Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
This is Fes. Fes is TFO-to-the-max. 9300 streets and 800 mosques in the medina. Of course, it was only designed to hold about 50,000 people. Right now, there's like 300,000 people inside the walls. The sewer system is a nightmare. You smell that? Yeah, that's MY diarrhea.
You can't see it, but all the roofs have satellite dishes.
This is where they 'tan' animal skins. Goat, sheep, camel, and cow to be exact. God, I'm such a great tour leader. Um. The white is where they put the skins with the hair and everything on. It's a mixture of cow shit and pigeon piss. They leave it in for x amount of days and then they take it out and the hair/fur comes off easily. The colored area is where they use vegetable-based dyes to dye the skins. Pomegranate skins for yellow (they say saffron, but that's a lie), kohl for black, henna for orange, mint for green, and poppy flowers for red. The men wear short shorts. Hottt. Actually, not really. The dyes do weird things to their legs.
Even when dealing with dead animals, the men of Morocco still consume copious amounts of sugar. 42kg per person, per year to be exact. This is a boy selling pastries hole-to-hole.
Work it out girl! This guy actually posed like this for the picture. I think I said something like, "pump it!" and boy did he. This is vegetable silk - it comes from the agave cactus (also known for making alcohol in the West). You use it to weave rugs and scarves.
This is a pretty picture of the shrine of Moulay Ismail in Meknes. Ismail was nicknamed 'The Bloodthirsty' because he would organize daily torture shows and pull out the teeth of his concubines if their chatter annoyed him. Love that the Moroccans have built a shrine to him.
This is a picture of Morocco. No really, it is. This is taken around Ifrane. The snow was up to my chest.
Then you hit Midelt, where there is nothing to do other than sing and dance with the kitchen staff. The woman in the red headwrap can shake that ass. She has some black her in, clearly. I didn't know drums could be out of tune - they can! I can only sit through about 5 minutes of that racket.
Oh yeah, Midelt does a good tajine. Nice and steamy and full of liquified butter/clarified fat. Whatevs. That's Steve and Jess - fellow tour leaders in Morocco. I'll keep my comments about them to myself. No, actually I won't. I think they both have some issues that they need to work on. Issues with a capital 'I', ya'll.
Yeah, and after Midelt, you hit the desert. Dunes galore. This is me after climbing about 30 minutes to get to the top of the dune. Cardio overload. Reminds me of when I was in Morocco in 2004 with Maria and Marie. I had the most picture-esque shit of my life on top of a dune. It ended up being painful diarrhea, but it was beautiful place to have a colon explosion.
We do an organized prison march. No, I mean trek out into the dunes. I'm only complaining because I'm so completely over camels and what they do to men's nutsacks. I've chosen to walk beside the camels for a few hours. I've said it once and I'll say it again. I'm thoroughly conviced that the locals that ride camels have absolutely no feeling in their crotches. Which is evident by the way they claw at their itchy genitals.
This is the camp we ride/walk out to. It is very pretty and very quiet. I had a girl shit her pants out here. My friend Adam said that he imagined I was stone cold and completely apathetic about the situation. Yeah, pretty much. I'm sorry, but I don't wipe poopie bottoms. Whatever, I'll see you all in hell anyway.
Djellaba man pouring sugar and tea into a glass the 'Berber whiskey' kinda way.
You can ski down the dunes. I haven't tried because it requires hiking up a dune WITH equipment for something that has the potential to be reminiscient of bad sex. You know what I mean.
Alright. Let's leave the desert and continue onto the gorges. There are two main gorges in Morocco - the Todra and the Dades. I think the Todra is much more impressive because you have thousands of palm trees and lots of kasbahs. But in Dades you have the cock rocks (something of which I will get to at a later date) and the roses when they are in bloom. These are women carrying feed for their animals. What you don't know is that the roads in the gorges are extremely steep and windy - the women walk along these. In defense of the men, I have seen them do their fair share of hard work out in the fields - but usually they're watching their women work or sipping sugar in a cafe. Also in defense of the men, I've picked up one of these 'packages' and they're not THAT heavy. It's an ab work-out if anything.
Me, Todra, kasbahs. My hair is out of control, ps. I've had about 10 people speak to me in Spanish today. We all know what the Spanish hair situation is - mullets and knot-central.
Being the excellent tour leader I am - I just assume that things are going to be available when I need them to be - ie. public transportation. I took my group 30km down the Dades Gorge into town for dinner. We finished dinner at 7:30 - who knew everyone would be asleep by then and unable to drive us back up to the hotel? So I 'pretty pleased' someone from the hotel to get us, and we played pool in the meantime. This is when all of those 'asleep' people came out of the woodwork. Despite the gormless stares for an hour, we did a pretty kickass job. Most of our shots were pure luck, but of course we played it off like an good Asian pool hall hustler would.
Lindsey Lohan and I trekking through a gorge at some un-Allah-ly hour. The entire time I prayed I wouldn't break an ankle, because it was just me and a few dung beetles.
Okay, this is near the cock rocks - but not actually a picture of them. In a few years this rock will probably be finito because some retarded French tourist decided to climb on top of it just to see if they could.
More kasbahs. Probably from the 1800s, but difficult for my untrained eye to tell.
This was a nightmare of a hike for 3 hours. I had one person fall into an irrigation canal - water ended up to her chest. We had to 'balance beam' for about 20 minutes with an irrigation canal on one side a very fast flowing, very cold river on the other side - and it had a 10 foot drop. Of course I had someone afraid of heights that cursed me out the entire time. I told her to shut the fuck up.
