Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Big drawing winner!!! Plus Goats in Trees? And some Cranes.

The winner of the give away is....

Jane R Congratulations!  Thank you to all that entered...

Some of the wild life in Morocco was exotic and some was more common. But even the common goats threw in a twist and made you laugh in amazement.

Argane Forest

Morocco has a tree that grows berries called argane. The people make oil out of it's berries. They use this oil for many things like cooking, cosmetics, and in their hair to make it soft and shiny.

I had to add the camel I just love to see them.

                           There is an argane forest where the Shepard’s graze their sheep and goats. 

The Argane Forest with  Grazing Sheep.

The funny thing is that the goats love the oily argane berries which are a little bigger than an olive so they climb the trees to eat them. 

Goats in Trees Morocco
I just wish I could have seen how they get down.

Goats in Trees Morocco

 W hen you see them up in the trees they look like they should be in an illustration for a child’s book.

Goats in Trees Morocco

Goats in Trees Morocco

 Another favorite nature experience of mine was seeing the White Stork. They were nesting on the walls of the Palais el-Badi built from 1578 to 1603. The palace now lies in ruins with the bright storks making a lively contrast.

Palais el-Badi  with a French Art Show being set up.

The White Stork is a long-distance migrant wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. 

Palais el-Badi's White Ciconia cinconia Storks

When migrating between Europe and Africa, they avoid crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detour via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west because the air thermals on which they depend do not form over water.
Palais el-Badi's White Ciconia cinconia Storks

A carnivore, the White Stork eats a wide range of animal prey, including insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and small birds. It takes most of its food from the ground, among low vegetation, and from shallow water. 

Palais el-Badi's White Ciconia cinconia Storks

                   Each year the female usually lays four eggs in one clutch that hatch in about 34 days.

Palais el-Badi's White Ciconia cinconia Storks


Friday, July 26, 2013

The Marrakesh Souks

When I was headed to Marrakesh everyone who had been there said you must see the souks. Hire a guide or  you’ll get lost in the souks and you’ll never get out. I thought what are these souks and are they scary? So I did some research and found that they are narrow streets covered with slated boards to keep the suns heat away which does make them seem more intimidating. 

So I took the time to really study the layout of these narrow street but if you are direction challenged or afraid of getting lost you may want to hire a guide. But note guides will take you to shops where they get commissions from the owners.

Rue Souk Smarine

 When I got to the souks in Marrakesh the narrow streets looked like long thin caves. They were still quite warm with sellers standing or sitting outside their booths calling to passer bys trying to get them to come in and see their wares. Each booth was divided from the next booth by thin walls covered in merchandise. Each street or area is known for a certain type of item like slippers, leather goods, dyed fabric, jewelry, lighting and much more. One of the things I found most fascinating is that booth after booth in say for example the slipper area had all the same slippers, no variety at all. Why would you buy in one booth over another? This was the same for each souk.

Souk des Babouches
Was it tradition that causes this lack of variety? Is it lack of women’s input? Are these proven best sellers? Who knows? But it helps you to bargain quite well, just start at a crazy low price because you can always try the next booth.
The Souk Haddadine

Souk des Bijoutiers

Rahba Kedima (apothecary stalls)

This is a recipe I was give by one of the stalls to help fight cancer
one kilo cactus organic honey
60 grams of wild jelly (from bees)
100 grams of pollen (from bees)
25 grams black seed Nigella
take tbs 2 times a day
take once in morning and once at night
Do not eat any animal products or milk.
Fish is OK.

Souk Loghzal

               This is my favorite souk of all because of it's beautiful colors and I love the dying process. 
                                                            Souk des Teinturiers
                                                    (the dyers souk)
These are the powders used in the dyeing process.
This is the wool before dyeing.

Here is the dye in the pot they were doing red when we stopped by. I showed interest and they gave us a full tour.  It was wonderful.

They took us to the roof and showed us where they dried the yarn.

More drying yarn.

Last chance to enter the give away.
Learn how to enter by clicking on the photo below.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Prayers Sung over Marrakesh

The prayers start over loud speakers placed all around the square and on distant towers. They are sung five times a day. The prayers are sung in a rhythmic way to the four directions of the compass. Because of the placement of the many towers the sounds reaches you at different times making it sound like a musical round being sung from the sky.

