Morocco, Spain ·
501 Days ·
70 Moments ·
21 October 2018
Fatima made us a giant platter of vegetable couscous with fresh pomegranate Aster cleaning the house on a gorgeous day. Morocco spoils us.
20 October 2018
Exceptionally long but incredibly scenic drive through the mountains back to Casablanca. We got tired of games. We got tired of music. We even got tired of podcasts. The car started smoking so we ran the heater the whole way back. We were so relieved to get out. Reviving sushi dinner then back to our own long footless bed.
19 October 2018
Walking around Chefchaouen on our own during a break in the storm.
18 October 2018
16 October 2018
26 August 2018
We've been working on Danielle's chocolate ice cream recipe for 2 days.
Last night we made brownies from scratch. Tonight she made custard base & hot fudge. It's now all mixed and chilling in the freezer. I think there are 6 cooking size chocolate bars in there. It's going to be amazing.
24 August 2018
A great day. Worked then worked out at school, hung out with Skeltons & Sandos, bailed on soccer to hang out with Danielle. We made vegetarian meatloaf & had great calls with family while watching a beautiful orange sunset and purple moon rise from the patio. We ate outside, then decided to make brownies from scratch. We lucked out, the hanut had everything we needed & we cuddled on the couch & watched American Gods while they baked & cooled.
Everything was beautiful today!
23 August 2018
Came across three young guys trying to jump start a car.
For jumper cables they were using pieces of scrap electrical cable salvaged from an old power pole left where it fell next to the car. I had to watch.
No clips, they were just holding frayed ends of bare wire to the terminals with 100% confidence. The connections crackles and arced as they finagled them for better contact.
They hollered at their fat friend who was trying to eat a yogurt without a spoon while holding his contact down. He slurped the remainder out like an oyster, crushed the package and threw it on the street at my feet and turned his full attention to the task at hand.
They kept turning the key immediately then fussing at each other because it the starter just clicked feebly. I suggested letting it charge for 5 min, which was warmly dismissed (or possibly misinterpreted).
When I passed back by, there was a crowd of 10 people all helping. Later both cars were gone. Guess they got it!
20 August 2018
We'd been shopping for a custom Moroccan tile patio table, but were exhausted with all the driving, laborious communication & haggling.
We spotted this one (as did our friends) at the local Spanish used furniture store, but hesitated.
Bored on the Eidh (Morocccan Christmas Eve), we wondered aloud if somebody snagged it already, then spontaneously decided to go get it.
Our usual guy wasn't there, but we had the same broken Spanish/English conversation with his lanky grinning son. We also found an ice cream maker (which we'd been wishing for the night before) and got a bargain on both.
His son showed us a picture of some swoll boxer flexing in a title belt just after a fight & said "that's me". We laughed then he showed us more pictures that indeed corroborated that he was a champion for his weight class in MMA in Europe. He enthusiastically told us about what it was like to fight a friend in the ring & his plans to fight in China woke we waited for a delivery trike.
Sawsanne was horrified by our rental contract.
The address simply referenced the name of the village where we live-no street or house number, just "Tamaris 2". She said the commune would certainly not accept this to renew our Cartes Sejours (green cards) at the upcoming appointment.
We asked our landlord, who said that's just how it is here, and that the postman & utility bill collectors just know all of the houses, and that we should probably introduced ourselves if we wanted to get mail.
Further pressure revealed that our house is called Dar Al Kaid "house of the mayor's assistant".
HR was still unimpressed, but landlord didn't have any accessible utility bills. We asked the neighbors to borrow theirs. Suspiciously, they gave us one from December.
HR still unimpressed, but it's holiday week, so not much too be done. Hopefully new utility bills will come before the deadline
Finally while cleaning today, Danielle finds 2 bills under a stack from when we first moved. Creepy...
19 August 2018
Working on the new house.
Every spigot leaks.
The wall leaks.
Hot water heater dead.
The outlets that do work pull straight out of the wall when you unplug.
Unfortunate shoestring repairs everywhere.
New fridge & washer though. Sea view on front porch airways works.
17 August 2018
Finally took a break from house projects to walk down to the beach 200M from our house. Niiice.
16 August 2018
Packs of chanting people, mostly kids pass by our house headed for the beach. Sometimes whistles, sometimes drums, but always a cadence.
Apparently there are many summer camps in the hills behind us, and some even visit from Marrakech.
Maybe Moroccan summer camp is more fun than American summer camp.
14 August 2018
The tire was completely flat when we came out of the garden shop, happy with our newly purchased herbs.
I doubted the car had a jack, or if the spare was even inflated, and struggled in French to ask about a tire shop nearby.
They offered to reinflate it and said to wait outside.
We waited for 20 minutes, finally two guys emerge with an ancient compressor on a garden cart. They rebuild the homemade extension cord plug buy hand on the spot, and the French / English speaking guy leaves.
