Tom is sick…No repellent anywhere…Two weeks and counting…A scary story from one year ago today…

 

As mentioned on prior posts, most of the vendors don’t allow photos of their wares. All the photos of products in the souks have been taken while on the move, rarely stopping and never being able to focus the camera, often shooting without looking into the lens. As a result, many of our photos taken in the souk are blurry.

Tom is rarely ill. Yesterday morning, he awoke with a horrible sore throat. Within hours he was coughing, feverish, and feeling miserable. 

Having already told Adil that we’d be dining out, we had no option but to do just that. The thought of the long walk to a restaurant was daunting when one is so ill. On top of that, stubborn man that he is, Tom insisted that we find insect repellent for me by checking out every pharmacy in the Medina.

A less crowded spot in a souk.

Although I kept telling him to forget about the repellent, he insisted we continue to walk in one direction and then off to another to each of the four pharmacies we’ve seen in the Medina. I wasn’t sick, but even I didn’t want to walk that far in the heat.

With the necessity of me staying covered wearing BugsAway clothing to avoid being bit by sand flies, it was scorching in the sun in the Big Square, wearing the jeans, long sleeve shirt and heavy socks.   

Tom, not feeling well, led the way as I followed behind. Usually, we hold hands as he drags me through the crowds. We agreed that hand holding made no sense with his illness.

His constant sniffing, coughing, and wheezing were not only hard to hear but also somewhat annoying. His determination to find repellent was equally annoying. What were sandfly bites compared to his current state of health? We were quite a pair.

This was one of those situations where a couple could easily become snappy and irritable. Somehow we made the hour-long search tolerable except for the hard reality…insect repellent doesn’t exist in Marrakech. 

It’s not unusual to see popular clothing styles in the souks when many items are imported.

Finally, we gave up looking and began the long walk back toward the restaurant. Oh, that we could find a place for carryout food to bring back in order to avoid his constant coughing, sneezing, sighing, and moaning in the restaurant. We picked a table in the darkened back room. I felt so badly for him, wishing there was something that I could do.

Returning to the riad after dinner after endless “barksters” trying to get us to buy something, we were more than relieved to be back. We hunkered down, watched a few shows, and for the first time since we left the US, we slept in separate bedrooms in an attempt to keep me from catching it. Oh, please. I’d better not catch this illness!

It’s odd to see these blue jeans in the souk. Many of the locals wear this style.

He slept in the yellow room in a twin bed, leaving the master bedroom which was already set up to reduce the infestation of the sand flies. Feeling hot from wearing Tom’s long sleeve shirt to bed, I didn’t sleep more than three or four hours. 

Also, easily able to hear him coughing and choking in the other room, I was frequently awakened by his sounds, all the while worrying about him. He doesn’t do “sick” very well, as is the case with most men (no gender discrimination intended).

The stands in the Big Square. On a relatively quiet mid-week late afternoon, the vendors waited for customers.

The rooster living next door didn’t start crowing quite as early this morning so I managed to sneak in extra 45 minutes of sleep until the pigeons began their usual wing-flapping into the open courtyard, cooing all the while.  Rooster crowing, wings flapping, cooing, rooster crowing, wings, flapping, call to prayer, rooster crowing…I lumbered out of bed more exhausted than when I went to bed last night. Tom was still sleeping.

Sadly, he’s feeling no better today but he’s not worse which is encouraging. Hopefully, in a few days, he’ll be on the mend.

These dried fruits and nuts create an eye-appealing display. Most of the nuts are unsalted. On the right is a tray of essential oils, quality undetermined.

Of course, we’ll dine in tonight continuing to do so until he returns to health. As for the repellent, forget about it! I’ll buy it when we get to Madeira where hopefully more products will be available. In the interim, the long sleeve bug repellent shirts, jeans, and socks with be my daily attire, heat, and all. Getting more bites on my hands is unavoidable. I have to live with this.

Two weeks from today, we’ll be leaving Morocco, ready to embrace our new home for the next two and a half months. OK. We’ll be ready.

______________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2013:

Not our photo. It was this type of knife that was slipped onto one of our plastic trays as they went through security in Barcelona. We were on a back-to-back cruise and had to get off the ship to later re-board. Of course, security pounced all over us, assuming it was our knife. Very scary situation. For details of Part 1 of the story, please click here.

