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!


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.

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