.
- Touts 1dh for forms.
- Fill out exit form. Went to special line (non-Moroccans)
- Double exit chech. Ceuta x-ray: no stamp.
- Bus to center. Very different. Much cleaner than Morocco. Tourist office and walk to port.
- See Gibraltar from Ceuta.
- Amazing view of Africa and Europe. Passage to Atlantic.
- Very windy. Catararan. Arrive Algeceras and bus to La Linea.
- "Marrk Lii from US"
- Cheery Gibraltar border guard. Lori show upside down passport cover with hand cover some letters.
- Guard give advice on where to find map. (at airport).
- "Monopoly money" stamp.
- Plane crossing, had to wait.
- Gib pounds. Taxi to Europa Point.
- Walked back through some tunnels, Dark but safe according to driver.
- Saw beaches. View of mountain in Africa. Very clean. Can see Ceuta.
- Missing 20 pounds.
- Dinner in British p7ub. Realize Gib. is amazingly British and quaint.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 14

Day 14:

[on beach in Nice]
- Sleep in. See the spring and waterfalls. People doing laundary, sheep, and hanging around.
- Walk up to abandoned mosque. See grafitti on agaves, soft plants again.
- Beautiful sunset view of Chauen and hills and villages.
- Went up mineret of abandoned mosque.
- Dinner in beautiful restaurant. Alladins Lamp/ Magic Lamp. Feel loney.
- Old style music -> I felt almost colonial looking down on square. Beautiful lamps, cat, etc. Decor.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 13

Day 13:

- Very bright breakfast on terrace. Spanish music.
- Decide take hike up mountain. Got supplies (bread, guy put money on it. Remember small bread bakery in Fes medina). Changed to sleeveless as soon outside city walls. City =stops= after wall.
- Holes in wall to pass through all along it. Few people outside walls.
- Decide take village rate.
- Walk by garbage fire on slope with people, goat, children on it. Being sold weed.
- Follow path into village through pot plantations. Afraid to take pictures. Path ends at hotel!
- Returning, met a local in van, with kid smoking in back (long bong/pipe). Give directions and offer ride "very clost but not easy" (french).
- Decide to tackle mountain straight up. Ran into trail and climbed to saddle.
- Felix and I go to top. Too high! Chauoen so far away! look small from up there. Come back down to sit below rock with Lori and eat bread and drink water. See the silver spinning thing in sky.
- Lori cannot see it and almost had bonoculars. Beautiful view of mountains and lakes.
- Lost path on way, popped into pot field around corner. "need to better mark parths in Morocco"
- "pot field or precipice dilemma"
- Notice if down precipice, more fields.
- Didn't see any guards or farmers around.
- Walk through field. "uh... Mark?" see broken irrigation line and water streaming out. Fix it hecticly. expression on face. Later notice line connected to sprinklers below. Wonder if anyone noticed. - felt foot catch on something.
- Later commented it was like a Harold and Kumar movie.
- Walked briskly through fields to arrive at another precipice. Dead end, so climbed down a stream bed with spikey plants everywhere.
- Nervous near road, scared of possible guards. Felix very nervous again.
- Relief when get to road but still tense. Smiled at a farmer close by. Dog follow, more people.
- Relief when walk a distance and nothing happen.
- A shepard's sheep herd baaed and followed up a bit. I looked back at man and walked slower. Goats stopped near bend.
- Long walk and some good views. Throughout entire day saw wheat/pot fields dotted with poppies and women working wheat fields.
- Offered week within one minute of walking through city gates.
- Sunburn, effect until Nice.

Friday, June 15, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 12

Day 12:

- Bus to Chauoen. Bought tickets day before but realize we left one day early from Fez.
[waiting for Andre in airport]
- Beautiful mountains and clouds skimming the top. See Chauen at base of mountain.
- Enter hostel in beautiful medina. Beautiful new rooms inside as well. Give us own room but no lock. Blue walls, road outside.
- Lots of laundary.
- Terrace see mountain and towns and ruined mosque. Sunset on mountain spectacular.
- Bought nuts at suggestion of some British. Ate nuts and dates on terrace at night. Crows, donkeys, rooster, dog sounds.
- Beautiful square and octagonal minerets. Much better fed cats. PC the pregnant cat of hostel.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 11

Day 11:

