Chilled to the bone…49F (9C this morning)… What do we wear?…Only women will get this!…New photos!

 

This cat found comfort sitting atop the seat of a parked motorbike.

One of the aspects of traveling the routes we’ve chosen has been to avoid cold weather. When we researched temperatures this time of year in Morocco, we’d never expected it to be as cold as it’s been.

Luckily, the sun was out again as it filtered through the slats in the ceiling of the souk.

Keeping in mind that we’re almost living outdoors with the open courtyard, the largest room in the riad around which all other rooms are situated, it’s not unlike living in Kenya in the outdoor living room instead, with the unbearable heat, humidity, and mosquitoes.

This shop’s specialty was hand-carved wood chess boards and pieces.

Definitely, I’d rather be chilled than in scorching heat and humidity. Its a lot easier to bundle up than take off clothing to cool down which hardly seems to help at all.

Clothing shops are popular in the souks as tourists strive to bring Moroccan styles back home. From what we’ve seen, the locals buy their garments from shops in the side streets away from the tourist areas at more affordable prices.

The trouble is, we have a few warm items with us having not planned for such chilly weather. Tom has one lightweight zippered sweatshirt and I have two long sleeves warm BugsAway shirts, one white, one pale green, which I seem to switch off every other day. The 70 washings guaranteed to maintain the bug deterrent features of these two shirts will be washed away before I ever get to go on another safari. 

Bangles and the little pots are commonly sold items.

The only other long-sleeve items we have are our two long-sleeve BugsAway cotton safari shirts which we each often wear when we go out under our jackets of which we each have two, one parka and one slightly heavier weight.

One could get confused trying to decide on pairs of sandals with endless affordable offerings from around the souk. 

In Kenya, after donating more of our clothing I left myself with only a few pairs of jeans shorts to wear during the three months in South Africa. After wearing them every day they began to wear out and I noticed the fabric thinning, wearing through at certain points. One was awfully low slung and the other not as much.

Colorful small tables used in home décor.

As a typical woman in my old life, I’d have gone shopping, trying on 15 pairs of shorts, to end up purchases a few for the new season. Since we’ve been gone 17 months without shopping, I currently have a dilemma.  Styles have changed, sizing may have changed and its no longer as simple as going online and purchasing a few pairs of shorts to be sent when they may not fit. 

Pillows in Morocco are filled with very heavy durable material making them rather heavy. With the numerous pillows where we sit in the salon, we’ve found it difficult to move around, they are so heavy.

You may think…go shopping! Ha! I dare anyone to find a pair of jean shorts in Morocco, respectably long enough to go out in public at age 66, that fit properly when most women’s pants are typically low slung anomalies. Now, I can live with a bit of a low slung pair of pants but not those with a zipper only as long as my thumb!

Leather handbags, carryon bags, and other travel bags are popular in the souks.

Knowing we’ll be receiving a box of supplies while we’re in Madeira for which we’ll be adding the new camera when it comes out on April 20th, now is the time for me to figure out a solution to include in the box.

Several shops comparable to a boutique type store are found in the various courtyards between the souks, as in the case of this store where we spotted this bronze horse.

Why only jeans shorts? They are durable, can be worn several times without looking ratty, don’t wrinkle and above all, are comfortable. I donated all the khaki shorts I’d originally included in our luggage after wearing them only a few times. For me, jeans are my first choice for long pants, capris, and shorts. Style was long ago sacrificed for practicality and comfort.

Bead and jewelry making supplies.

Looking online for a few hours, I became frustrated, feeling that I’d never get a pair of shorts that would be guaranteed to fit. Of course, I put my little brain to work on a solution. Boom! As often happens during the night, I had an idea.

Almost every day, except for washing day, I’ve been wearing a pair of Old Navy jeans that I love. I’m not an easy fit; tall, relatively lean and with overly long legs, a 35″, .89m inseam. Try to find that in a country where the average woman’s height is 5’2″, 1.57 m! Old Navy has always had jeans that work for both my size and height. 

Cute puzzle made n the shape of camels.

Yesterday, after unzipping my pants, Tom read off the labels on the inside of my jeans including the style name, style number, and the size. Immediately going online to Old Navy, I was excited to find they still carry the exact same style and size. On sale for US $49, MAD 399, each they were down to US $34.50, MAD 281 each. I ordered two pairs in varying shades.

When they arrive in a few months, I’ll cut one pair off for shorts and the other pair for capris, rolling up the ends into narrow cuffs. Having done this on many occasions with old jeans, I have no qualms that I can easily do this again using one of the few pairs of sharp scissors we have on hand.
The dark, busy souk is a challenge to navigate when crowded with locals, tourists, bicycles, donkeys with carts, hand-pulled carts, and motorbikes.

Problem solved. I placed the order for the two pairs of jeans and a few more dressy looking tee-shirts suitable for dining out. My total order was US $101, MAD 823, with free shipping to our mailing service in Nevada, USA.  Of all things, an hour later I received a coupon for US $40, MAD 326, as a reward for my purchase if I was willing to spend another US $100, MAD 815, between now and May 5th. Hopefully, I can convince Tom to use this credit for himself. 

Of course, anything new we receive requires disposing of an equal weight of things we already have to keep the weight of our luggage acceptable to airline standards. Fortunately, I have already planned what I’ll toss before we’re ready to leave Madeira on July 31st.

This is what I should be admiring as opposed to cookies I can’t eat.

In the interim, I will continue to wear the heck out of the clothing of which I plan to dispose of. Tom also wears the same tee shirts and button-up shirts over and over, as you’ve seen in our photos with a plan to wear them out as well. Yes, I get sick of looking at his same tee shirts, although clean, day after day, as he most certainly does mine.

Who’d ever thought we’d be planning and contemplating the long-term wear-ability of a pair of shorts or a tee-shirt? In our old lives, if a tee shirt looked worn, it became a rag or was plopped into the trash with nary a thought. Now, I can spend 10 minutes looking at a tee-shirt with the intent of determining its fate…keep or save…keep or save.  Ha!

We giggled when we saw this traditional phone booth.

In a funny way, I enjoy this triviality of our lives. Fashion-forward in my old life. Fashion free in my new life. I think I like it better this way.

Today, we’ll be going outside the Medina with more photos to share tomorrow. I’d hoped to take a video of the birds flying inside the house early this morning. Alas, hardly any birds flew inside this morning although I was waiting with camera in hand. Perhaps, another day.
                                               ______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2013:

A year ago today, we were living in Belize and it was Easter day.  Having few photos from our old lives when neither of us enjoyed taking photos, I’d posted a few older dessert photos on that date, including this butterscotch pie I’d made for Tom using 12 egg whites for the meringue and a homemade rolled crust. I have posted this photo in the past and apologize for the repeat if you’ve seen this before. This link will take you to that date and other desserts from our old lives, including Tom’s custom-made retirement party cake.  Please click here for the link.

 

 

A day in the life…Not as laid back as it may seem….

Yesterday, as it rained inside the house, Madame Zahra handed us an umbrella so we could go out to dinner. With the crowds in the souk, it’s not easy to walk around with an open umbrella fearful of poking a passerby in the eye. It was a trying 45-minute walk to the restaurant as we maneuvered the many puddles, all the while getting soaked from the spray from motorbikes whizzing past. It was cold, 13C, 55F. By the time we reached the restaurant, my shoes were wet and my toes were numb. 

