2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


My son and his Peripatetic mother


If you saw this mess, you would probably presume that my 32 year old son has moved back home.   Well, actually,  its quite the reverse….Me…his mother…who has been living the peripatetic life for the last few years ( this is another way of saying i’m currently a NOmad) is crashing in my son’s spare bedroom.  Sleeping on a foamie on the floor, and my life’s possessions spread around the room….

I’m living the lifestyle “homeless by choice” these days, and currently preparing to leave for warmer climates.  Is what I’m doing becoming the norm – our hardworking children staying home to work while their wandering parents travel and then spend from a few days to a few weeks with them each year while we regroup in our home countries.  I used to crash at my parents house inbetween jobs and trips in my earlier years…in the 60’s and 70’s….How times have changed…

Actually I’m enjoying this time together, as I haven’t been successful in persuading him to quit his job and join me on the road….yet….And I do cook for him….some  things never change.

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Should We Ask Before Taking a Photo?

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In many tourist areas such as Morocco, one sees alot of photos being taken of the locals.  Im sure I appear in many I don’t know about.

My friend Mayta, who works in the busy medina at Marrakech, made a good comment about this.  She said that we would not think of walking into a busy bank or store, in a place like New York city, for example, and start taking random photos of the employees at work; and yet, that is what’s happening in Marrakech, where the locals working there are constantly photographed…and in many other tourist areas as well.

Should we ask permission before we snap a photo?

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So I starting thinking….under what circumstances do I take my photos?

Usually I try to ask first…or at least gesture so that they understand.  If they say no, I respect this.

In some cases, one person says yes, and the other person turns their back;  or in a group of people, they cover their faces if they don’t want to be seen.

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Is it ethical to take a photo of someone sleeping?                Or of beautiful children…..even if you’ve given them something?


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I was taking a photo of the beautiful door and someone walked by.               Or I usually take photos from behind.


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Sometimes I will take a “selfie” just to capture the scene behind me.

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Here I took a ‘selfie’ to  capture the scene behind me …..and then the three men gestured for me to come and take their photo!


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I came across this beautiful man in the medina; he was dyeing wool in vats of bowling hot dye in the 100 degree weather of Marrakech.  I asked permission and he allowed me to take this photo….which I love.  I then showed him the photo of himself…something I usually do….and he brought me to his little shop across the way, to view a poster of him made a few years ago.  He then asked me to choose a colour of wool;  I chose berber blue which he cut a small piece of and wrapped around my wrist.  In return, I gave him a few mint candies that I had.   It was a beautiful exchange.

Morocco…or Maroc ….

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Morocco…land of tagines..couscous…camels in the desert…and so much more.   French, rather than English,  was the principal second language, after Arabic, and Berber….so my high school French improved considerable.

I  spent almost three months in this very fascinating country and loved it…..it offers a great diversity in landscapes…from the wonderful Atlantic coastline (I didnt get to the Mediterranean in the north)…to the high Atlas mountains leading to the beautiful sand dunes in the Sahara….plus the busy and very ancient medinas throughout…and especially famous for the Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes,  Fes and Marrakech.

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For first-timers to Morocco…a little explaining is necessary.   What is a medina = it is the older part of the city…mostly walled in from the new cities…it is where the life exists…the  different Souks or market places…where the main forms of transporting goods is donkeys or scooter type vehicles…due to the mostly narrow streets and laneways…morocco 002

Where modernity meets antiquity…Fes, with its thousands of satellite dishes on the rooftops is a fine example of this…

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How did I travel around  Morocco?

Well…there are many  mini tour buses for the  various tour groups…or  privately guided tours…

Morocco is a land  of  many old and new  Mercedes…

I mainly used trains, buses and taxis..

PETIT  taxis are for the cities…each city with a different colour… Red was the colour for Fes… they are a shared taxi…you just flag one down and mention where you are going…the driver will either say yes…and you jump in or they shake their heads No and keep going…. then you keep flagging them down until one is going in your direction.  Sometimes … if there are other people in the taxi, you are taken on a little out of the way ride, but usually not too much.  The minimum price was usually 7 dirhams (about $1 Cdn) plus the distance you’re going.  At night after a certain time, the price went up by 40%.   They are a very reasonably priced and quick way to get around.

