Monthly Archives: July 2012

Go. See. Chefchaouen, Morocco

How we ended up hitting Chefchaouen with The Dart, I have no idea.  I must have seen a picture of the surreal blue medina and said, well hell, we’re going to be just across the strait in Spain, why not go rock the Casba while we’re in the neighborhood?  Just as with Cambodia, the little side trips are totally irresistible to me.

I wasn’t expecting burkas but neither was I expecting a very professional set of women in Port Authority gear meeting the huge ferry as it docked at Tanger Med.  This is why it’s good to Go – the idiotic myths are quickly laid to waste.  I’ll leave it to you to read more about Morocco on wikipedia…I’m here to excite the part of your brain that feeds on pretty pictures of exotic lands.

the mystical blue of Chaouen’s medina

Our favorite part of this side trip was when the taxi driver that brought us from Tanger Med to Chaouen found us walking through town and told us in broken english to Get In.  We looked at each other, shugged and Got In.  He silently drove us through the winding streets for about 10 minutes and then said ‘Souk!’  With a smile and a handshake and a firm refusal of any money he delivered us to a spectacular local market where we were the only non-Moroccans.  The smells of freshly ground spices in massive canvas sacks, cooking meats, olive brine…the venders hawking their goods in loud and good-natured Arabic…the brilliant colors of Moroccan fabrics and rugs and fresh vegetables and fruits all around us – it was a very vibrant moment that I return to quite often in my mind when I need to Escape.

olives at the souk

holy crap – that is a LOT of eggs

We rocked the Casba, wandered the serpentine footpaths through the old medina, wished like all get-out that the jalaba was the official outerwear of SW Colorado and bought a rug.  Chaouen is a treat for the senses, friendly, vibrant and leaving us wanting way more time in Morocco.

what neighborhood couldn’t use a little Moroccan artistry?

the colorful rug markets

the jalaba is the offical rad outfit of Chefchaouen. who WOULDN’T want to rock one of these?

the Casba

the Rif mountains and Chefchouen medina

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Categories: Go.See. - International Travel Pictures, Photos To Share | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Go.See. – Cambodia

While we are mired in house-hunting and other distressingly unfun non-backpacking adventures, I’ll try to assuage my itchy feet by sharing pictures of places we have been that we highly recommend as places to Go See.  Life is short – go see the world whenever the possibility presents itself.

First up in this series is Cambodia.  While planning a trip to Thailand in 2010 a National Geographic showed up on our doorstep with Angkor on the front cover.  We were hooked and ultimately booked our tickets to include a few bonus days in Cambodia.  It was an awesome spur-of-the-moment decision.

Cambodia has had a truly shitty couple of centuries.  When other countries weren’t trying to take them down, their own leaders were.  Now in a period of relative stability, tourism, in all of its double-edged swordedness, is helping to bring it back to life.

wine and cheese at the world’s largest religious site – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

There is an endearing quality about Cambodia – you find yourself wanting to protect her.  The temples of Angkor, Bayon, Banteay Srai and Ta Prohm should be on everyone’s bucket list.  When London had 12,000 people living in it back in the 12th century, Angkor had 1,000,000.  Fascinating.  We have pages of write-up about that trip on travelblog but this is the 21st-century attention span version.

Ta Prohm

The temples that are left behind from that time period are as lovely and fascinating as the people of today’s Cambodia.  It’s a friendly country on the rebound from years of abuse and one I would return to in a heartbeat.  The gritty resourcefulness of developing world countries is something that everyone should witness; there are images and lessons that stay with you forever, some of them hard to see, some of them joyful reminders that the human spirit cannot be crushed.  Get to Cambodia if you get the chance, especially if you find yourself in Thailand anyway.  There is a direct flight out of Bangkok to Siem Reap that gives you little excuse to not make it happen.

it’s hard not to love charismatic Bayon

12th century Ta Prohm

making palm sugar

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The Best of Us

I watch Maisy march to the back acre, shovel in hand and marvel at the child.  My kids are no strangers to death, as it manifests itself too often in the animals that we call family.  We have been lucky with the humans in our lives, having lost very few people that are close (knocking on wood) but with pets we’ve had a string of sad luck.

Last night one of Maisy’s Christmas kittens, Gus, died as she and Todd and, intermittently, his sister cat, sat with him.  It was gut-wrenching, having watched what was a vibrant terror of a kitten (who, along with his sister, textured my leather couch in claw marks…*sigh*) wither before our eyes in the course of a week.  FIP is an incurable virus that takes one cat in 100.

Gus and Star

Before Gus there were a passel of chickens and three dogs: Hank, Abby and Rex.  We’re not sure how Hank died; we think he died of being an over-curious  heeler and got into something he shouldn’t have.  Because we were on vacation it’s hard to know.  Hank had a highly effective defense mechanism – we got him when he was 2 and have no idea what went on before he came to live with us but any time you got the tiniest bit grumpy with him, he’d lay on his back and pee straight at you.  VERY effective in adjusting our behavior, I’ll tell you.

Rex and Hank the Cowdog

Abby, another overly curious Heeler mix found some coyote poison while we were hiking in Utah.  It was wretched, watching her die a painful death, and just when we’d gotten her out of the naughty puppy stage.  She was a great little girl.

Abby the Great

And Rex, That Dog that holds your heart forever, The dog.

BEST.DOG.EVER.

Ranchers and rancher kids have a different view of life and death amongst animals than city kids.  While certain animals bring the same sadness in both, I believe that rancher kids have a very fundamental understanding of the circle of life, early in life.  We fall somewhere in the middle and I’m proud of Maisy for having what seems to be a healthy dose of big-hearted love and practical understanding of it all.

Our animals somehow help make us more human, both the good human and the bad human that we all are.  The bottomless forgiveness they offer up, the pure joy they have in seeing the same people that are too quick to neglect them after the tail-pulling human children come along.  They are the best of us, the patient, silent, watchful creatures that keep us grounded and remind us what it is to be Good.

Categories: Other Drivel, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Farting Only, Please

I would like to sincerely thank the Forest Service employee that snickered as they submitted this sign for approval, just to see if it would get through the ranks.  It did.  And I love it.

Perfection in Signage

Categories: Photos To Share | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Oh Say Can You See?

I believe with all my heart that America remains ‘the great idea’ that inspires the world. It is a privilege to be born here. It is an honor to become a citizen here. It is a gift to raise your family here, to vote here, and to live here.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

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