This morning, awakening at 6:00 to the loud sounds of birds flapping their wings and squawking to the heavens in the center courtyard, I was ready to jump up and look out the bedroom door, knowing they’d fly away the second I peeked out

As soon as we entered the restaurant we cozied up to this flaming heater, seeking a little warmth, after the long walk through the rain-soaked souk.

Reminding myself to bring my camera upstairs tonight, I’m determined to get a photo of their rambunctious mating rituals with spring in the air. The loud squawking can’t possibly be pigeons which we often hear at a lower tone. If nothing else, I’ll video the sounds to share here tomorrow. It’s absolutely unreal!

Once inside the restaurant, closing off this door to their courtyard, we were able to warm up enough to remove our jackets while we had dinner.

Instead of getting up I grabbed the novel on my phone’s Kindle app and lost myself in reading for the next two hours, finally bolting out of bed, almost feeling guilty for lounging so long.

Do we retired (or in my case, semi-retired) folks ever get over the feeling that there’s something that “must be done now” in order to stop feeling a sense of obligation or responsibility? Isn’t retirement about “retiring” from those dreadful feelings of self-imposed pressure to constantly be productive?

Excuse the blur as I took this photo of a ceiling in the souk while on the move through the dense tourist crowds who were shopping in a frenzy on a Saturday. This type of roof is typical in the souks resulting in rain dripping on us as we walked with little space to open the umbrella. Many of the vendors dragged their merchandise inside their tiny shops or covered them with plastic.

In deep thought as I overlooked the drying out courtyard after days of rain, I reminded myself of a few things, applicable at this time: I don’t have to clean, do laundry, take out the trash, cook or do dishes. Gee…how stress-free can it get? 

All of us, deep within our core is shaken from time to time with the reminder from the habits of many years of getting up and going to work, only to come home to added responsibilities. That’s over now.

The colorful entrance to a mosque inside the souk.

The only responsibility I have at this moment in life is to make myself presentable for the day (now down to 20 minutes flat), keep track of our finances, and blissfully write here each and every day. 

Don’t get me wrong. Writing here each day is not as simple as sitting down and banging out our recent activities and thoughts. It requires careful planning, researching, and a constant search for photo ops, not always an easy task. 

This is the ornate architecture above the colorful door of the mosque as shown in the previous photo.

Overall, it’s no less than a six-hour a day “job” that we both take seriously. Tom, as my editor and sharing equal time in research, joins me in the incessant scanning of our environment searching for stories and photos.  However, we love every moment, even when on an occasional morning, for a moment, I may think I’ll skip a day…and don’t…I can’t…I want to do it.

Without this, we’d travel the world taking an occasional photo, writing a repetitive series of emails to family and friends, leaving memory after memory stuck only in our heads, and on “camera uploads” in Dropbox

Often when passing these bakeries with amazing looking desserts and cookies, I encourage Tom to try something so I can live vicariously through him. Alas, his picky taste buds prevent him from trying a single cookie. Good thing I have no alternative but to maintain my restrictive way of eating, sans sugar, starch, and flour or I’d have gained a substantial sum of weight while here. Then, my limited clothing supply would no longer fit. I suppose for Tom, in this case, his picky eating habits serve him well.

With this, we need only click back to a year ago or two to be reminded of the glorious, or otherwise, experiences we had along the way, with stories and photos, reliving it over and over again. Add the joy of knowing that thousands of readers all over the world are sharing this adventure with us, catapults us to another level of pleasure we can hardly describe.

Even the prospect of generating enough revenue from the links on our site that hopefully, more and more readers will use, at the same pricing offered on the original websites, to defray it’s maintenance costs and perhaps a few other related expenses, adds a level of enthusiasm that only my long-ingrained entrepreneurial spirit can hardly dispel as we travel the world.

Tom refused to stop to let me ogle another sweet morsel as I shot another bakery display in passing.

Oh, would that our grandparents had left us a legacy such as this that we could wrap our brains around, knowing from whence we came, even if only to a small degree, that for us may explain the wanderlust in our hearts and the willingness to share it with others.

No, it’s not always exciting and thought-provoking. At times, it may even be dull and repetitive. But, for us, the joy continues as we share the mundane, the tender, the exciting, and the quiet contemplative times of our lives as we move from one country to another filling our hearts and minds with the knowledge, the wonder, and the constant longing, for more.
                                                           ____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2013:

On this date last year while preparing to leave Belize, we illustrated how we scan our tax deductible receipts and safely dispose of the paper with no shredder on hand.  Please click here for the link to the rest of the story.

 

Facts about Morocco….

Photos shown here today were not taken by us.
Before we began planning to travel the world, I had a vague recollection of where many countries were located. Tom, on the other hand, a history and geography buff, was much more knowledgeable. As we’ve continued on, we’ve greatly enhanced our geographical knowledge of the world, still with more to learn. Many of our readers commented that they were surprised that we were still in Africa, while living in Morocco. How often does one take the time to look at a world map to be reminded of that which we learned in grade school? Not often.
 
Although not all of our readers will find these facts about Morocco peaking their interest, we’ve found that many do enjoy a list of facts to jog their memory or update their knowledge as we constantly research, study and explore. 
“They” say that new information is an excellent form of “exercise for the brain” of which both Tom and I can attest, after these past 17 months since we left Minnesota.
If today’s information bores you, we apologize, hoping you’ll return tomorrow for more photos of our time in Morocco. In a selfish manner, we post this today, hoping to learn more from our research about Morocco instead of being limited to our smaller sphere while living in the Medina with an occasional outing outside the wall.
If you’ve been to Morocco and have facts you’d like to share, please comment at the end of this post.  We’d love to hear from you
What is the full name of Morocco?
Kingdom of Morocco (Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah)
Where is Morocco?
Northern Africa, across the Gibraltar Strait from Spain
What countries border Morocco?
Algeria, Mauritania, Spain (across the Gibraltar Strait), and Western Sahara (which Morocco claims as a territory). The border between Algeria and Morocco is currently closed.
How big is Morocco?
446,550 square kilometers
What is the population of Morocco?
Around 30 million
What language is spoken in Morocco?
Arabic is the official language (the Darija, Moroccan dialect). French is used for business and is considered the unofficial second language of Morocco, Berber dialects, Spanish and English are becoming increasingly more common.
 
What type of government does Morocco have?
Constitutional monarchy
 
Who is the King of Morocco?
King Mohammed VI
King Mohammed VI, current King of Morocco.

Who is the Prime Minister of Morocco?

Abdelilah Benkirane
Current Prime Minister of Morocco, Abdelilah Benkirane.

 

 

What is the capital of Morocco?

Rabat
Rabat, the capital of Morocco.

What are the regions of Morocco?
There are 15 regions of Morocco, and claimed territory in Western Sahara:

  • Grand Casablanca
  • Chaouia-Ouardigha
  • Doukkala-Abda
  • Fes-Boulemane
  • Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen
  • Guelmim-Es Smara
  • Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
  • Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz
  • Meknes-Tafilalet
  • Oriental
  • Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer
  • Souss-Massa-Draa
  • Tadla-Azilal
  • Tanger-Tetouan
  • Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
What are the largest cities in Morocco?
Casablanca

Rabat

Fes

Marrakech

Oujda
Map of Marrakech, Morocco, where we’re living now
until May 15, 2014.