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GRAND Taxis are used for longer distance routes outside of the cities and towns.  I used them as an alternative to Bus travel when there weren’t any buses leaving when I wanted; or when there wasn’t a bus route for where I was going.

Travelling in a Grand Taxi is quite the experience!  They put two passengers in the front, along with the driver, and four in the back;  so the desired place to be is by the window in the front seat.   Or…if you wish to have more space,  you can pay for more than one seat….or the whole car if you wish.

FOOD …the Moroccans are lovers of their daily bread…little round loaves served at every restaurant meal and bought fresh every evening.  india saui morocco 296

Tagines and Coucous are also high on their dietary choices….Coucous is cooked generally on Fridays……the day of rest for Muslims….Tagine…anytime….I learned to make Tagine when I rented an apartment for a few weeks…and learned how easy and delicious they are ….vegetable, fish, or meat choices…india saui morocco 297


Argon Oil …famous in the cosmetic world…and produced in Morocco…mostly by small women’s cooperatives.  I visited one of them, and was invited to join their group while they cracked open the nuts.

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AND …I learned how hard it is …. and how labour intensive it is to produce  this Oil.    These women sit all day long cracking open the hard shell of the Argon nut to retrieve the soft interior which is then pressed into the oil….This is after the even harder outer shell is removed, either by a machine, or eaten by goats who climb the Argon trees, eat the nuts and then expell them minus that outer covering.

My nuts kept flying everywhere….and I was only able to break open a tiny fraction of what the women accomplished….

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MUSIC  ….india saui morocco 305

…….music plays a big part in their culture, and especially in the touristic areas….Gnawa music is everywhere, although it relates more to the Berber culture from the desert…..I love the festivals that happen in May/June of every year…last year I attended MaWAzine Festival in Rabat ….. a ten day mostly free festival of music, ranging from big American acts like Rihannan to Moroccan/Algerian music, to African, to european based acts….There are 4 big stages with video screens throughout the city, to choose from….if you stand not too far back with the locals, everything is free ….            Fes hosts the Sacred Music Festival every June; and the port city of Essouria offers the Gnawa Festival right after.   Plus there are many local festivals year round through out the country….A big one is offered in the Valley of Roses, at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains every May.

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More Moroccan doors to open very shortly………………







Goodbye India….

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Well…I didn’t want to leave this time… but my visa was running out …..Canadians receive a 6 month tourist visa that starts the minute you get it…and are near impossible to extend, I’m told….

Before leaving, I booked a one week Ayurveda detox program called Paunchakarma at Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute in Lonavalya….two hours  south of Mumbai.  My week there included two treatments/day…usually something involving alot of oil on my hair and body like massages, oil drips on the forehead (Shirodhara) , etc; plus yoga twice/day, 3 simple and delicious meals/day; and interesting talks in the evenings.india saui morocco 004

I came by overnight train from Goa to Mumbai, switched trains and headed two hours to Lonavalya, riding in Second Class Non-AC;  all that travelling for the grand total of approximately five dollars!

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The following week I went to Pune, a sizeable city four hours south of Mumbai.  I had an appointment to see a dentist there; and had a couple of days before leaving India.  As it happened, I was invited to stay at the Urban Ashram in a busy neighbourhood of central Pune.  It is the spacious home of Sheetal and Khushmita; six years ago they opened their home for community gatherings with a spiritual focus.

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Friends from home, David and Kathryn, were staying with Sheetal and Khushmita, having met them on their last Indian trip; that is how I received the invite to be there. While there, a workshop to build a cob oven and wall in their back yard was going on; and india saui morocco 055before leaving, a local artist was hanging her beautiful artwork for a show starting in a few days; she called her show a contemporary view of the god Shiva.  Just to give an example of the many varied and interesting events hosted there.india saui morocco 130

Back to Mumbai to get my flight; and a quick visit with my friend Jo who I stayed with when I arrived; and then my last tuk tuk drive through the busy streets to the airport.india saui morocco 146


I had found a cheap flight to Morocco from Mumbai…$177. cdn…with Saudi Arabia airlines…and it included a india saui morocco 17212 hour wait at Jeddah airport…which passed quickly as it was my first time in that country and I did alot of people watching…a small price to pay for the very affordable ticket price.

Morocco is next…