June 14th, 2007
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travel notes

what is it about travel that makes you want to do everything differently afterwards? i certainly feel different, but maybe not in the ways I was expecting. there is simply too much to tell you. such a mess of emotions, maybe that is the place to start. how do i communicate to you the colours and the heat and the smells of north africa? like no other place i have ever been, it haunts me in so many good and some not so good ways. so complicated a place, it challenges all who visit it in some way.
we were saddened seeing how tourism has impacted the culture of Spain in negative ways, (taking some of their culture away and replacing it with foreign chains and money making endeavors, and also turning the flamenco music into a commodity.) but I will write more about that at a later time.
unfortunately Jeff and I contracted some nasty virus while in morocco and we are still recovering after a trip to er the other night. so I will share with you these few photos taken by my husband and some words for now. time to heal my body.
a few highlights…
…the street in granada that runs along the river into the alabaicin, walking along narrow cobblestone streets into ancient history.
…listening to gypsies play real flamenco while watching the sun set over a massive castle (the alhambra).
…the dogs everywhere, they are a huge part of the culture and are accepted in stores and restaurants.
…the “less work, more play” attitude of the spanish people. we could all learn a lot from them here in north america. we were told that everyone in spain gets at least two months off from work (sometimes more), every year.
…the restaurant “casa paco” in seville, good cheap tapas.
…the indoor food market in the Marcarena, a wonderful neighborhood in seville, with almost no tourists. so colourful and full of life. walked through a street market full of gypsies selling used items.
…reading vonnegut’s “man without a country” on the train and laughing out loud in parts. what a gift he left us, i only wish it was hundreds of pages longer
…finding a quiet pension in a beautiful neighborhood (realejo) lined with orange trees and jasmine, (for only 40E a night).
…finding an english bookstore in Granada after having run out of reading material. you must understand how i felt like a I could breathe again, like an addict who was in need of a fix. whew.
…drinking tinto (a mixture of redwine and lemon soda) in a small family owned bar in sacremonte, built cave-like into the side of a large hill. many gypsies live in actual caves further up the hill from there.
…the village of chefchaowen in morocco (pictured above) where the entire medina is painted in shades of blue, (which is a pigment specific to the area). it is magical at night, filled with candles, and music and the smell of burning cedar (which they use to cook bread with in primitive ovens.)
…the riad we splurged on for one night in Fez, called riad Louna
…drinking mint tea at a place where no tourists would go.

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