When did Morocco declare independence?

March 2, 1956 – Morocco declared independence from France
When is Morocco’s national holiday?
Morocco celebrates Throne Day on July 30, which celebrates the accession of King Mohammed VI to the throne in 1999.

What currency is used in Morocco?Moroccan dirham (MAD)

This is MAD 100, Moroccan Dirham,  US $12.23, Euro $8.89 (based on today’s exchange rate).

What are the physical features of Morocco?

Although Morocco is often thought of as desert, much of the country is covered by the Atlas Mountains and the Rif Mountains, though the Sahara desert does make up a portion of the country.
What is the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU)?
Established in 1989, the Maghreb Union was meant to unify Morocco (with Western Sahara) Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and help with trade and political unity between the countries.The Maghreb Union is currently frozen because of disagreements between Morocco and Algeria.
Who are the Berbers?
The Berbers are the indigenous peoples of the northern Africa. Most Moroccans are of Arab-Berber descent.
What is the major religion in Morocco?
Islam is the majority religion, particularly Sunni Islam. Judaism was historically a major religion in Morocco, but most Jews emigrated elsewhere in the 1950s.

Of course, there are volumes of information one could share about Morocco but with our limited space and time, we offer these morsel today.

Although it raining hard today we’ll plan to go out for awhile looking forward to making new discoveries within the Medina, sharing them all with you tomorrow.

Happy Day!
                                                         ____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 29, 2013:

An early morning photo of the Caribbean Sea from our veranda as we began to wind down our time in Belize, at that point a mere 11 days away. Although we were excited to be cruising off and on for the upcoming two months, it wasn’t easy to leave. For the post for that day, please click here.

 

 

Living in a riad, an unusal experience for us….Artifacts and decor at Dar Aicha…

Today, we’re posting the 17 mirrors in Dar Aicha which we believe may be used to enhance the appearance of the narrow sizes of some of the rooms surrounding the central courtyard.
Living in a riad, such as Dar Aicha, a house with an open-to-the-sky center courtyard surrounded by all of the rooms of the house, is unusual for many from other parts of the world. 
This and the above photo may look identical, but they aren’t. There is a mirror at each end of the salon one, rectangular as this one and the other arched as in the above photo. These two mirrors are showing reflections of each other. There’s a working TV in front of this mirror in the salon, which we use on occasion to watch world news.
Here’s why we consider a riad to be different from traditional homes in many other countries:
1. When it rains, it rains into the courtyard, leaving puddles at times. It’s necessary to walk through the courtyard when going from room to room. To avoid getting wet we can walk under the second-floor balcony around the edges of the courtyard.
2. During high winds, one feels the wind swirling around the courtyard which at night may be a little intimidating.
3.  Although a riad is constructed to stay cool in hot weather, during cold weather, the interior temperature matches the outdoor temperature.
4. There are literally no exterior windows. Most of the rooms surrounding the courtyard have colored glass windows facing the courtyard.
5.  As is a Moroccan tradition, the doorways to the living areas all have drapes for privacy as opposed to doors that close. As a result, privacy is reduced.
6.  Based on the design of a riad and to prevent water from entering the living areas in heavy rains, there are short steps of varying heights and depths, sometimes one, sometimes two, to navigate when entering and exiting the rooms surrounding the courtyard and all the other areas including the bathrooms. This could be a tripping hazard. We’ve had to remind ourselves to carefully navigate those steps to avoid tripping and flying over the second-story railing to the stone courtyard below. Scary.
7.  A riad is not suitable for disabled individuals for navigating these shorter steps or the steep stone steps to the second level or the third-floor rooftop.
8.  Birds are always flying into the courtyard. This morning there were two pigeons in my dressing room (I wasn’t in the room) which Tom saw fly out. With spring here now, the birds are in abundance, many walking on the courtyard floor during the day. Yesterday, two birds walked into the salon while we were there.
9.  The walls are one meter thick, (approximately 3 feet) impeding the WiFi signal. We’ve found it necessary to position ourselves close to an opening in order to get a decent connection.
The aged mirror in the center courtyard.
 Aged mirror on the second-floor balcony.
 One of the mirrors in our master bedroom.
Another ornate mirror in the master bedroom.
One of two mirrors in the master bathroom.
The mirror over the brass sink in the master bathroom.
Other than reminding ourselves not to trip on the steps between rooms, none of these differences bother us at all. Actually, we find the design of the riad charming and at times entertaining, especially when we can look up from inside the house and see the blue sky during the day and the stars and moon at night.
Mirror in the second bedroom that I use for showering and dressing in the mornings to avoid awakening Tom.

 

Mirror over the bathroom sink in the bathroom I use in the mornings. The water bottle in the lower left if used for brushing our teeth.
And, of course, we love the birds. I remember how we’d all freak out when a bird flew into our house in our old lives. Now, we simply smile occasionally taking a photo as shown here today.
Taking photos of these fast-moving little birds makes me crazy when don’t sit still long enough for me to get a good shot. This bird was standing on the second-floor railing overlooking the center courtyard.
It is these types of experiences, living as the locals do, that shape our world travels. At times, we experience challenges and frustrations that somehow we manage to work through to our satisfaction. At other times, we pinch ourselves, asking, “How in the world did we end up here?” 
As for Morocco, we have a partial roof over our heads, we’re comfortable, we’re feeling well, we’re well-fed, we love our riad and it’s wonderful staff, and for the next 48 days, at Dar Aicha, we’re “home.”
                                                     ________________________________________________
Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2013:
With no photos posted on this exact date, one year ago, we selected this photo from earlier in March, 2013.  Please click here for the link.

 

The trials and tribulations of taking prescribed medication while traveling the world….

The comments here today are in no manner intended to be any form of medical advice. We are not medical professionals. Please see your medical professional for advice and consultation.
Decorative doors in Morocco are common. Some believe symbols and a beautiful door may drive away evil spirits.
Where do I begin? Here we go, me doing my best to describe a situation that easily may become a dilemma for seniors or those taking medications while traveling. No matter how hard I’ve tried I am plagued with hereditary health issues. Since I was 16 years old, I exercised, watched what I ate, stayed slim (except for a few short periods which I later remedied), and lived a healthy lifestyle. 
I was motivated by fear, watching family members fall prey to diabetes with subsequent amputation and untimely death, morbid obesity, heart and arterial disease, thyroid disease, and the painful condition I changed a few years ago by changing to my restrictive diet.
With my efforts all these years, I have no alternative but to take a few medications, one for high blood pressure. But, let’s face it, millions of seniors over 65 take medications for this and other conditions. It’s not unique.
These doors have similarities that many who designed the riads found particularly appealing.
Over the years, I’ve read how to reduce the necessity for medications for hypertension and have made huge efforts to eliminate the need for the medications to no avail. Invariably, the symptoms stayed steady and I was merely kidding myself that I could function without them. 

Luckily, almost three years ago, I stumbled across a doctor who steered me in the direction of this strict anti-inflammation diet that I’ll follow for the remainder of my life, that that has changed the quality of my life, now living pain-free (except for the occasional pain in the bum right shoulder which I’ll gladly live with). Without this change, we’d never have been able to travel for a two-week vacation, let alone travel the world for years.

In some of the narrow alleys, we could only take photos from an angle as shown.