- Breakfast where can peoplewatch. Saw the saddest mule! Sad eyes, trembling lip. Like cartoon.
- Hired tour guide.
- Tannery: nice views of pits and houses behind it.
- Carpet: amazing to see the double-knotting and amazing colour changing silk rug.
- Bought 3 rugs. 1400/1200 each to 700 each. Still I think is high price. -> Since offered 600 in Rissani. Huge price difference there.
- The walk through Mella. Children selling picked prunes, swarmed, pictures, pear/postcard. -> Guy took crushed pear. when I was thinking of giving it. when write "get it" on postcard. Confused everyday in Morocco!
- Lori also bought camet seat for 700. I warned too high as 350 asking in Marrakesh for similar. See 19 euro in Granada.
- Had dinner at same place after meeting Hank and Joy. Joy and Lori go to girl hammam.
- Walked around, but not find what Lori wanted.
[sitting in Albycin facing Alhambra]
- Joy and Lori tell of hamman. Tile floor, boob rub, cold water down underpants, door banging, we were horrified.
- Went to hammam. Bought black soap. "Ali Baba" to Hank.
- One local guided up in French. Hank translated. Changed, walked in to room and lied on floor to warm up. Scrape off dead skin. Uring smell near entrance.
- The ceiling was cool.
[on bus to Madrid]
- Old man get me and Felix. Lie on tile floor, sort of smelly. Massage like the ones (Turkish) seen on TV. Strange noises and twisting/stretching. The back bend holding hands and feet. Scrub, hold arm up while scrub under. Unexpected face scrub. Smelly abrasive cloth. Dump water... etc. After done, he stuffed cloth in side of underwear and walk out. I rinse with warm then cold water. Use old tomato can. Hank walked in and say his guy can't find his soap, see it with us.
- Short period of confusion then walk out. I forgot the shampoo and soap.
- Hand tells someone saying happy to see others experienceing other culture. "all the same/brothers"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 10

Day 10:

- Met Nabil in morning. First hesitant due to tout experience, but he was very nice.
[Terrace Chauen, last night]
- Saw mosque ruins, mauseuleam of king. Person reading Quran down near King.
- Long walk, embassies. Felix and him talk of US ("liars").
- Cella.
- Eel pond: one possibly live eel, many small fish and a dead bird. "I thought they were bigger than that"
- Many storks and other white bird. Beautiful valley. Fake palm (antenna) -> 3 prongs on top.
- Got to train tracks 1 min before train arrived. Train packed, stood until major transfer station.
- Met little kid and an older man who talked in French. Both from Meknes.
- Walk from station, group of school (girls) heckled and swiped and pinched. Found hotel Cascades (town backdrop and mountains) just inside of Bab Bou Jaloud. Beautiful view from terrace. See gate and mosque and hills.
- Met Tarik, Nicole, Ryan.
- Took, walk around. Very long medina. Slightly less touts. Narrower and more hectic streets.
- Ate at the recommended sandwich stall (spleen and beef). Their recommendation.
- Nicole had tight pants and showed shoulders. Heckled and hit on. Many problems. She was like Maria Panagopoulous.
- "It's not a tumour"

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 9

Day 9:

- Wake up, almost lost in medina for breakfast. Took taxi from medina to train station.
- Train to Casa, saw hills, cactus fences.
- Saw Hassan II. Amazing to see people still create wonders in modern day. Fountain room was favourite.
- Sat along ocean while waiting for mosque. Atlantic, kids swimming, kid borrow bonoculars. See mosque through that is cool.
- Train AC and heating problem.
- Japan, konichiwa, arigato, Jacky Chan. Starving kitties.
- Cab driver short tour. Rick's cafe. Palm picture.
- Got Lori's tickets.
- Post cards and train to Rabat.
- Arrive Rabat, protest in front of parliament. (told is common)
- Stately buildings, wide palm avenue. Obvious capital look.
- Hotel very good, TP, etc. Dissappointing terrace. new -> Borrowed tape from door.
- Tape from door handle.
- Walked around medina. ery different feel. Nice to have few touts. Ate at cafe Jeunesse, very typical, grungey, cheap, but good food and view.
- Bought corn... like Chinese corn. Strange bucket of water, chose not to dip.
- Walk, man ask for money then corn. Give... 2nd man want. Give to 1st man.
- Bought fruit, man approach and talk about Chinese youth. I was very confused.
- He was called away by the call to prayer. "C'est mon dieu..."
- Bought snacke and went ot bed.
- Walked around kasbah at night. Blue and white, expect like Chauen.
- Beach. Orange juice stand. Cactus. Boardwalk. Bunch of teens and picture of "Japonais"