 

 

 

The magic of the Medina and the Souk…Adjusting to a new environment isn’t always easy…Lots more photos..

This was the view as we dined in an outdoor café on Tuesday. 

It’s only through our 17 months of travel, 14 of which have been spent outside the US, that we’ve come to realize how convenient life was in the US. We had access to anything we wanted and could afford.

“Tuk-tuks” lined up to take customers to other locations in the Medina. So far, we’ve hoofed it.

The Internet on our phones and in our houses was something we rarely thought of unless something occasional went wrong. Cable and Satellite TV provided a massive amount of options, enhanced by services such as Netflix.

Carts with donkeys are often used to transport merchandise.

Yes, I know, two donkey photos. Maybe I need a little more time to adjust to the lack of animals in my environment.

Movie theatres were within 20 minutes for most of us. Restaurants serving food that we could and would eat were a hop, skip, and a jump away. If we needed a new pair of socks, a trip to Target was all that was required.

Check out the size of these strawberries!

If we were cold, we turned on the heat; hot, we turned on the whole house AC. If we decided to make a special recipe, a short trip to a grocery store was all that was required to find the necessary ingredients.

Tassels, a common decorative item in Morocco and colorful plates.

When we fell ill, a phone call and usually short drive to our family doctor was all that was required to get us pointed in the right direction. We drank water from the kitchen tap. And on and on.

Munchies for sale in street kiosks in the Medina.

Dried figs and dates are a common snack and are also used in cooking in Morocco.

More dried fruits and snacks.

Yes, we took all of this for granted but, why wouldn’t we? It was the normal course of life for many of us. Yes, there were many others less fortunate. Our hearts broke for them and some of us, we did what we could, however small. 

Beautiful handmade dresses are on display in the souk.

We were caught up in our comfortable little world of work, responsibility, love, family, and friends. We found comfort and familiarity in that life. And, for many of us, we found a level of happiness, at times intermittent, at other times, constant. 

Although these pots appear to be chocolate something, it’s actually “black soap.”

At different times in our lives, we were unhappy, unsure, grieving, in pain, and in sorrow. For most of us, in time, we’ve found a level of peace in a world we could live in and fit in.

Each night at dinner, Madame Zahra serves the main course in one of these clay pots which keeps the food warm.

For us, world travelers that we are, most of this has changed. Here in Morocco, we find some of our greatest adjustments: not being able to shop for and cook our own meals; having difficulty staying warm after nine months of hot weather; finding foods we like and can eat in local restaurants and, the language barrier with only a few locals speaking English. 

Cats are everywhere in Marrakesh, seemingly well fed and accepting of the crowds.

 

These kittens were playing in the street. 

None of this is a result of a problem with Morocco, our hosts, or our current home. All of this is “on us,” as we strive to adjust. We find this to be the case in varying degrees in every country in which we’ve lived for a month or more. 

Lamps and lanterns are a common theme throughout the souk.

We realize that many of our posts are filled with excitement and wonder over these very differences. Our eyes are wide open to the adjustments we must make in order to continue to revel in the differences, as opposed to complaining about the necessary adaptation required to fit in and to feel at ease.

Tom is usually smiling. Catching him without a smile is an oddity. He thought his hair looked like Squiggy from the TV show, Laverne and Shirley after the wind whipped his hair.

 

That’s my guy with the usual smile on his face as we waited for our meal at Yamy, an outdoor café in the big square.

It would be so easy to complain. We chose not to. Instead, we continually strive, each and every day, to find ways to enhance that which we may find difficult.  

It was hard to believe the reasonable prices at this casual café when MAD $40 is US $4.82. My seafood salad as shown below was only MAD $40!  It was delicious. Tom had an excellent burger and fries for MAD $32, US $3.85!  He eats the same of the foods that I can eat when dining in, with Madame Zahra cooking and, splurging when we dine out with no objection from me. 

Tom doesn’t care for spicy food. But, I do. When I cooked I’d use a gentle touch to ensure our mutual satisfaction. We adapted, meeting each other halfway. Moroccan food is very spicy, all of which I love. With nary a thought, Samir spoke to Madame Zahra to cut the spices in half for all of our meals. 