I made a video of the prayers being sung to share with you. We are sitting in a restaurant over looking the Place Jemaa el-Fna at night having tagine for dinner. In the video you’ll see white lights moving through the crowd, these are mopeds. The tiny blue lights flying up into the sky are little helicopter toys. The video is not very interesting to watch I made it for the sound so I added pictures of the people of Marrakesh for you to look at while you listen to their prayers.

Tagine recipe: 

The wonderful people of Marrakesh:

Sitting in a tiny shop.
Playing a game in the back streets.

In a small market on a side street.

In the square Rahba Kedima.

Working and selling.

Beautiful Faces

This man was so excited we were from the USA that he unzipped  his shirt and yelled Obama.

The young women mostly walked in three or more and  wore these long dresses
 over their clothes and scarfs on their heads.
It seemed before a certain age they could wear western street wear.

This is a fun way to get a soda.
They had different games like this in the square.  They were very popular.

Street work in the Medina.

I loved this group who worked at this fun pastry shop and were lots of fun. 

This sweet little girl wanted me to take her picture.  She kept smiling and waving at me.
Notice the beautiful glow of the sunset against the wall behind her. 

 The Five Prayers are:
Fajr (pre-dawn): This prayer starts off the day with the remembrance of God; it is performed before sunrise.
Dhuhr (noon): After the day's work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek His guidance.
'Asr (afternoon): In the late afternoon, people are usually busy wrapping up the day's work, getting kids home from school, etc. It is an important time to take a few minutes to remember God and the greater meaning of our lives.
Maghrib (sunset): Just after the sun goes down, Muslims remember God again as the day begins to come to a close.
'Isha (evening): Before retiring for the night, Muslims again take time to remember God's presence, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.
                                                            Learn how to enter the give away
                                                            by clicking on the photo below

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Traffic and the Streets of Marrakesh

When talking about Marrakesh you have to talk about the traffic inside the Medina. It is like nothing I've ever seen before. The streets are not even the width of one lane, a car cannot drive down these streets they are too narrow and full of everything from spices to clothing. The streets seem more like a grocery store aisles then what we would call streets.

Now try and picture people walking in both directions, pushing carts, riding bikes and mopeds. But that is still not all there is - also add to your mind's eye baby carriages not with babies in them but with bread and then picture donkeys pulling carts. It’s simply crazy and the best part is I never saw one person hit or anyone one get angry.

I only saw men running the shops in Morocco. Often they would sit outside their shops while waiting for customers.

 A couple of times I just stopped dead in my place because, I didn't know which direction to step to get out of the way of  an on coming moped. The people riding the mopeds would just smile and swerve around me. 

 My husband and I found a little cafe where we could sit and have tea and watch the street action. We went there several times.

While sitting in the cafe I thought no one will ever believe this and I could never do justice to the scene in a description. So I made this for you, grab a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy a few minutes on the streets of Marrakesh.


               One last thing, at night the streets had this beautiful yellow glow
                       making them look quite magical and medieval. 

                                                   Learn how to be apart of the giveaway
                                                           by clicking on the photo below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Palais Bahia, Marrakesh

Built in the late 19th century by Si Moussa, the intention behind its construction was to create the greatest palace of its time. It was decorated by the best artist from all over Morocco and took approximately 14 years to complete.

 Si Moussa was the son of the grand vizier of the sultan (Alawid ruler Muhammad IV) and built this palace for his personal use.

           The palace was named after one of Si Moussa's wives. The word Bahia means 'brilliance’.

    Many of the palaces I went to see had very similar adornments. The walls and pillars were inlaid with calligraphic carvings while the doors, and windows reflect a style very Moroccan, a kind of key hole shape.

I found in all the palaces that the ceilings were the most amazing part so if you end up in one of them look up.

The Palais Bahia
It is also believed that the palace was made by Si Moussa to keep his official concubines in. The rooms in the inner courtyards were meant to be occupied by them and the story goes that the size of the room indicated how much the concubine was in favor. 

                                                      Learn how to win these three necklaces,
                                                                click on the image below.

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