After the first six months on the restrictive diet, all of my lipids dramatically improved from bad to normal. But, the high blood pressure, entrenched deep within my genes, remained. I have no choice but to take medication, most likely for the remainder of my life.

As described in this site many times in the past, taking medication while on a vacation/holiday is not necessarily an issue. It’s imperative to bring more medication than you’ll need in the event of delays, with the medication in it’s original labeled bottles along with copies of your prescriptions in the event you are questioned. Only once have we been questioned about non-prescription and prescription medications except in Belize. Long story.  Here’s the link.

Two interesting doors..
We’ve posted many times as to how we decided to purchase our few medications through a reputable online pharmacy, a year’s supply at a time, to be shipped to us wherever we may be. When down to a remaining four months of a drug, we place our order.

Alas, an order of a few months ago that we received in South Africa via snail mail, had a problem. Before sending the medication, they contacted me by email, explaining the dilemma. The pharmacy company, ProgressiveRX was unable to correctly fill the blood pressure medication.

The drug in question is Lisinopril with Hydrochlorothiazide.  The pharmacy company only had the drug Lisinopril by itself without the Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used to reduce fluid in the body and subsequently in the blood vessels (simplification). They didn’t have access to the combination drug or the two drugs separately. The combination of these two medications, available in a single pill was the only drug that worked for me after trying many combinations years ago. 

We also noticed exceptional doors while we were living in Tuscany last summer.

What was I to do?  Find a doctor to write a separate prescription for the required 12.5 mg dose of Hydrochlorothiazide and then take the two pills together?  Worrying about running out entirely, I advised them to send the 10 mg. Lisinopril by itself and I’d figure out the rest. I didn’t want to go to a doctor’s office in Africa unless it was an emergency with fears of communicable diseases in such a place.

Taking my copy of the prescription to a pharmacy in South Africa provided no options. hey didn’t carry the drug or a reliable equivalent. Knowing that I’d run out of my old supply in the first few weeks in Morocco, I realized I’d have no choice but to try taking the Lisinopril by itself and see what happens. Within three or four days, I could feel that my blood pressure was high. Many do not feel any symptoms from hypertension making it important to have it checked from time to time.

A serious kitty nap at the base of a tree.

I know many of you will write to me suggesting I don’t self treat. Medical care in many countries is sketchy at best, especially with the language barrier. That’s why we have emergency evacuation insurance. 

In fairness to medical professions in every country, surely, there are fine doctors in most countries. Finding one’s way to them is tricky, can be costly and time-consuming. We didn’t determine this dilemma to be a medical emergency at this point.

With Spring Break on the horizon, yesterday the souks weren’t as busy as usual.

Taking a copy of the prescription with me as we wandered through the souks and Big Square on several occasions we stopped at a few pharmacies, none of which could understand the dilemma. Alas, on Monday, before we started our sightseeing tour, Samir directed Mohamed to take us to a certain pharmacy, outside of the Medina.

The pharmacist spoke excellent English. We left her with a copy of the prescription and a short time later she called Samir, explaining she could supply the separate drug, Hydrochlorothiazide in 25 mg pills which I could cut in half and add it to the Lisinopril dose each day. 

(Oddly, I had packed a pill cutter. We’d never used a pill cutter until our precious dog Willie was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 for which we were giving him Morphine, cutting the stronger doses in half over the few weeks until he left us.  If you’re a dog lover, you may enjoy reading the first blog I’d ever written, during his last days of life, written from his perspective. Please click here for the link. Please scroll through the archives to read from the beginning. Get out your hanky).

Occasionally, we’ve seen a modern-looking spa-type store in the souk, often selling the popular Argan oil, thought to be highly effective in treating the skin and hair.

We ordered a year’s supply to supplement our year’s supply of the Lisinopril and we’re good until we’re in Hawaii next March. Today, Samir dropped off the prescription order for which we reimbursed him. Heartfelt thanks to Samir for his assistance in this situation.

The entire cost for the years supply was US $33.20, MAD $270. I can only imagine the cost of this drug in the US for a year’s supply, perhaps as much as 10 times more. (I could drag out the soapbox for that discussion but I won’t at this time)!

Had she only been able to get the combined drug, I’d have no use for the year’s supply of Lisinopril for which we’d already paid the online pharmacy. Luckily, it all worked out well. 

The rooftops in Morocco are also similar to those in Tuscany.

An interesting fact that we’ve discovered in many countries including Morocco, is that pharmacies don’t necessarily require a prescription for many drugs. However, this could make replacing a drug one accidentally left at a home time consuming and frustrating. Also, some narcotic drugs (none of which we take) may be acquired in some countries without prescriptions which ultimately could result in an arrest if one didn’t have an accompanying verifiable prescription on hand. 

I ask myself, “What could we have done differently to avoid this situation?” Not much, really. Now, feeling like myself again after the addition of the second drug and the recovery from the recent illness, we feel we did the right thing.

The last archway we enter on our long trek to Pepenero.

Traveling long term has its challenges. We don’t have all the answers since we, like many of you, learn as we go. Hopefully, today, if one of our readers gleans a morsel of information from us sharing this story, our efforts are well spent.

Tonight, we’re dining in after a fabulous dinner yesterday at our favorite, PepeNero. OK, we’ll admit it, we’re already doing repeat restaurants. But then again, Madame Zahra’s amazing dinners are surely repeats that we can’t resist.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of artifacts from the interior of our riad that we’ve found rather interesting.  Hopefully, you will too!
                                                ______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2013:

Our veranda in Belize was located at the left edge of this sidewalk.  We couldn’t have been closer to the Caribbean Sea than we were.  For the post from that date, please click here.

 

 

Part 2…Sightseeing in Marrakech outside the Medina..A baby…

This camel calf is one month old.  Mom looked proud of her offspring, not seeming to mind when we moved around her to take photos.

As we drove through the beautiful Palmeraie area, it was obvious we were in an upscale area, although all the residences had high walls preventing us from seeing anything but the second floors and rooftops.

Tom and I, near the baby and her mom with the herd owner in blue in the background.

 

The herd owner couldn’t have been more pleased to share his camels with us. He suggested this photo for which we’d had no intention of asking. Most followers of the Muslim faith refuse to be photographed.

As I’d mentioned yesterday, there were areas along the side of the side of the road, with several herds of camel, every few blocks. With herd owners in attendance patiently waiting for customers seeking a camel ride or an opportunity to take photos.

These appear to be of a different breed as opposed to those we’d seen in Kenya. These single-humped camels are referred to as Dromedary Camels. For more information, please click here.

In a way, it was sad to see, the diligent camel owners waiting day after day for customers in a relatively quiet area while having the responsibility of feeding, caring for, and housing their camels at night. Surely, there is a considerable expense in caring for the camels, leaving these owners at the mercy of the inconsistent tourist trade.

The camels are used to being near humans and are known to be gentle and non-aggressive.

As we drove through the area, I kept pointing to the camels along the road, desperately wanting to stop and see them.  Samir reminded me to be patient. Shortly down the road, he’d arranged for an owner, friend to accommodate us who was awaiting our arrival.

Much to our delight, we got more than we’d expected, a one-month-old calf that warmed our hearts, bringing memories back to all the babies in Marloth Park.

We noticed the “pads” camels are born with to protect their knees and body when laying or kneeling. We’d noticed this same amazing feature in zebras with the dark spots on the inside of each leg, to protect their body when lying down.