The orange in this salad is slightly cooked carrots which I can have. The remainder consisted of small bites of shrimp, squid, and chicken. I put plain mayo on the top as a bit of dressing. It was divine. I’ll want to have this in the future. But, first. we’ll try many of the other restaurants before doing repeats.

 

I was so wrapped up in my own plate of food, I forgot to take a photo of Tom’s food before he dug into it. He said it was great, the first American meal he’d had in a restaurant in a long time.

Last night’s dinner, after Madame Zahra graciously made this adjustment, was flawless. We couldn’t have enjoyed it more. We practically ate everything on all those little plates as shown in our photos with barely having room for the entrée. 

My vegetable first course, made by Madame Zahra last night. Peas contain starch so I only had a single taste. I never knew veggies could taste this good.

 

Tom’s first-course vegetable plate. It’s hard to believe that he’s eating all these veggies and actually enjoying them.

The more we adapt, the more we ultimately find joy in the experiences, which we take with us when we leave;  a new understanding, a new knowledge, and deeper confidence in our ability to grow and learn from our varied experiences.

My plate, with Chicken Tagine, cauliflower, and salad. Lately, we do “mono” eating, having one item at a time, which we find allows us to savor each item for its varied flavors.

No, it’s not as easy as it may often seem. Let’s face it, in South Africa, it was hot, humid and there were bugs and snakes. But, we found a tremendous diversion in the pleasure we gleaned from our amazing visitors and our equally amazing friends.

Our shared salad of which Tom only had a few bites. I had at least half, eaten after my entrée, a habit I have acquired since leaving the US. Eating the salad after the entrée, allows the entrée to be eaten while still hot and also aids in digestion (so they say).

Morocco will be no different. We’ll embrace our surroundings, the food, the unique flavor of the country and its people. And after a short time, we’ll once again, be home.

 

Writing our blog…What it takes…What it does for us…What our readers mean to us…The interesting and the mundane…

Lizard in the house.

Writing this blog began on March 15, 2012, almost 18 months ago.  You can read the first post by searching the archives on the right side of the page.  This requires about three clicks as you go further back to that date.

As we put “pen to paper” on that date, we had no idea that it would grow beyond the scope of our own sphere of influence; family, friends, and co-workers.  Little did we imagine that we’d have unique visitors worldwide, including such countries as Uzbekistan, Croatia, and Taiwan.

How did they find us?  Most likely it was the keywords we’ve used that you see at the bottom of each post that are the words users enter in search engines, such as Google, Bing, etc.  Suddenly our webpage appears.

For example:  If right now, you go to Google.com and search the word:  “Boveglio, retiree” you’ll find that our blog pops up as the first five entries.  (This changes by the minute, so if it’s not at the top, scroll down and you’ll find it). Type the word “waftage” and you’ll discover the same phenomenon. In essence, in many cases that is how worldwide readers find us or find any site they research.

Another way others find us, is by sending the link, by copying and pasting, www.worldwidewaftage.com to a few friends or to their entire contact list.  Their contact reads the blog once or not and if it appeals to their interests they either sign up to receive an automatic email each time we post (few people seem to do this in fear of being bombarded with other emails, which is not the case) or they bookmark our site and visit it each day or from time to time to read the latest posts at their leisure.

For some, reading the details of the lives of a retired couple that they don’t know, traveling the world for years, is of little interest. Many people don’t travel and have little interest in traveling. That was us only a few short years ago. My, how we’ve changed!

Some readers have asked us how we manage to sit down and write almost every day. Actually, when we have interesting experiences, the words flow easily. When it’s quiet and we’re feeling a need to stay put, it becomes more difficult, similar to the times when we lived in the US when life was fine but not necessarily interesting each day. 

Let’s face it, none of us are interesting all the time. We all have periods where life is comfortable but mundane; enjoyable for us, dull to others. That’s how life is, giving us each the opportunity to experience pleasure with more gusto and passion as the mundane subsides for a period of time.

During quiet times, as these have been by our choice lately, we’ve continued to share those mundane details that we all experience. Some readers, based on our appreciated and continually growing readership, enjoy small details. It reminds us of the small details we tend to share with those in our household:  we visited a store, we went for a walk, we read the mail, we stubbed our toe, all minuscule in the realm of things.