Monday, June 11, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 8

Day 8:

- [sitting at terrace at Chauen]
- Walked around and visited the madrasa and museum. Amazing detail in medrasa. Museum: good lighting, the 3 fountains, light and music. Sat for long time.
- Tannery. Smell not as bad as I thought. Walked among the pits. Afraid I'd fall in. Didn't use mint sprigs much.
- 200 dh asking for tour, immediately accept 10dh.
- Ate lamb head and brains in square as well as 2 kinds of soup.
- Waited fo rLori at corner. Walked around the mosque.
- Many donkeys, smoke, smell, garbage.
- Met up with Lori and walked to hostel. (3 Brits in same room).
- Ate tripe and cake and tea.
- Felix snoring. Lori and I both poked from both sides.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 7

Day 7:

- Bus to Marrakech at 830. Drive through Atlas. Amazing views. Some snow on mountains.
- Evenly spaced bushes. Windey mountain roads. Saw a "donkey parking lot" near a market town. Got eventually greener. See clouds ahead an dbecame somewhat overcast after Atlas.
- Amazing red mountains, green trees, blue sky. Rocks held percariously over road on obviously eroded soil. Can see rocks blocking erosion in some places.
- Walk to Medina. Had problem finding hostel since map and web names different.
- Flooded by touts due to looking helpless. check in, tout yell at us due to not give money, continues next time we see them too. Assigned hostel room by checking each one. No lockers. Waked around and saw the souks. The square amazing. People set up food stalls near sunset. Food people try very hard to sell. First very nice then mean. "sissy boy," "crazy man", "promise." Tries many food stalls, sausages, snails, soup, etc.
- Visited the palace (ruined one) climbed through ruins. Feel like explorer.
- storks, pipes, tiles.
- Beautiful lantern shope at night, but man in chair with gangreen... juxtaposition. Made me think of beauty an dhorribleness of society, life, etc. Possibly due to lack of sleep, but was a very deep moment fo rme. Throught about all night. Sent postcard, visited terrace. Call to prayer very impressive in such a place.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 6

Day 6:

- up at 4am. climbed dune from ridge and saw sunrise with others. a bit cloudy.
- windy at night, get cold later on.
- needed to go, so went in a stee plarge crater at top of dune.
- Berber with long hadscarf, left hand an ddrop in sand. feel bad after. confused.
- Camel back. Jakob said mine was "badass." was dard, sped ,mean, mohawk.
- lost shirt.
- vallies and Todra Gorge. trickle of water makes luscious jungle of palms and olives.
- sick salad story.
- tasted spring at todra. like bottled water. seeing late at ouarzazate make me very happy. realized importance of water.
- Mohammd talk about how we need more money and how he didn't like the tourism industry since he has to pretent to care.
- Night life great. huge square. kids playing hide and seek, chasing cats, picking up puppies, playing soccer, etc. traditional Arabic and Berber dress.
- Morning dunes yellow and blue tinge. met Arafa, had ice cream.

Friday, June 8, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 5

Day 5:

-Breakfast from patisserie. Met Mohammed at 8am. Drove through to see Draa Valley.
- Amazing palm forests. (Day 7: 13 or 14 year old zooming through square with bike)
[sitting in museum in Marrakech, music, water, sultan palace feel]
- stop in Tazzarine for lunch. Call to prayer everywhere. Before: stop for view, get off, Mohammed pulls car ahead and two ppl with lizards came. Was scared for a moment!
- Risani like a movie set. palms, old buildings, white earth, whirlwind.
"rag" desert amazing. features: tableaus, cliffs, layers that look like rock fences.
- stone (and distance) markers all along highway. talk politic and islam.
- feel small and insignificant in erg chebbi.
[on train to casa]
- turn off before Merzuoga to an almost non-road. See dunes in distance.
- glow orange-red. Deep blue sky. Took short walk in desert. very quite. hear wind howeling on sand, rocks cutting through air when thrown.
- Met 3 slovenians and 1 quebec. ride camel. up nad down great. remind me star wars.
- barefoot up dune. low sun, amazin gview and colours. top ridge of dune very sharply defined, shadows. camp couple of tents. climbed dune, but not in time for sunset. climbed straight up. bad idea. can see the edges of erg on all directions. returned for soup tagine, fruit with cinnamon in a candellit camp. many flies, other bugs and scarabs. lied outside camp and enjoyed the star, galaxy, meteors. slept in bed outside camp. windy. even with clouds, cna see milky way without glasses. starlit, palms, dune, dunes in distance. beautiful. not much sleep. bed at midnight.
- nicholas translator. bathroom "anywhere".
- wore headscarves to prevent sunburn.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 4