I felt that same calm wash over me that I’d left behind when we said our goodbyes to Marloth Park, that same calming effect that a love of animals can bring when in their presence. Even Tom, a less obvious enthusiastic than I, became engaged in the baby camel, as well as the mature camels as we wandered around their designated area.

They all seemed content as they lounged in the warm sun. Camels of this variety rarely live in the wild in Morocco, as they tend to live well in herds owned by humans.

The kindly herd owner guided us to the best vantage points for our photos as shown here today. It was evident that he took great pride in his herd. We let him know how much it meant to us that he willingly shared them with us. The token tip we gave him was nothing compared to the obvious pleasure he derived from our appreciation of his herd.

A short time later, we were back on the road for our final stop in our sightseeing day concluding at the Menara Gardens and Pavilion.

Tom called me to come to see the baby nursing when I was busily taking photos of the other camels. It was delightful to see this.

For those seeking a quiet long stroll around a manmade pool and a walk through the orchards (not in bloom at this time), this site would be ideal. The quiet contemplative location held little interest for us during the hour and a half period we had until we were to meet up with Mohamed and Samir.

Even the one-month-old baby had a rope around him/her to keep from wandering off. With the attention paid by the mother, it appeared unlikely the baby would take off.

Many tourists seeking a quiet spot to walk, unwind, meditate, and reflect would find this site somewhat appealing. With both of us as Type A personalities, it fell short of our expectations and we took no photos during this period.

Nursing, up close. 

With one more stop at the pharmacy before heading to the restaurant, we paid Mohamed for driving and they dropped us off at our chosen restaurant for dinner. By 5:00 pm, we entered the quaint restaurant, Amaia, a cozy, highly rated French restaurant in Marrakech, a #8 in TripAdvisor.com where we search for reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions.

The baby was nuzzling another adult female. As we’ve often seen in nature, the dads have little to no presence in the upbringing of the offspring, although this baby’s dad was in this herd. This may have been an aunt, a grown cousin, or a grandmother.

The reviews wouldn’t have been more on target. We enjoyed a leisurely quiet delicious meal, easily adapted to my dietary restrictions, and befitting Tom’s picky taste buds. The service was impeccable with a lovely French woman speaking perfect English. 

The mom was to the right of the baby while the playful kissing occurred.

To be safe, we didn’t order ice for our drinks or eat any raw vegetables. We’ll definitely put Amaia on our favorites list as we work our way around Marrakech in search of French or other international restaurants. We grabbed a taxi after dinner, getting a ride back to the entrance to the Medina, to begin the long trek back home through the Big Square and the souk.

Mom is on the right, as the baby plays with the other female adult.

Reading online at TripAdvisor.com we saw that many tourists also, after a few weeks in Morocco, had difficulty continuing to eat the spicy, although tasty, Moroccan food, especially when they originated from a culture of less seasoned foods, such as us.

The baby, a Dromedary Camel, was stretching after playing.  he single hump seems to be growing more quickly than the remainder of the body.

Overall, we had a very good day. The sun was shining, the temperature was moderate, we took many photos and we had an opportunity to experience Marrakech outside the wall.  It is an amazing city; modern, progressive, clean, and filled with culture. The locals take much pride in their city, its diversity, and its history.  And, so far, this has been the best smelling place in the world!

Camel’s teeth appear to be more pronounced on the lower jaw.

Last night, Madame Zahra made us another spice-free meal that makes my mouth water mentioning it. Today, we’ll dine out mid-day, and tomorrow we’ll dine in, as we seem to have adopted every other day, dining out and dining in pattern. In either case, we look forward to another great meal, now that we’ve worked out the kinks.

Tom’s dinner on Monday night at Amaia, a pork chop (first pork we’ve seen in Marrakesh, other than on a bacon cheeseburger Tom ordered a few weeks ago) and a serving of “chips” as French fries are called in Africa.

 

Fresh flowers at our table at Amaia.

 

My dinner at Amaia, a chicken, and vegetable stir fry, without soy sauce which contains wheat, unless its the special gluten-free variety. The meal was wonderful.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our story of the “trials and tribulations” of taking prescription medication while traveling the world. 

The first beer Tom drank since arriving in Morocco almost four weeks ago. He said the brand, Casablanca, was good enough to order a second. Cocktails and beer are expensive in Morocco. This local beer was priced at US $5.55, MAD $45. 

 

I don’t drink alcohol due to my way of eating. Instead, I savored these pretty flowers.

Thanks to all of our readers worldwide for sharing our ongoing tales and photos of two seniors traveling the world, doing it “our way,” learning as we go.
                                              ______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 26, 2013:

There’s my guy, on the beach outside of our previous home n Belize, one year ago to the date. We had a glorious time in Belize once we moved out of the less than desirable first house after one week to this fabulous location. For the post from that date, please click here.

 

Part 1…Sightseeing in Marrakech outside the Medina…

For those who didn’t have an opportunity to read yesterday’s post, we will be posting a photo from our post of the same day and month, one year ago, at the bottom of each new post, including the link to the older post. This is intended to assist new readers in catching up, if those so choose, if they’d prefer not to scroll through the archives listed on the right side of each daily post.

A lily pad in a pond in Jardin Marjorelle, a major tourist attraction in Marrakech which we visited on Monday.

 

These turtles lined up in a row made us laugh.It appeared there were different varieties based on their shells.

 

These two were away from the group. Perhaps, a mom and a baby?

Yesterday, Adil came to Dar Aicha to walk us to Mohamed’s taxi. The complex system of the souk and narrow roads and the fact that taxis generally aren’t allowed in the Big Square made planning a pre-arranged spot to meet tricky for us to find on our own. Mohamed was waiting for us in the square in an area designated for certain taxis.

Tom, shortly after we entered Jardin Marjorelle. Visiting a garden if not his first choice of activity, preferring to experience interesting vegetation in its natural habitat.  I totally agree with him, but was anxious to take some photos.

 

A guide offered to take our photo in this sunny spot.

Taking shortcuts through the souk that we had no idea existed, made the 10-minute fast-trek through the maze-like streets interesting. Adil’s enthusiastic pace made it impossible to stop for photos along the way. Tom, with his excellent sense of direction, feels confident that he can find that path again enabling me to take photos.

Although not the season for flowers blooming, we noticed a few as we strolled through the garden.

 

There were several bougainvillea trees in the garden.

 

With tourists at my elbow, it was challenging having ample room to get quality shots.

After a 20 minute stop at a pharmacy outside the Big Square for a medication issue, we’ll describe in Thursday’s post, revolving around, “Oh, it’s hell to get old” and “The trials and tribulations of taking prescribed medication while traveling the world.” Back to that later.

Cactus that appears as a flower.

 

This bright blue was used in the theme throughout the garden.

After the pharmacy visit, we were on our way to the first sightseeing stop, Jardin Marjorelle. Riding in good driver Mohamed’s new white SUV in air-conditioned comfort added to the experience. Samir was also in attendance, as our guide, with Mohamed speaking little English.

A Koi pond contained several fish.

 

Symmetry attracts our eye.
These flowers appeared to be in the snapdragon family.

Jardin Marjorelle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Marrakech. Intrigued with vegetation, I particularly enjoyed viewing the extensive displays of plants and trees beautifully presented in the garden. 

This cactus reminded us of a common variety we’ve seen in the US.

 

Interesting groupings.