Here in Italy most days, as we sit on the veranda, I write while Tom does research in the background, to hopefully ensure any facts that we share are from reliable sources and as accurate as possible.  At times, we falter in this area. Let’s face it; if we find information online, it’s certainly no guarantee that it’s accurate, even if found at reliable sites. 

How long does it take to write?  Without photos, usually under two hours.  With 12 photos or more, over two hours since photos are time-consuming to insert into the blog.  At times, when we’ve had over 20 photos, we’ve posted over a few days as Part 1 and Part 2.

Do we enjoy posting or does it feel like a “job?” It’s always enjoyable. My fingers literally fly across the keyboard, often with one of those sh_ _ eating grins on my face, difficult to stop.

In reality, we have added advertisers to hopefully defray some of the costs of maintaining this site over the long haul. Clicking on any of our links if you so choose, rewards us in tiny increments, more like small change than in dollars.  The price a reader would pay for any products they purchase through our site is the same price they’d pay going directly to that site on their own.  Readers can still use any coupon codes they’ve otherwise discovered online.

Photos?  We realize that readers love seeing photos and we appreciate this as we observe that readership skyrockets when we do.  Unfortunately, in this remote location, high in the mountains, it is unsafe to walk on the narrow roads (let alone drive) leading in and out of Boveglio. 

Our only photo opportunities while staying put, are any scenes we find appealing in the confines of our immediate neighborhood, some of which we’ve posted more than once.  Normally, we only post newly taken photos rather than those from past posts, although the scenery may be familiar.

What does it mean to us?  There are several layers to this answer.  Knowing that our family members always know where we are and can Skype us at any time, gives us peace of mind.  Knowing that our friends, old and new, can see what we’re “up to” avoids the writing of endless descriptive email messages about our travels when all are described here in detail. 

However, we love hearing from family and friends.  For example, Bruce, a co-worker and friend of Tom’s whom he’s known for over 40 years, sent an email yesterday, suggesting they Skype last night.  Tom couldn’t have been more thrilled when last night, he and Bruce connected on Skype, chatting for some time.  With the time difference of 7 hours, he was calling around 1:00 pm his time in Minnesota, which was 8:00 pm our time in Italy.

Nothing in the world thrills us more than seeing our family and friends on  Skype.  But, if we can’t connect, they can easily find our most recent posts for an update.  For us, the greatest benefit of the Skype call is that we get an opportunity to hear how they are doing while seeing their faces as well.  What a treat!

To look at the stats each day to see how many readers worldwide are visiting our site each day, each month, and collectively is a reward that nothing can describe. Honestly, it adds so much to our experience that I can’t imagine traveling without it. 

Every few days, a reader will post a comment by clicking on the comment link at the bottom of each day’s post.  At times, it is a question. At other times, it’s a suggestion or an observation. At other times, a weirdo makes inappropriate comments. Luckily, we have control over posting comments or deleting them. We see no reason to subject our readers to inappropriate or malicious comments. All others we do post, responding to the posted comments within 24 hours.

For this, we thank each and every reader for taking the time to share this journey with us whether family, friends, acquaintances, the many readers, we’ve met aboard our eight cruises and the thousands of readers worldwide who have stumbled across our site. 

So bear with us folks, the mundane will only continue for a short period and then, in 11 days, we’ll begin the adventure of our lives as we head to Africa, where we’ll live for almost a year, for me, a dream come true. 

Tom’s also excited about Africa as long as I don’t let any warthogs into the house or any zebras visit to watch him take a shower or swim in the pool.  We shall see…

It’s 11:25 pm…At this moment we’re cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar…

Turning off all the lights in our cabin, we’re enthralled as our ship sails through the 13 miles wide channels of the Strait of Gibraltar with Casablanca, Morocco on the starboard side and the Rock of Gibraltar to the port side.

Bright lights are flickering on the African continent as our hearts beat wildly with excitement knowing that on March 1, 2014, a mere 10 months away we’ll be living in Morocco for almost three months after similar periods after living in Kenya and South Africa.

We wish we could take photos but the shore is too far away to get a decent shot at night.Tomorrow, we’ll write again with updates as we sail to Barcelona.

Hopefully, soon, we’ll temper our enthusiasm and get some sleep. In Belize right now, it would have been 3:15 pm. I can’t imagine falling asleep soon!

Sleep well, my friends! .