Day 4:

- Wake up 620 before alarm. Went to airport early and found out plane. Checked in bags. I am nervous.
- Plane: Morocco card with french, arabic. Arabic over plane announcements hard.
- Arrive Casa, Felix almost exit, but I dragged his back to right door. Very different feel, Arabic and Moroccan star.
[on bus to Marrakech]
- Old prop plane. Obvious wear. arabic stuff and drinking glasses. Cargo hold with nets.
- steep takeoff, see dry earth below. Fly over Atlas, see clouds being blocked. Spactacular descent after mountains. gorges, ravine, desert (rak) landscape.
- very hot, sun directly overhead (almost). immediate pictures. strict customs. pic of king. All closed, cop call taxi for us. wait outside, police around, hot bright, Arabic elevator music, Arabic signs. Car switch, sales pitch, meet Mohammed. Arrive hotel and agree Ait Benhaddou, got taxi in town. had 2 in it, then 2 more got in (6 total)! Squeeze in middle, old men and 2 girls with traditional clothing. got change, water, lunch. Most stores closed. found way back with some difficulty, met Mohammed for Ait Benhaddou. Stop by kasbah, Altas, then Ait Benhaddou(AB). Dry riverbed, bridges just piles, no railings. Explored AB and sat up top wathcing colour changes as sun gets lower.
- Dinner in hotel and sleep. Town wakes up at night. Bought nail clipper for 3dh.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 3

Day 3:

- Walked around and got internet. Just missed changing of guards.
- South Madrid and botanical gardent and park. Sat fo rbeer again and some snacks. (Note olives were great from day before)
- A couchurfer from Florida came. all go ot dinner. Wanted to infite fito, Sebastian, and Raquel but had Fit, Racquel, new arrival (who liked pickpockets) and Racquel's friend. We pay 30 euros each for dinner for all. Talked for while in room before sleep. Excited about tomorrow. Decide goto Merzouga. Said bye, liked first CS experience.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 2

Day 2:

- Cleaned sink, shower... mysterious window to middle of building & other bathroom in bathroom. Did some laundary.
- Elevator talk & small. Wait for Felix. Around 1 hr late.
[on flight to Casa, just filled customs card.]
- Dropped off bag. No electricity! We worried we did something. Saw pot plant. he had it because his friend's dog ate it so he gave it to him.
- Left note and walked around. Sat and had beer in Plaza Mayor. walked to Sol & Atocha, Gran Via. Royal Palace.
- Went to restaurant, don't know what to order. German phrasebook.
- Ordered the "two person" meal. Beef, potatoes, some special peppers.
- Found out forgot to pay electric so no lights. Some candles.

Monday, June 4, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 1

Day 1:

- Sat at Philly completing my cheat sheet.
- long flight. Some 30 min sleep, Pam's Laberinthe cut off at end.
- met 3 ppl travelling, they were also excited 1st time Europe.
-> 2x senior, 1 sophemore. 1 senior been to Paris before.
- customs no questions
- store suff at Atocha Renfe
- walked all around Parque del Retiro
- Visited Farmacias, misunderstanding -> bought toothpaste
- sunscreen expensive!
- creepy old guy at park, spoke some French. "chaude"?
-> rub my back, arm... stop when others pass by.
-> phone message & walked away as he talked to someone asking money.
- Read lots of DaVinci Code started it.
- Arrived at apartment at 8pm.
- Went to Casa Mingo & had cider & baked chicken. Their monday tradition.
-> special way of pouring, drink same glass. taste surprisingly different with special pour.
- Met some other friends.
- 10 hr sleep.
- surprising lack of English speakers.