As much as we would have preferred to identify each of the plants and trees by name as we share these photos, it would have required a more lengthy visit when many of the signs describing the varieties were confusing and difficult to decipher with the crowds at our elbows as we shot the photos. We had no choice but to move along to allow others to take their photos.

The blooms on the various cacti are of particular interest.

 

Curly cactus.

 

Ouch!

We have included a link here should you care to search for a particular plant, many of which were cactus.  With the cool winter weather and hot summers,  certain varieties of cactus do grow in Morocco. However, many of those displayed were imported from other parts of the world with a more consistent year-round hot dry climate.

Fuzzy cactus.

 

Tall cactus.

 

The blooms often appear as an anomaly.

Most of the sights described for Marrakech in this link include much of what we’ll see when we take a few day trips outside the city mid-April. The remaining tourist attractions include palaces and old buildings, some of which we’ll tour at a later date and share here. As previously mentioned, the mosques do not allow non-Muslim visitors.

It’s interesting how cactus produce their self-defense system.

 

More eye-appealing symmetry.

 

The blooms reminded us of miniature pineapples.

After having walked literally every path in the garden, we commenced our tour in the Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berge display pavilion, who’d purchased the garden in 1980 to save it from being destroyed for the building of high rise buildings. Their dedication and devotion to this art-centered garden are illustrated in some of the photos we’ll share here today.

Although the sun was behind this, we were fascinated with these protrusions.

With a little time to spare we made our way to the pre-arranged location where we’d find Mohamed and Samir ready to take us to a drive through the new city, the upscale Palmeraie area as shown in this map:

This map illustrates the various areas of Marrakech, each with its own unique personality.

The following is a quote from this website, explaining the Palmeraie area of Marrakech:

“The Palm Grove quarter: extravagant villas and jet-set parties

At the risk of disappointing, the famous palm grove of Marrakech has lost much of its luster over the years (drought, uncontrolled property developments) and the image of the green oasis that some may have in mind is only today a distant memory.The fact remains that the palm grove conceals treasures which you can get a glimpse if you stay in one of the sumptuous villas that lie behind the high mud walls that line the roads without giving any hint of the splendors that they contain. 

It’s the neighborhood of billionaires and show-business movie stars but there are also a number of vacation clubs (ClubMed.) and wonderful guesthouses combining 1001 nights decors and sweet lifestyle (most of these villas have magnificent pools).

It should however be noted that the Marrakech palm grove covers an area between 8 and 12 miles from downtown and that commuting may therefore quickly be a major concern – and a major budget item. Staying in the palm grove of Marrakech is not necessarily the best choice if your priority is to explore the city. Conversely, it can be a great choice if you are a golfer and intend to devote most of your stay in this sport. In all cases, it will be necessary to ensure the hotel policy about transfers and shuttles to and from downtown.”

An odd formation, leaning toward the ground.

 

Bumping into this cactus would be painful!

 

Peculiar shapes.

The hour-long drive through the area was particularly interesting after spending most of our time in the old walled city, the Medina. It gave us an entirely different perspective of Marrakech as a progressive modern city appealing to travelers seeking a more modern environment and yet still being in close proximity to the excitement and charm of the renowned souks and old city.

Perhaps, one’s individual preference in cactus could reveal something about our personalities. Tom and I both were attracted to the symmetrical shapes.

Samir pointed to various walled homes and exquisite compounds owned by dignitaries and celebrities from all over the world. Three beautiful golf courses are a major draw to world travelers with upscale hotels, condos, and houses surrounding them.

Fuzzy, large grouping.

 

Various varieties grouped together.

 

These almost looked like cherry blossoms one might see in the east coast of the US at this
time of year.

Throughout the Palmeraie area, there were numerous herds of camels on the main road. The camels, owned by various vendors, were for hire for tourists to ride through the executive residential area. 

The blooms filled a large area.

We were especially excited to have the opportunity to stop to see a herd of camels owned by a friend of Samir’s that freely allowed us to take photos. 

The Yves St. Laurent pavilion had many of his works of art.

 

More art on display in the pavilion.

 

This area was crowded making photo taking difficult.
Tomorrow, we’ll share the camel photos which include a one-month-old calf. Once again, safari luck! Seeing the baby camel had me squealing with delight, trying not to make a fool of myself.
As we departed Jardin Majorelle, we took this final photo.  The cost for two to enter the garden is US $12.31, MAD $100, well worth the expenditure.

Part 2, tomorrow…please check back!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2013:

Although this wasn’t our photo, we’d posted this one year ago after a tourist had been stung by a stingray at the beach in front of our home in Belize. We’d seen plenty of these in the water during our long walks along the beach during our over two months on Belize. Their presence did have an impact on our desire to swim in the ocean resulting in our spending time at the pool each day. The injured tourist was taken to a local medical clinic provided care for the tourist and she recovered within a few days. There is no antitoxin for a stingray attack. Here is the link to last year’s post.

New feature to our daily postings…Today is a sightseeing day!…A peculiar coincidence…

Beginning today, we’ll be posting one photo that we previously posted one year ago on the exact day and month. We’ll also include the link from that date, for any of our readers who may have missed it at that time. 

This particular photo will be our chosen favorite from that date and will be placed at the end of each day’s post. For example, scroll to the end of this page, to find last year’s photo with a caption.

We’d appreciate any feedback if this is something you’d like to continue to see by commenting at the end of today’s post.  It’s easy to comment!

We’ve yet to take one of these horse and buggies when we prefer walking in the Medina. Also, we feel uncomfortable with these poor horses working for hours in the hot sun, often without water.

In less than 45 minutes Samir will pick us up for a day of sightseeing. We aren’t quite sure what we’ll see. With Samir in charge, we’re confident it will be a good day. We’ll wind up the day at a restaurant we’ve selected, outside the Medina, returning home after dark. He’ll drop us off at the restaurant at the end of the day and we’ll catch a taxi back after a leisurely dinner.

It was early afternoon when we went to the ATM, which are scattered about the Medina. None of the vendors accept credit cards, although a few of the more upscale restaurants do.

We’d planned this outing for last Monday but my illness prevented us from following through. Now, fully recovered, we’re both anxious to get out. Overall, the sights in Marrakech consist of that which one would find in most larger cities; museums, parks, old buildings, and mosques (or churches, in many other countries). 

Various vendors occupy these “stations” during the day in order to sell their wares. Most likely, the use of these spots is on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, although yesterday, we noticed that several were unattended.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, old buildings in big cities, which we fully appreciate for their design and history, are not in our “bucket list.” There are a few exceptions, such as when we’ll be in Paris from August 1 to 15th and then in London, for the remainder of the month. One can’t travel the world and not see Paris and London. Our travels would be incomplete without them.

This park is next to the entrance of the Medina where it appears many locals, especially the older population, find comfort and rest in its familiar surroundings.

For those of our readers regularly reading our posts, this is not new information. For the remainder, we’d decided last fall to spend time in both cities since we’ll be departing on a cruise from Harwich, England on August 31st.  

The men sitting on the ground in the white shirts are snake charmers. They have five or six snakes they use to attract tourists for a photo op. Neither of us has any interest in interacting with snakes after our Mozambique Spitting Cobra experience in South Africa. Also, in Kenya, we did participate in a snake show which satisfied us both for a lifetime. 