I sign with the Arabic-only guy who cuts in, finds the jack, quickly spins off the lug nuts and goes to town taking over changing the tire. I cut back in to hesitantly to turn the jack. Omar cuts back in with a grin to do it twice as fast.
Embarrassed, impressed & grateful we drive off on a luckily solid spare.
Yet another example of how badass capable & and kind poor Moroccan people usually are.
10 August 2018
Ikea was a nightmare.
But wehad a great time shopping at the local knock off Kitea. The staff were trilingual, good salesmen & good humored. Sadiq talked us into a couch on our third visit.
Our was an eye watering amount of money for us, but really satisfying to buy coordinated stuff that. we wanted like adults, after having lived the last decade on a motley collage of hand-me-downs, goodwill & yard sale finds.
15 June 2018
The hardest thing we've ever done.
We drove to Marrakech, then rented some worn fetid gear at the base of Toubkal. Despite breaks for tasty homemade trail snacks & fresh squeezed orange juice (sold trail side by enterprising mountain purple) most of us were wrecked after the beautiful 6 hour hike to the refuge, but we're refreshed by surprisingly good hot food & even hot showers!
Ryan guided us to the summit the next day where we savored amazing views, snickers & trail mix.
We got separated on the hike down the next day, but we're happily reunited once we got back to cellular service. Good time with good people! Sorry to see Lindsay & Carolyn go, but impressed with Debbie's hiking power & Ryan's guide skills.
11 May 2018
We have a great housekeeper
5 May 2018
We took a huge group tour of Hassan II
The mosque was so vast, and clean on the inside.
A touching spade that I hope to return to & maybe slip away from the tour to experience the quiet.
Good Moroccan craftsmanship museum, wish they'd scaled that out with more information.
4 May 2018
We took the day off, but I wasn't good for the hamam.
Spent a good day wandering Casa & regaining strength.
1 May 2018
Cafe du Livre
Danielle naturally found this book cafe stocked with boardgames. With Bob Marley on the radio & Pandemic on the shelf we knew it was our kind of place.
We came back again!
French nobleman dilettante's painting studio & exotic plant correcting turned public museum by Yves St Laurent.
30 April 2018
Lost in Marrakech
Lavish architecture, plaster carving, painting, tiling. Interesting mix of simple intimate courtyards & the vast tiled central courtyard.
29 April 2018
Snaps from Riad Baia
Roadside snaps from the route of a thousand casbahs
Ksar Ait Ben Haddou
Huge mud casbah with amazing panoramas of the oasis & desert.
It was fascinating to walk on stone/mud floors that creaked!
Really fun creaking through all of the little passages & rooms that wrapped around each other. You could always feel how massive yet organic & fragile the building was, like a giant hive. I felt a connection between humans and ants or wasps.
We got to enter our guides house (for a rug sale) but it was interesting to see how they kept goats & chickens in the middle of the complex, but the rooms were clean bright & comfortable.
28 April 2018
Gorges from above & below
Fossil processing shop.
Camel's House - everything in Merzouga is made of this cool rammed earth material. Just mud & straw pounded into crude forms.
We had a great, relaxing shower & breakfast here after the dessert.
Our guide rolled up his turban here, it was 10!
Sunrise in the desert reveals fresh tracks everywhere and our Bedouin camp.
We caravanned out and I bode Big Vicky farewell.
27 April 2018
Camel ride from Ourzazate to a camp in the Sahara.
We dropped bags at Camel's House and walked across the oasis to the camel lineup. Mine was called Big Vicky.
The ride was fun but pretty uncomfortable. The desert was busy with other caravans of camels, dirt bikes, and quads. We stopped for sunset and crawled up a huge dune together. The sunset was great, blasting holes of golden light through a distant curtain of rain, culminating in oranges reds & purple.
We pulled into our Bedouin tent camp at dusk and watched the full moon blaze from a cheeky patio set nestled atop the nearest dune.
Girsh entertained us with his story & the history of the Berber.
We snuck out to watch the moon, which was amazing. There was a huge sky of fast moving high clouds lit up silver, and a refreshing cool breeze. If you descended into a valley it was warm & completely silent.
We returned to a live musical performance.
We enjoyed for a bit but succumbed to bed.
This gorge oasis was amazing. The approach was just flat parched desert as far as you could see. Down in the gorge, a river of green & life.
I bought a wooden reed trinket off one of the little kids selling them there, and asked him about his life.
Roadside vistas on the way southeast.
Roadside Barbary Ape petting attraction.
Ifrane, the Switzerland of Morocco.
Pines, Alpine chalets, Swiss names on everything, and Disney mascots on the prowl in front of a carved lion.
