martes, 29 de marzo de 2011

Road Trippin, Morocco 18.03.2011

  •  Women extracting oil from argan, a crop native to southern Morocco that is a major source of fuel, timber, and oil for Berber people (the indigenous people of Northern Africa):
  •  One of the craziest things about this place is that you feel like you're in the desert then you look up and see snow-capped mountains in the distance:

Essaouira, Morocco 18.03.2011

  •  Essaouira is a hippy town on the beach.  Apparently, Jimi Hendrix used to come here for "inspiration."  A view from above:
  • And a view from within:
  • The foundation of Essaouira's economy is it's harbor:

  •  The boys chillin at the harbor:

Marrakech, Morocco 17.03.2011--20.03.2011

I find it ironic that the best weekend of my time overseas was in a Muslim country with no alcohol.  For an American in Spain, Morocco was unreal--It's no longer Western culture.  Stoplights occasionally seem optional and there's really no order to the way automobiles, horse-drawn carriages, bikers, and pedestrians function in the streets.  There is also no such thing as a fixed price for street vendors.  Bartering is the norm, which is nice if you have a way with words, but God forbid you make eye contact with a vendor and don't intend on buying anything because you won't have an easy time walking away.  And the Moroccan sun is a different animal.  I thought after one day in Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech's main square and market place, I had skin cancer.  The natives, though, have an unbelievable ability to withstand the heat--Pants and jackets are customary in 70°F weather.  I could have gone nuts with my camera, but I guess the locals don't like pictures being taken of them.  I'm not exactly sure why, but from what I could gather, they feel that tourists taking photos exploit them and their culture.

  • It's illegal to take pictures of Moroccan police officers:
  • From Djemaa el Fna:

  •  I rode this bad boy:
  • Raspberries:
  • Bahia Palace (a near-replica of Alhambra in Granada):

  • From the Majorelle Garden:

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2011

European PDA

Announcement: I will now begin releasing weekly editions of a new series entitled European PDA.  Lovin' is everywhere baby and I can't help but recognize what is so uniquely European.

  • Chico & Rita: A nice, G-rated family experience.  Coming to theatres near you soon.

Sitges, Cataluña, España 06.03.2011

  • Carnival is Europe's equivalent to Mardi Gras in the States, except it lasts for a week (and then culminates on Mardi Gras).  Most cities in Spain host their own Carnival festivities and Sitges' is recognized nationally as one of the best.

  • Everything is acceptable at Carnival.

Barcelona, España 04.03.2011--06.03.2011

  • Aerial view:

  • Barcelona's harbour:

  • Double-decker bars on the waterfront:

  • La Rambla: 1.2 kilometer (3/4 mile) pedestrian mall.

  • With street entertainment like this:

  • And a market:

  • Camp Nou: Barcelona 1 - Real Zaragoza 0.  Keita (43').

  • Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Familia: Gaudí started this project in 1883 at age 31, fully anticipating that it would take hundreds of years to finish.  As you can see, it's still under construction and should be complete by 2026.

miércoles, 2 de marzo de 2011

San Sebastian, País Vasco, España 26.02.2011--27.02.2011

  • I was on the fence about coming here until my señora told me that San Sebastian is the most beautiful city in all of Spain.  I think she's right...

Playa de la Concha

  • Michael Phelps.  I admire these Basque people, a civilization abundant with men who don speedos and brave the ocean water in 40 °F weather...

  • ...I was also told that Basque hombres are generally good singers.  This thought materialized when I stumbled upon a 20-member male choir drinking beer and singing hymns in the street in Old Town, San Sebastian.  The Basque people, their architecture, their language (Euskara) are unique to the rest of Spain and it´s no wonder they want independence.

  • You haven't visited San Sebastian until you've eaten pintxos (pinchos), the Basque equivalent to Spanish tapas.  They are absolutely divine.  Words do not do them justice.  Below: Red pepper stuffed with crab meat and topped with cheese.

  • The secret ingredient to San Sebastian pintxas is their seafood.  Enclosed by mountains, the city faces the Bay of Biscay, and naturally fishing is a large industry, which based on my encounters with food, heeds great results.  San Sebastian also has a nice aquarium.  There I learned that male seahorses give birth to their young.

Madrid, España 20.02.2011

  • Don't listen to Spaniards.  Madrid is cool.  Just because its infrastructure isn't 500 years old doesn't mean it's ugly.
  • Real Madrid FC 2 -- Levante UD 0.  Benzema (6'), Carvalho (41').  When questioned about his side's whopping zero shots-on-goal after the game, Levante manager Luis Garcia confessed that his team did not know there was a goal on the opposite end of the field.

Santiago Bernabéu

Toledo, España 19.02.2011

Sintra, Portgual 27.01.2011

  • Straight out of Walt Disney Productions.  If you like hallucinogenic drugs, Sintra is your paradise.