In 52 days we’ll leave Morocco for the island of Madeira, Portugal where we’ll stay until July 31st, at which time we’ll fly to Paris, staying in a hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Then off to London and then, the cruise. It all makes sense based on our close proximity at the time.

Many tourists are seated at these umbrella tables getting semi-permanent tattoos.

Plenty of old buildings are on the horizon. But, it’s hard to think about all of that right now. Instead, we have today’s plans as we strive to live in the moment.

We wandered down several similar streets in the Medina in search of a pharmacy.  I needed to purchase a mascara. We stumbled upon a pharmacy with many designer brands of mascara. I opted for Maybelline (Lancôme, was my favorite brand in the old life) when it’s common knowledge that designer labels are often “knock offs.” Why bother making a “knock off” of these already low priced items? The cost of the mascara was US $9.85, MAD $80. Overall, it wasn’t much higher than it would have been at Target.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos of sightseeing in Marrakech.  Stay tuned for more.

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Photo from one year ago today. March 24, 2013:

This is a weird coincidence!  It was totally unplanned when we decided to post a photo from one year ago to the date. After writing here today, I looked back for a photo to post from one year ago today, and here’s what I found, a photo from, here at Dar Aicha, our home in Marrakech for which we’d just completed the booking. It was one year ago today, that we posted the first photos of our upcoming home here in Morocco.  How odd.  Tomorrow’s photo will be back in Belize. Here’s the link from one year ago.

 

Planning for the future…Eight months and counting…Family time…

 

Taking photos in the souk is a huge challenge.  Islamic law prohibits its followers from being photographed. As a result, the shopkeepers, rightfully so, don’t want to be in the photos. As you’ve seen, we’ve diligently respected this. But, in an effort to illustrate the unique offerings and culture in the old Medina of Marrakech, we hesitantly take photos as appropriate situations arise. 

In seven months we’ll land by a cruise in Oahu, Hawaii, where we’ll stay for 11 days. Tom, a history buff, is looking forward to visiting Pearl Harbor. Staying for this period gives us time to soak in the frenzied atmosphere of Waikiki and Honolulu and then we’re off for six weeks in Maui for sun and surf.

Leaving Maui on December 1, 2014, we’ll fly to the Big Island for 46 days, at first renting one house on the ocean and on December 15th, renting the house next door, a weird coincidence, with neither related in any way to the other.

While walking, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can get.  Sandals and shoes are a common item for sale in the souk and the Big Square.

Beginning on December 6th, our adult children and their families will begin to arrive. Long ago, we had suggested a family gathering at our expense to enable the time together while each would also have a vacation in fabulous Hawaii.

Little did we realize at the time the skyrocketing cost of airline tickets anywhere in the US mainland to Hawaii, ranging from US $1300 to US $1800 per person especially during the busy holiday season. Of course, we knew it would be outrageous. We carefully budgeted not only for the cost of the tickets but also the two houses, food, two rental vehicles, and on and on. 

Not all areas of the souk are filled with active shops and tourists. When searching for restaurants, we often find ourselves in a quieter, less occupied area such as this, wondering how these shop owners can stay in business with limited foot traffic.

We’ve just begun the process of booking the tickets, with one of our four kid’s family’s tickets already set and more to be booked in the next few weeks until everyone has a ticket. Within 60 days, the tickets will all be purchased.

Several times each day we check prices. We have apps that are checking for us as prices change.  Not much is changing at this time. We need to wrap this up soon since we doubt the prices will drop to any degree. The fallacy about prices being lower on certain times or days of the week is just that, a fallacy. We haven’t seen any differences during any specific periods.  

This shop was mainly offering these colorful rocks for sale. A few cats were playing among the items for sale.

Of course, it’s predicated by some formulas and schedules the airlines use that is unpredictable. What motives would they have to make us privy to their best pricing? Duh. None. So we, captive audience that we are, keep checking, hoping to save a few hundred dollars here and there.

Dismissing this financial part, we can hardly wait to see our family, our four grown kids, significant others, and six grandchildren. My younger sister Julie, who lives in Los Angeles, may be stopping by for a few days. Having all of us together is exciting. 

Finally, we found the restaurant after another long and winding walk through the souk.

Feeding 15 to 16 people dinner each night is a bit daunting, but somehow we’ll manage. For dining out in a nice restaurant in Hawaii, the cost per person is from US $70 to $100 per person. Guess we won’t be doing that!

Although the closest Costco is 90 miles from our location, I’m sure a few trips in the SUV will be warranted.  What we’ll do about Christmas is up in the air, hard to plan or think at this point. Tree? Decorations? Wrapped gifts for the little ones? We definitely don’t want this period of time to be spent “doing too much” while not spending valuable time together. We shall see.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, the sun began to set and we both were chilled. For the first time since arriving in Marrakech, we are indoors at a comfortable banquet.

Our old days of “doing too much” are over. This may come as a surprise to those of our readers who personally know us. The focus will remain on the quality of time with our loved ones, not spending full days baking and cooking. The name of the game will be simplicity and lots of fun.

Had the fireplace been lit, we certainly would have sat close to it.  We still haven’t acclimated to the cooler (but getting warmer) weather in Morocco after over a year in hot climates.

This morning as we sit in the salon of the riad in Marrakech, Morocco, Hawaii is a million miles away. But as we’ve seen, especially those of you who have followed us since the beginning in March 2012, all of these booked events are coming up, tumbling over one another. In two months we’ll be settled in Madeira.  At one point it seemed so far in the future.

My dinner, although small, was good.  Carefully, I avoided the raw vegetables. Luckily, they served nuts and olive as an appetizer which helped fill me up.

Over the past several weeks as we continue to research for the unplanned time after May 2015, we’ve decided to add another element to our travels, winging it. With the excitement over the endless possibilities and after having booked over two years in advance, we are feeling knowledgeable enough with our recent experiences to wait until we pin down what is to follow. 

When Tom heard that the chef was Italian he ordered this lasagna which didn’t disappoint. With bread on the side, he was satisfied.

Doing so, in itself, adds a sense of adventure we both welcome. After spending seven months living on four islands in Hawaii, seeing the sites, whale watching, checking out volcanoes, and reveling in the exquisite scenery, we’ll be ready for the next phase of our world travels. 

With the hope to visit all of the continents, with four under our belts, we still have three more to go. But within each of those continents that we have visited, we have so much more to see. One could spend an entire lifetime traveling and still see so little. 

After dinner, as we were leaving, this colorful seating area jumped out at us. Wouldn’t that be a fun spot for a gathering of friends, food, and drink?

We take it at our own pace, in our own way, seeing what appeals to us, sensing no urgency, with no time constraints other than maintaining a level of health that allows us to continue on. 

Being with our family next Christmas will fulfill a longing in our hearts to see their smiling faces once again, recharging us to continue on and, we will.

Tonight, we’ll dine in while Madame Zahra makes lamb for us. Tom, who doesn’t care for lamb, ordered it on my behalf, knowing how much I love it.

Thanks, my dear hubby!  I owe you one!

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Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2013:

The piece of driftwood decorates the beach by our villa in Belize The sidewalk to the center-left is the sidewalk directly in front of our villa. For more photos, please click here.

 

The maze like environmant of the souk…So confusing…Food around the world…

Yesterday, this was my meal at Le Jardin;  fillet of Dover sole with a spinach sauce made with a flour-less cream reduction sauce. In the center, is an array of cooked vegetables, including carrots, zucchini and eggplant. The chef prepared this meal for me after the server showed the him the restriction list on my phone. It was fabulous. Now, I can’t wait to have this again! See how tempting it is to return to favorite restaurant when I can order a dish as amazing as this?

