Thursday, October 21, 2021

I write this under a thatched roof on the Atlantic coast of west Africa.

And my view is wild Atlantic rollers.

Yesterday, we arrived at a resort in Assinie, Côte d'Ivoire, Bahia, which is on the ocean front, maybe 50 feet from the sand and water. The scenery here is truly tropical.

It's a full moon, so the tide was high as we walked along the beach yesterday, and I managed to drench 2 of the 3 outfits I brought. Growing up in Maine, I have lots of experience with the Atlantic, but when you dip in a toe, say nothing about feet and legs, they immediately go numb. Not here. The water is warm and pleasant to walk in.

On the drive here, I noticed a large number of mature palm trees planted in rows. Looking more closely, I saw coconuts on them. It was a coconut orchard, or whatever the equivalent word is for that here.

And the beach sand in like nothing I've eve seen. The golden sand streaked with black has a marbled look.

Spent the rest of the day lounging by the water under an umbrella.  This is the life!

Monday, October 18, 2021

It's been a long time since I posted here. Thnks (not really) to COVID, I haven't been traveling. However, I'm now off on a new adventure.

After a VERY stressful hour and a half, going round and round with the ticket agent about whether my COVID PCR test was taken on the correct day (3 days before the start of the trip) or one day too early (3 days before arrival, which would be 1 day too late), it was finally resolved in my favor and I was allowed to start my trip to Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast for none French speakers).

The trip was fairly uneventful after that. I was able to sleep on much of the transatlantic flight, alternating with reading cozy mysteries. Until I glanced up from my iPad and saw this, an arm hanging over the seatback in front of me.

Really startling if you've been reading murder mysteries.

Arrived in Abidjan, had my e-Visa processed and entered in my passport, successfully made it through passport control and was able to hug my son and granddaughters, grown to young women from when I saw them 2 years ago. They have an awesome yard with a pool to cool down in. Just a note, Côte d'Ivoire in on the Equator, so the temperature hovers around 80-85 degrees and the humidity is high, pretty much in the mid 70's percent. Year round!

Nice to have a pool to cool down in

Yesterday we went to an amazing restaurant, Le 8 Clos des Bateaux, on the edge of one of the several lagoons. Delicous food. I had grilled sole and fried plantains.

Then we returned home to watch the movie, Star Trek Beyond, which I had never seen.

We're leaving for the beach on Wednesday for a couple of days. More later.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Back in Morocco

It's been a while since I've posted.  But I'm back in Morocco and plan to keep everyone updated on my goings on.

As I always do when I first arrive, I explore the garden, looking for the tortoise.  Found her sunning herself next to a few leaves.

A few minutes later, I strolled down the garden to take a picture of the plants so different from my garden in Albuquerque.

And wanted to show off Zorro.  Nice to have a dog so I don't miss Mishka and Gizmo.

Sunday the girls have horseback riding classes.

Selma is the one in red in the back 
who ends up in the foreground.

And Kenza is galloping on the 
feisty brown and white pony.

Sunday afternoon we planted the seeds I brought from the States.

The garden, which was all grass that morning, was cleared by hand by the gardener.  Better him than me.  That was hard work.  Now we wait and see if the seeds sprout.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last Days in Rabat

My time in Morocco is winding down.  Tomorrow I leave for the States.

Here’s what I’ve been doing the last few days

Spending time with my dentist extraordionaire

Dr. Soumaya Benothmane and her assistant
to get a new smile.

Sorry, it's a selfie

Walked up and down this street 
eight different times to the dentist’s office

Enjoyed listening to sound checks for Marwazine

a local musical festival.

One of the sound stages is 3 or 4 blocks from the house so we can hear the concerts in the evening.  Last night we planned on going to dinner along the river near the medina and listened to Bonga, a folk and semba singer and songwriter from Angola.  Until we found out the show didn’t start until 10:00 P.M.  Too late for kids on a school night.  Instead, we listened to Lauryn Hill from the garden.

You can read a bit about Mawazine here: 

And here’s the full lineup of performers:

My suitcases are packed (picture a sad smile) and I fly out tomorrow morning around 7:00.  Sad (picture a sad new smile) to be leaving, but looking forward to seeing family and doggies in Albuquerque.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rambles in Rabat

Back in Morocco and going to fav places and doing fun things.