26 April 2018
Beginning on our big adventure with Maddie, Sam, Trista, Micah, Stephen, Deb & Danielle. Girsh & Omar rolled up late to @GWA in the big white van. We were a little worried, and glad to see them. It was a beautiful drive across the countryside at golden hour.
At the riad we ascended to the grand dining room for a huge meat tagine dinner that everyone was too tired to eat.
21 April 2018
Watching the waves explode on the cliff walls encircling Oualidia plage. It was a brilliantly sunny day with a stiff wind. We'd watch the big rollers crest then disappear under the cliff then wait for the boom and hopefully plume of spray.
The rocks were incredibly jagged and alien, reminded me of some prop from a 50s sci-fi about the moon. You could see how just people walking on them had begun to erode the rocks.
The Airbnb Danielle Bult for overnight in Al-Jadida was Adrick I featured a huge event in the living room with windows on all sides there is a room in the house without some epic view if you do see a waves crashing on Laguna exploding on the rocks on the other side I have a huge sunny patio out of the can or when you have the only student in Turks and Caicos and his balconies on all sides is incredible you he’s decided to come back here and soon as you get the chance for a weeklong break or work Acacian
It was a smooth drive in the trusty white i10 down the toll road from Casa to El Jadida. The Moroccan countryside was in full regalia, showing off lush fields, horsemen, and medieval farming techniques for Deb. We got a little lost just inside the walls, but found the famous cistern soon enough through a quick turn on the hawkers "friendly" advances.
The sandstone was in remarkably good shape for the moisture of the environment and we almost had the place to ourselves.
Topside was incredibly bright, and we were directed into a tour with the local caretaker who led us and amusingly insisted on well worn itinerary of mediocre photos. From there we admitted the sea as we walked through the sunshine along the top of the walls amongst massive Portugese canon & an epic ladybug infestation, energized by the Darija trap drifting from the pocketed phones of our teenage fellow tourists.
23 August 2017
Long days and a weekend spent getting classrooms and the Library Media Tech Center ready for the first day of school. Fake it till you make it!
22 August 2017
My team took first in the Morocco history sequencing contest!
21 August 2017
Couldn't catch a taxi back from school, so stopped for roadside dinner. As a delicious bubbling tagine was delivered, a guy lugged out a giant cow head & set it on a stump in the parking lot behind me. He discussed it with another guy, then methodically hacked it in half with a cleaver the size of a binder. Once he hauled the big chunks off, stray kitties closed in for the leftover bits.
Sweet dreams! 🐮🗡😳😻
Building out 3 classrooms, Danielle's not ready yet 😓😓😓
18 August 2017
Triumphant bus ride back from party at Danielle Bult's house on the last day of new hire training!
14 August 2017
Roman Ruins at Chellah in Rabat, the capital city.
It was a looong sunny walk from the station to Chellah, almost completely along the wall if a ministry of defense compound, which looks like it has been there between 20 and 600 years.
Once we passed the entrance's touristy battlements, things got archaeological fast. The whole place is a necropolis built on a steep slow down to a river. Apparently a city of the dead had nice amenities for the living - there were heated baths, an ornate temple, a garden, more baths, and basically a mall of shops.
All of the high walls were capped with active stork nests, which are enormous. They were everywhere. It was cool watching the birds feed their chicks as we explored.
There weren't a lot of rules - just a guy who would vote a whistle at you if you climbed on the walls. You could touch anything.
11 August 2017
First game night house party w our class of new teachers!
8 August 2017
Field trips to Hay Hassani & ...another market during training.
5 August 2017
4 August 2017
Our HUGE kitchen 😍😍😍
3 August 2017
Lovely night on our back balcony. We actually have TWO balconies, but this one has an excellent view of the amazing sunsets here. I've been loving our new kitchen which is about five billion times larger than our China kitchen 😂 It's great to be here a little early and have time to get everything sorted in our apartment and get a chance to learn about where to buy things and what kinds of dishes I can cook up.
2 August 2017
We went by our school, George Washington Academy (GWA), today. The campus is wonderful!! You can see the Atlantic Ocean from several spots on campus, and they just in the last several months redid several buildings, which makes us very lucky ;) Looking forward to a splendid year.
1 August 2017
First night in our new home in Morocco! We fell asleep suuuuuper early, but woke up just in time to see an absolutely stunning sunset. Hopefully this is setting the stage for a year full of beautiful experiences (and more gorgeous sunsets).
8 June 2017
Our 5th floor apartment!
It was sparkling clean when our co-workers from the school helped us move the 6 bags of all of our stuff up the tiny 2 man elevator.
We fixed that by unpacking (after sleeping all afternoon ... jet lag. Woke up to a beautiful sunset! )
There's no A.C. so we just leave the glass doors to the balconies open to let the cool Atlantic breeze do the trick. Every coupe of hours the call to prayer drifts in too.