worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.

24Jun/100

a dream come true! dead sea, jordan

booked a flight to jordan to hover in the dead sea! a dream come true! my new german friend sophia and i ventured out on a day trip from amman to this lovely place. we could see israel from across the sea! lowest place in the whole wide world!

we arrived prepared: armfuls of arabic newspapers, tiger mask, and kite. actually, there was no wind for the kite so instead we scooped up salty sediments and mud from the sea bed and gave our bodies a nice scrub. and of course we floated and floated and laughed and laughed! it was so funny to watch people try and swim! swimmytime just isn't possible when one is so buoyant. the only bad thing that happened was that i tasted a drop of dead sea: beyond yuck!

was such a lovely day.

24Jun/100

friendly fish in amman and madaba, jordan

the people of jordan won a soft spot in my heart immediately. because of my late arrival the  one man working at a shop at the airport helped me call my hostel, helped me find my bus, and even changed a bit of money for me. while walking around town the following day  i heard many times: "welcome to jordan!" (sans subsequent pressure to enter a shop, sans subsequent marriage proposals). i felt genuinely welcomed. the guys at the falafel shop put more and more falafel balls on my sandwich while i dined. another man at a sandwich shop welcomed us to watch the world cup in his shop. one fruit vendor even hand fed me some of his produce...hrm.

stayed at a nice hostel in amman where i met sophia, a sweet german lady. she and i adventured together for as long as we could! i also ventured out to madaba, a town famed for its ancient mosiac map.

21Jun/100

madrid (round 2), spain

visiting the prado museum was amazing and definitely a highlight of madrid-couldn't believe i was seeing paintings by goya, ribera, and velazquez! how different it was to see these pieces in person-texture, saturation, and scale were certainly striking.

was also able to visit the museum of romanticism in hopes of finding old deguerreotypes and photographic prints. instead we found some incredible antiquities like hair art, holograms of horse drawn cart scenes, and corpse babies carved out of stone marble.

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21Jun/100

sevilla, spain

spanish holiday!!! not disappointed to report the lack of crazytime. stayed at the delightful sevilla urbany hostel and met australian justin and americans mike and russell. between getting lost in maze-like sevilla, we visited the world's largest gothic cathedral, the real alcazar muslim quarters, some lovely gardens, a camera obscura (my favorite views were rooftop laundry lines blowing in the wind and the of theme park), the contemporary art museum, and some lovely gardens. got to eat tapas but have decided they're not for me (belly ache!!! shouldn't have ordered the fish)

18Jun/100

tangier and ferry, morocco

i met my new friend australian ellis in tangier-i was surprised by the expansive stretch of beach and relaxed atmosphere. was excited to take the ferry across the strait of gibraltar to algeciras, spain! i was very surprised by how few passengers there were. being on deck and listening to la roux on my ipod made me want to do a dance for leaving morocco (so i did). one moroccan guy working on the boat saw me, i smiled because he caught me being silly but then he hovered over me for the rest of the ferry ride which made me even more happy to leave morocco. he offered me a fruit, i said no thanks but what i really meant to say was:

hey man, ever heard of the phrase "buzz kill"?

13Jun/102

chefchaouen, morocco

life was more breezy in chefchaouen, felt relieved as soon as i arrived. i still did receive the customary "kanichiwa's" and "alloo hapon, koreeyaa, cheena..." but it felt more manageable. i found it gorgeous as well.

i met fellow photographer simon here who made incredible portraits but from what i could gather never asked permission. i told him my thoughts on that, not that he asked my opinion (nor did he care). later when i saw ladies doing their washing by the river i tried his method but i was way too slow. they caught me and one lady yelled at me so i went away and continued my hike. the guilt had me deleting all but two of the photos. i hiked on and deleted everything in efforts to rid myself of the feeling that i was going to be struck by lightning (despite the cloudless blue sky).

what can i say-simon's english...

13Jun/100

(it’s a man’s world) fez, morocco

especially given the temperatures, i found that people in morocco wear an outstanding amount of clothing. despite my best efforts, i still got unwanted attention-mostly in the form of verbal harassment but it hit a new low in fez.

i was waiting to buy a cookie at a stand and someone walked by and flipped my butt like it was a light switch. i had a word with the guy and because of his reaction, i pushed him. i know i shouldn't have but i felt so frustrated being stuck in a man's world. when i just started calming down a bit another guy made lewd gestures and comments because i told him that i didn't want a guide through the medina. later i found myself picking up rocks, this time to fend off men (as opposed to the dogs in south america).

because i didn't want to leave my room, i ate day old leftovers which had already made it into the bin. chicken and vegetable tajine. and ended up with food poisoning.

other than that i thought fez was neat: apparently it's the largest car-free medina in the world. i particularly enjoyed visiting the tannery where leathers are processed. i learned that baby goat and camel is the highest grade of leather...poor babies!

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13Jun/102

marrakech, morocco

suppose i was hoping for snake charmer booths and cobras emerging from baskets in sync with the rhythms of the snake charmers flute. or some delicious night market food from the famous stalls...i was disappointed.

however, i did indulge in lots of fresh squeezed orange juice-so yummy, refreshing, and cheap. i tried to limit myself to 2 or 3 glasses per day.

7Jun/100

essouira, morocco

i was excited to return to agadir be on my own time. however, i began to experience being a solo woman in morocco: having to swat off a number of men wanting to "practice their english" or "students" or guys who wanted "just to be a friend." at first i felt guilty; why visit a country and not talk to the locals? but in the end all the men here wants something: to sell tourist souvenirs, a prostitute, free sex, a free ride out of their country...i didn't want to find out what.

essouira was a beautiful place on the coast though and i really enjoyed seeing all the boats of the harbor. it's a big fishing town and the fisherman gut fish underneath the hoardes of seagulls. i was surprised to not have gotten pooped on (until i got back to my hotel and found i in fact had been). in essouira i also had the most delicious couscous dish in my life.

7Jun/100

road trip-agadir to laayoune, morocco

brazilian felipe from the sahara tour invited me on a journey with he and his roommate french pierre. i had no idea what i had signed up for!

after spending much confusion involving two bus stations in agadir, i finally made it to pierre and felipe's penthouse apartment. the next day i joined felipe to say goodbye to his friends; it wasn't until we were outside of the apartment that he said "ok don't be surprised by what you see." this was prompted by the prostitute that we saw leaving his friend's house. in a way it was nice that his friends were making an effort to talk to me. what i didn't appreciate was that their questions which ranged from:" are there prostitutes in the u.s.a" to "do you want a boyfriend for a day". his friend drove all seven of us to the airport in one vehicle and i prayed to whatever higher being would listen to please please please not let me die in a car crash. super sketchy driving.

after a few more stops we finally embarked on our journey-the first day we visited a lovely beach and camped out on plage blanche (luckily we found some locals to rent us an abandoned beach house).

we spent the second night on the beach as well and got tricked into ordering expensive dinner by the manager of the guest house. that day we also had to pay a bribe to the police for n0t stopping at one of the five tiny roadside signs. because of the disputed southern border and movement for independence in the southern sahara, we were stopped at many police checkpoints. pierre thought we were delayed as much as we were because we had passports from three different countries.

day three we visited tarfaya, the place where antoine de saint-exupery crashed his plane and was inspired to write le petit prince. pierre and i dropped felipe off in laayoune-he wanted to carry on south to dakla and pierre wanted to head back north to manage his toothache.