Firstly, again thanks for the many well wishers, for my improving health.  Now with only one more day on Cipro, I am feeling completely well, having decided to continue and do the full five day regime.  All symptoms have subsided and I’m back to my energized self, chomping at the bit to get out and explore.

Tom ordered the same dish he’d had at Le Jardin the last time we visited, fearful he wouldn’t like other options. Next time, he’ll try a different dish.

Yesterday, we did exactly that!  Explore. On Friday, the holy day for those of the Muslim faith, many of the shops are closed in the souk. As a result, the narrow roads and passageways of the souk are relatively free of foot traffic. Since we aren’t interested in shopping, this is an ideal time for us to get around and explore the area and search for new restaurants to try.

During the long walk, as we searched for Le Jardin we discovered this interesting door in the Jemaa el Fna in the souk..

Here’s the dilemma. We’ve decided we can no longer dine at most Moroccan food restaurants. Having decided I will no longer eat raw vegetables after this dreadful illness there are few foods that I can eat in a Moroccan restaurants with any assurance that there will be none of the ingredients that I can’t have. Many dishes have flour, sugar, grains, fruit and starches, all which I must avoid.

Continuing on through the narrow roads, we looked for any familiar landmarks that would assist us in our search for Le Jardin.

A few days ago, Tom suggested I write about food too much. I agree that it is a frequent topic of conversation.  But, let’s face it, people usually travel for a few reasons other than to “get away from it all.” They travel for the shopping, the sights and for the food and wine. 

We thought we were close when a few weeks ago, we’d spotted these same two kittens playing at perhaps the same spot.

 

Many of the homeless cats hang out in pairs.

When travelers board a long flight, one of their first questions asked is, “Do we get a meal?” One of the major reasons travelers enjoy cruising is for the food, the “all you can eat” aspect, with many courses with an endless array of desserts. When travelers arrive at a new location, they immediately get to work to find out where to eat using the Internet, the concierge or by inquiring to other travelers.

From time to time we’ll see what appears to be a traditional home furnishings shop. 

We live in a “food” orientated society. Our holidays and celebrations consist of big meals with many desserts.  Sporting events appeal to many for the food and drinks that seem to go along the frenzy. A trip to a movie theatre results in a desire for popcorn, candy and drinks. 

Ever go to Las Vegas and not discuss a plan as to where to have the biggest and best buffets, maybe “comped” if one is a serious gambler, or to immediately return to a favorite haunt for a special dish?  Its our nature.

If we go back to the caveman/cavewomen, most likely the first thing they thought about upon wakening, is where and how they’ll get their next meal. In the animal world, we observed both on safari and in living in Marloth Park, that animals lives revolve around the constant hunt or forage for food.

What an interesting door!

Its in our DNA whether its out of the need to feed our bodies or for sheer pleasure. We can’t help but think and talk of our desires for food in various the forms in which we’ve become familiar. A huge part of traveling is the excitement of seeking the new food experiences, the new flavors.

Here we are in Morocco, dealing with my major food restrictions (which I don’t resent at all) and Tom’s picky taste buds, in one  of the “foodie” capitals in the world! Food is a major point of discussion in our lives perhaps in a slightly different manner than for most travelers.

A few decisions have been determined by my recent illness coupled with Tom’s taste buds:
1.  No more dining in Moroccan restaurants
2.  All dining is to be in French, Italian or other suitable international restaurants
3.  When dining in, Madame Zahra will make all meals without the traditional Moroccan spices which at this point, neither of us cares to eat.

Finally, we spotted the green sign at the top of this photo, assuring us at long last, that we were heading in the right direction.

Our lifelong taste preferences can be changed for a few days or even a few weeks. But, none of us, prefer to eat the strong flavors of another culture’s food for months. For example, I love Szechuan Chinese food. Could I eat it everyday for over two months? No. Could one eat foods with Italian spices everyday unless  you were Italian, used to eating those flavors at each meal? No.

Ingrained in all of us, are the tastes most familiar in our lives and from our upbringing. Deviating for a period of time is acceptable but, not so much for the long term.  When Madame Zahra made our meal on Thursday without spices other than salt and pepper, we both moaned in appreciation not only for her fine cooking but for the familiarity of the simple flavors.

With French spoken in Morocco by many of its citizens and the fair number of French restaurants, we’ll have no difficulty finding French restaurants. The bigger problem is, “finding” those in the souk, many of which appear to be tucked away.

The fresh organic produce offered for sale at Le Jardin.

Yesterday, we decided to do a “repeat” and go back to Le Jardin, a French restaurant offering a combination of Moroccan and French influenced options. Having dined there recently, greatly enjoying the food and the ambiance, we decided to return. 

The first time we’d dined at Le Jardin, we stumbled across it during one of our many walks through the maze-like souks. We thought searching and finding it on one of the many online map programs would make returning a breeze. We encountered a few problems. 

They didn’t appear in any of the map programs. The map on their website was confusing and when I tried to call them to email directions, there was no answer. When I tried sending an email to their posted address, it was returned. We were on our own.

Today, we’ll return to the same general area to dine at this French restaurant we stumbled across when looking for Le Jardin.

Tom has the best sense of direction of anyone I’ve ever known. When we left there weeks ago, he had no trouble finding our way back to our home. Time having passed with many outings in the souks, he wasn’t 100% certain as to the course to take.

Needless to say, we wandered around the souks for 45 minutes until we found Le Jardin. We’ve discovered it makes no sense to ask shop workers for directions.  Invariably, the salesperson drags us inside their shop or to another shop, hoping we’ll make purchases.  We’ve learned that we must figure it out on our own. I suppose the shop workers have grown tired of giving directions to confused tourists.

Yesterday, we had another excellent meal while enjoying the birds and turtles roaming freely in the courtyard.  Hence, a few of today’s photos.

Here is one of the two resident turtles at Le Jardin. The staff carefully maneuvers past them when serving guests. It was hard to believe how fast these turtles move. They moved so quickly that I had a hard time taking the photo.  he turtles are on a constant “crumb patrol” mission.

Today, we’ll venture out again to a French restaurant we found along the way yesterday. Again, the souk will be packed with tourists especially as Spring Break becomes relevant in many parts of the world. However, we’ve yet had to wait for a table at any dining establishment.

At Le Jardin we were given two larger maps that hopefully will assist us in the future. The hostess, speaking excellent English, explained that tourists have trouble finding their restaurant which is tucked away at an unexpected location.

Madame Zahra made us this Moroccan spice-free meal which wasn’t bland at all with her use of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. From left to right, starting at the bread for Tom; sautéed carrots,  chips (fries) for Tom, egg battered sautéed cauliflower (my favorite), sautéed fresh green beans and fried mashed potato puffs for Tom. In the center is the rooftop grilled chicken with both white and dark meat which works well for us; Tom likes the white meat while I prefer the dark. As always, there is more food than we can eat. But, homemade Moroccan cooking consists of many items. 

In two days, on Monday, we’ll go out on a day of sightseeing which we both anticipate with enthusiasm, ending the day at a new-to-us, upscale French restaurant. See… even sightseeing is laced with concerns about FOOD.