We had the traditional Friday evening meal in Morocco, couscous.  Much more elaborate than the way I serve it.  I use it as a side dish for fish or chicken, but this is a whole meal.
Couscous with meat, veggies and chickpeas

Saturday we went for a visit to the medina 

A side street. And, yes, this is a street.
Motorbikes roam the medina

to do a bit of shopping

Shoppers and wares

This is the scarf I bought

then home to pick mulberries

The mulberry tree in the garden

and make mulberry preserves

Delicious!  Tastes a lot like figs

For Mother’s Day we all went to Les Trois Palmiers for lunch.  Check out the fish baked in salt, one of their specialties.  

The white mound on the right is the fish

They have to crack open the salt crust to serve the fish.  Not salty, just baked deliciousness.
Peeling off the salt

And fruit torte to die for.  Didn't last long enough for me to take a picture.

The restaurant is right on the beach, and the surf and sea looked very familiar.  Oh, right.  Morocco is on the Atlantic, except on the east side.

Beautiful flowers along a street I’ve walked down frequently back and forth to my dentist.  A bit more about that later.

Anyone know what kind of flowers these are?

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Streets of Seville

We spent four days in Seville, walking around the city.  

Stopping at cafes for coffee.

Nespresso!!  I'm addicted.

                                         And my favorite tapas.

Espinacas con garbanzos, spinach with garbanzos

Lots of fun sights and sounds,        
especially because Feria de Sevilla
started that weekend.                      

All dressed up for the ride to Feria

Lots of flamenco dresses on parade. 
We walked there and back, over 4 miles.  
No trouble sleeping that night.

My son's description:  "It's a thousand cocktail parties and you’re not invited."  Various ‘societies’.  Some are similar to the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade Krews, but also include private families, religious fraternities, etc.

The Feria was originally a cattle fair -- think agricultural fair in the States -- then grew to a place to socialize, setting up tents.  In 1973, it moved to it’s present location, just across the Guadalquivir River (the original Arabic name was Wadi Al-Kabīr -- Great River) from Seville.  Behind the girls is the bridge we walked across to the Feria.

Over 1,000 casetas (temporary tents) are erected, all privately owned and equipped with a bar, kitchen and substantial music system, serving drinks, tapas.  Hence the ‘you’re not invited’ designation.  By evening, impromptu flamenco dancing happens.

On another day, we walked to a cafe, past the first ever tobacco factory in the world

Plaque of the tobacco factory

which is now the University of Seville where my grandson, Ethan, will be taking classes fall semester.

Lunch at the cafe across from the University of Seville

Seville is a great city to visit.  I always enjoy my time here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Woke up in Spain this morning

Yesterday afternoon we left Rabat to spend a few days in Seville, Spain.

This involves about a three hour drive to Tangier on the Straights of Gibraltar.

Houses crawling up the side of a hill

The boy (not really a boy, but I'm his mother and he'll always be a boy to me) had a short meeting, which gave us a chance to walk around town a bit.

The train station
McDo. Love the Moroccan design

 Meeting over, we drove to the port to board the ferry to Tarifa, Spain. Note:  Tarifa is where the word tariff comes from.

Ferry coming in to port

I also wanted to take a picture of the huge rig that scans the cars and contents--minus people.  Think airport scanner big enough to scan a line of 5 or 6 cars, including busses.  However, the very nice security guy told me that wasn't allowed.  No argument from this girl.

I opted for a view of the harbor.

The medina of Tangier

Then we boarded and were off. (Caution:  this is noisy.  And don't fall overboard!)

The trip across the Straights only takes about half an hour.  Plenty of time to eat a snack and take pictures.  It also makes for a nice break from driving.

One of the Pillars of Hercules.
The other is the Rock of Gibraltar
It was early evening and hazy so the pictures aren't as clear as on a sunny day, but the Pillar is the highest peak.  Below, Europe is barely visible on the left between the boat and K's head

Girlz framed by two continents.
Europe is on the left and Africa on the right.

Then, back in the car for a couple hour drive to Seville.  By then, it was getting dark.  There are miles of windmills along the mountains rimming the coast of Spain.  In the distance, the small (relatively speaking) blinking warning lights looked like fireflies.  Reminded me of summer nights in Maine and fireflies dancing in the tall grass in the field.  Sometimes Dad would catch one for me and put it in a jar beside my bed.

Adiós for now.