I Moved

21 Jul

Well actually, it was the blog that moved, and I didn’t have much to do with it other than to ask the man behind the curtain to change my blog to one that could be automatically backed up.  With all of my recent posts I started to think about what a bummer it would be to lose them.  The free version of WordPress doesn’t seem to have an automatic back-up feature, so my blog has moved to a paid site.  If you’re a subscriber, you’ll need to go to the new location and re-subscribe.  I published a post on the new site today, so go check it out!

http://lockmommy.com/

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

20 Jul

What are you going to miss most about Morocco?

Adlani: Swimming pools and camels.

Aliya: My family, and being treated like a princess and being served all of my meals without having to do anything or any chores.

Norah: The beautiful horses, the tiles on the walls and fountains, the henna, my family.

Lori: My wonderful sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, and extended family, the relaxation, the beautiful places to explore, the FOOD.

Ben: My family, the food, being close to my wife and my kids, the crazy traffic with donkeys, cars with 8 people in them, and Porsche Cayennes and Land Rovers on the same street.

What do you miss about home?

Adlani:  My friends Luke and Colin and Shane.

Aliya: Annie (our dog), Lisa (our cat), our house, my bedroom, my friends Hannah, Chloe, Victoria and all my other friends and our  neighbors.

Norah: Annie, Lisa, Nikki, Leah, Nancy, and Peter (our next-door neighbors), all my friends, and green beans.

Lori: Our friends, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, beer, wine, Starbucks, pizza, having a car and being able to drive or cross the street without staring death in the face, high speed internet.

Ben: High speed internet.  That’s it.

What is the worst thing about Morocco?

Adlani: Nobody takes care of the cats and they have to eat out of the garbage.

Aliya: The trash everywhere.

Norah: People smoke cigarettes, and it’s dangerous because people drive on the beach and camels run away.

Lori: The pollution, the lack of respect for the laws, the poverty.

Ben: The driving, the garbage and pollution, the fighting.

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I love coming to Morocco because of our amazing family here, because of the slower pace of life, and because there are so many old and interesting places to see.  I am happy to expose the kids to their culture, so it’s not completely lost in our fast-paced American lifestyle.  In Morocco I’m able to relax and slow my brain down…I feel less anxious (except when fights break out near me), I get upset/mad less often, and I don’t worry as much.  I’m not rushing here and there all the time.  I sleep a little more, I eat better food and less of it, I drink a lot of Fanta.  My sisters-in-law take great care of us and I only have to be responsible for the stuff that we brought with us and not a whole house full of clutter.  I am working part-time while I’m here, so although I’ve worked every single day, I’ve also found time to do fun things every day and get back into the habit of posting on this blog.  Now I have to figure out how to take this home.

There are definitely things I don’t like about Morocco.  Number 1 would have to be the pollution.  Certain areas of the country have become quite industrial, without the pollution control requirements that we have in the U.S.  Trash removal has been privatized, and whoever is responsible for emptying the dumpsters is doing a terrible job.  The plastic shopping bags and plastic water bottles are EVERYWHERE…even when you drive out in the country you see fields full of bags.  It’s incredibly sad.

The poverty is always apparent.  There are shanty towns next to upscale apartment buildings, lots of people begging for a few dirhams (especially effective when there’s a visible injury or disability), unemployment is high (9-10%) and urban underemployment even higher (approx. 30% of young urban males are underemployed).  Homelessness is a problem, and stray cats and dogs roam the streets.  You have to watch your bag/wallet at all times.  People are desperate. 

Driving is very dangerous…crossing the street even more-so.  I drove home from the beach tonight and didn’t kill anyone, but it was a little scary especially since I don’t drive a standard very often.  The use of rotaries instead of traffic lights add to the craziness, and cars definitely have the right-of-way over pedestrians.  The scooters are like hundreds of NYC bicycle messengers whizzing through traffic, sometimes driving the wrong way on the side of the road.

Health care and emergency services are not reliable and not readily available to many Moroccan people.  We don’t know how lucky we are to be able to call 911 and have police, fire, or EMS personnel at our doorstep within minutes.  We have access to medical facilities so far beyond what is available in Morocco.  Uncle Abdullah had a toothache today and just came back from the dentist with one less tooth.  I’m sure my dentist would have tried other options – I’ve had plenty of toothaches and never had a tooth pulled.

But the great experiences we’ve had in Morocco far outweigh the ugly, and we’ll come back again.  We’ll miss our family very much, and hope to see them in the U.S. soon. 

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

20 Jul

Here are some photos from our trip to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca:

That’s Aliya with Norah on her back in front of the doors.

I can’t even take a guess at how big this chandelier is.  15′ tall?

This zellig pattern is amazing.

This door is made up of tiny lites of glass.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the cleaning.

This looked extremely dangerous but there’s not a lot for the kids in Morocco to do and they spend a lot of time running around in the streets.

Palmeraie Village, Marrakech

20 Jul

Some photos of our hotel in Marrakech:

A La Piscine

20 Jul

Some photos from the pool at our hotel in Marrakech:

Il Florilegio Circus

19 Jul

I don’t have a lot of photos from the circus because there was a scary-looking circus employee going around warning people who took photos or videos, but here are a few, along with a Youtube video that gives a good overview.

Stoney Bread

19 Jul

Another follow-up to my previous wordy post…the delicious bread that was cooked in a wood-fired oven, which arrived at the tables with the stones from the oven still embedded in it.  Luckily I didn’t break a tooth.  Speaking of teeth, Norah lost a tooth in Morocco and the tooth fairy made a special trip to leave 50 dirhams under her pillow.

My brother-in-law Mustafa:

The stones:

The ladies baking outside behind the restaurant:

Bread in the oven:

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