Ait Ben Haddou from birds-eye view. That rhymes, ps. Lots of movies filmed here - Gladiator, for one. Thrilling, I know.
But one time it actually was thrilling because the daugher of the president of Peru or Chile or something (I'm STILL awaiting confirmation on this) came to visit, so the Berbers put on some local color for them. It was pretty special, I have to admit.
Special because this man was here.
Special because his friends came, too.
On our way to Imlil in the High Atlas mountains. I think this was taken in Asni, which is below Imlil in terms of elevation. Lots of rain and melting snow coming off the mountains = chocolate river. Everyone was being such an asshole this day - couldn't get a taxi to save our lives. But then this one gay who had a severe case of Berber gay face came up and asked if I was 'a gay' and I said, 'girl, you have no idea - get me a cab, bitch!'. He totally pulled through.
Ahhhh.... and this is beautiful Imlil and the High Atlas mountains. We do treks out here which I actually enjoy. This is where Mt. Toubkal is - the mountain I'll be climbing in a few weeks. Insha'allah.
Village in the area. We sleep in one just like this in some dude's house. He likes to bone our clients.
This is the village - Aremd. With a woman doing manual labor.
Me, before I realized that eating potatoes everyday = fat central. And mountains.
Me and Mubarak after a nice 3 hour hike up to the Pass. We're not really liking Mubarak at the moment, so we're not even going to talk abut him.
Woman on a mule with a live sheep in the saddle bag. Loves it.
Yay. Enough hiking. Time to go to Marrakesh. All the homos here say that it's 'The Capital of Gay' - they actually say that! It is. Everyone is TGO (total gayness overload). Djemma al Fna where they cook delish food in the evenings. I am planning on trying the braised sheep head before I leave. Hopefully it won't be a painful introduction to some heinous disease.
If Marrakesh is the Capital of Gay, then Essaouira is the Capital of Straight. All the local boys here are super bohemian - either gelled hair or long flowing lochs, tight shirts, and board shorts. The requisite uniform for guys looking for hot sex with slutty Asian tourists. Don't even get me started on the South Korean I just had on my tour. I hope she gets tested when she gets home.
Essaouira is a major shipping area. This is where they clean/sell fish. Seagulls galore. It's a miracle I haven't been shat on yet.
The blue port of Essaouira.
After Essaouira, I always return back up to Casablanca and do the same thing over again - sometimes with a little variation. But usually not.
All in all, Morocco was good times. It'd be even better if I didn't have to deal with wingey Australians. C'est la vie. At least the pastries are great.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I'm a bit under-the-weather today. I blame it on sharing some soup with a stranger last night and not sleeping at all. Nothing like listening to donkey's clank their feet all night long. And certainly nothing like the all-time worst 4am call to prayer ever. Oh, then there was that 6am bus ride for 3 hours. Who thought my life was glamorous? Okay, it is. So, here's a little something I like to call SadFlower. It is on the wall in Moulay Idriss - drawn by Benasser. Fierceness? I think so.
Monday, May 01, 2006
it's the little things
My initial reactions to Morocco were: everyone's about the jalabiyya, the French dress like they're on their way to their first day of kindergarten, and there's lots more handicapped than I remember than when I was here in 2004.
Now that I've lived here for 4 months, I've made some more observations that I feel need to be put in writing. Here goes:
- Moroccan's don't have mingin' feet even though they wear shoes that don't fit them. Seriously, there's like 3 inches of their foot hanging out the back. They do do the Malaysian shuffle though, which is like 'tres annoying.
- Speaking of 'tres annoying - why do these people speak to me in French when I speak to them in Arabic. I say Arabic, they say French, and it goes back and forth like this for a few minutes. I don't understand French, you fuckwits! I've learned a little, but ugh. Now, I just guess what they are saying to me in French and respond to that. Nothing like a one-sided, psychic conversation.
- When compared to the Egyptians - I've found some differences. Most Moroccan chicks have slammin' bods and the guys have very small penises. Evolutionary phenomenon that needs further exploration. Clearly.
- Moroccan's say 'Sorry' when they want to get your attention, instead of 'Excuse me'. Sorry, what?
- The glue huffing has calmed down a bit - maybe they're all dead.
- And there's still like 8 million thousand gagillion homeless people here. The new homeless fad is to have 'traction' implanted into your leg. Metal that goes into your bone, and then you screw and adjust yourself. They like to put that gangrene on display all the time.
- And I still hate the French. But now, more than ever. They like to push in queues, and I like to push back. I don't care how old or gray or handicapped you are. I'll push you back!
Other than the French, there are monkeys in Morocco, called Barbary Apes.
Here's a bunch of monkey's getting wasted at my favorite bar in Casablanca - La Bodega. They play with fire and these hoochie's get up on the bar and dance. I always get in trouble when I take pictures. However, I feel that since I'm getting wasted (paying lots of money) and have imported my fiercness to the country and decided to frequent their bar, they should really get over it.
Yeah, those are cats in a basket.
And those are sheepheads. Ready for consumption.
And these are baby chickens that have been dyed an array of pastels. They're ready to be played with until they die. Seriously. Parents buy them for their children so that they can play with them until they die, or are killed by their crazy kids.
Some of the kids, when they're not killing chicks, are weaving palm leaves into nonsense. A camel, a basket with a flower, and a 4x4 jeep. Cute, but really - go read a book or something!
Fridge full of meat.
German tourist fiercness for you. I think I saw his toupee lick its lips at one point.
I got up close and personal with it.
This was his on-call hairdresser. She just straining her neck to make sure everything was in place and that he didn't need a re-application of Aqua Net. He didn't, it was behaving itself.