Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some Photos Posted

Back in Casablanca. Nice to be in my own bed again.

Here are two albums I just uploaded to Facebook. Excuse the artsy stuff -- I'm still in kid-in-a-candystore mode with my new camera. You should be able to look through these without having (or without singing into) a Facebook account. Comments and such enabled once you've signed in.

Imperial Cities: Meknes, Fes, Marrakesh
Sahara: Merzouga and the Algerian border

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Baby Jesus Would Approve

Another short one, and probably the last before I get back to Casa...

The little Sahara excursion was awesome, and the three days spent there seem way too short.

In Sidi Ifni now - formerly Spanish colonial town way down south on the coast. The money I've alloted myself is running a little low (the riad in Fez sort of broke the bank), so I'll probably be another 3 or 4 days in this area before heading back to Casa.

Always an element of suck to doing the holidays solo, but I would feel ridiculous complaining about it. My Christmas plans: Surfing, Legzira Plage (pictured), seafood tagine, bootleg alcohol with French tourists. Win.

Hope everyone has a good Christmas. Pictures/write-ups/obscenity when I get back to Casa.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Fez, Still Alive

Four days into the trip now and we're comfortably settling into Fez. We've covered Meknes already. It was a little break-neck, but the weather sucked and pretty much everything that's awesome about Meknes is more awesome in Fez.

The touts in Fez are probably the most aggressive and unrelenting of any that I've seen anywhere. Bangkok has nothing on the imperial cities. Knowing that a myriad of souvenirs (not to mention any sort of drug or illicit service imaginable) is at our disposal at "very special price for you" is comforting, but the saturation of advertisement can be annoying. One 'faux-guide' waited for us outside our riad for three hours before I finally told him off. Two restaurant touts got into a shouting match over us last night - bidding each other's set menu price down from 80dh to 40. "He will give you yesterday's food" the loser shouted at us.

The less-than-endearing form of capitalism practiced here is due entirely to the tourist activity inside the walls of the medina. And tourists are drawn here for good reason. The beauty of the city more than compensates for the hassle and it's really good to be here. It's easy to lose track of why one is drawn to Morocco if you're living in Casablanca. No such danger here.

Pictures and more information to follow. I can see the walls of the city from inside this cybercafe, so I feel ridiculous sitting here.

Ifrane, maybe Azrou, maybe Errachidia, and Merzouga next on the itinerary.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meticulous Preparation

Besides mapping out the previously posted rough itinerary for my upcoming (tomorrow) trip around the Southern half of Morocco, I have taken the following measures to ensure a smooth journey:

  1. Downloaded the second season of Breaking Bad to watch tonight so I wouldn't go out and spend all my trip money on alcohol.
  2. Took a bag of clothes to the lady who washes them for me. I need the pair of jeans I wore most of last week.
  3. Skimmed my roommate's Lonely Planet book on Morocco. Also Spain, because I love Spain.
  4. Figured out a way to tell my maid (who speaks no English or French) that we'd be gone for a little while.
  5. Thought long and hard today at work about what I would throw into my backpack to keep me going for three weeks.
  6. Looked at train schedules. Well... looking, present tense.

Things my roommate (who is "just going to follow you, dude") is going to wish I had done:
  1. Booked hotel rooms
  2. Booked transportation
  3. Research, of any kind

This is going to be awesome.

Friday, December 4, 2009


How's that for an eye-catcher? How awesome would it be if this all-of-a-sudden started to be a blog about eating people? That would get a lot of hits. Then I could be famous like that hooker who wrote a blog. Movie deal! Apparently they eat albinos in Tanzania (or something?).

Anyway, this isn't about eating people, it's about music. There was a French girl who crashed at the apartment for a couple of nights a few weeks back and I took all the music off of her external hard drive. And I have since been consuming the music. Thus, "Cannibalism". I don't know - whatever. To be perfectly clear, music is probably the #2 or 3 thing that I miss about the United States. At this point, I'd listen to a Black Eyed Peas remix of a newborn's death rattle if it meant I could go to a decent concert afterward. The things I'd do for a trip to a really good record store are not suitable for a website attached to my real name.

But for all the Casablanca music scene lacks, I've still managed to expand my horizons by looking to other expatirates. Particularily French ones. I don't know why, but the United States is essentially a world music ghetto. Given my rather extreme jingoism, the fact that I had never heard of the following two albums before leaving the protective embrace of CONUS is an embarassing admission. I suppose the argument could be made that such an enormous amount of good music is created in the Anglo world that any additions would contribute diminishing or negligible returns on the margin - the same argument for why so few Americans have passports. But that's pretty retarded. There is no good excuse. Not given how goddamn amazing these two are:

Amadou & Mariam - Welcome to Mali
Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

How's that for a long-winded alternative to the 'What I'm Listening To:' section on Myspace?

If this all sounds very disjointed, then it is a fair representation of where my brain is this week. Have to work until Saturday, but then I'm getting the hell out of dodge. Three weeks all around the southern half of the country. Saharan Frontier, Anti-Atlas, Southern Coast. Could not possibly be more excited.