Saturday, 29 September 2012

Pineapple Moments

Lets get straight to the point, sometimes Dad looks like a fool and acts like an idiot. I like to remind him of this often. In fact, it happens so often, I have come up with a code word to let him know that he is being or looking like a doofus. The code word is pineapple, why you ask? No reason whatsoever! We now refer to these times, as Pineapple moments. And here are a few:

- when he wears two pairs of glasses at the same time, his reading glasses on the tip of his nose and his sunglasses the top of his nose.

- when he drinks ice coffee without a straw and ends up with a milk moustache, and later, a light brown upper lip stain.

- when we are on the plane and he gets up and decides to do some stretches in the middle of the aisle

- when he eats and then fails to notice the multitude of crumbs and bits of food on various parts of his face.

- scratching his chin and pulling faces so that he looks like a monkey (unintentionally.)

- using the toothpick that's supposed to be for olives, as a play sword.

- walking around with his massive straw hat clipped onto his backpack and accidentally hitting poor unsuspecting people as he turns around.

He may be a perfect example of a doofus at times, but you just can't help but love him anyway.

Friday, 28 September 2012


I have had a bit of fun recently experimenting with Mum’s camera, taking photos of this and that, random everyday things. I was walking on the usual path to the main square this morning and I saw a few of the stray cats that I recognise everyday, I took out the camera and snapped a few shots, then thought, why not make a cat photos series. So I continued on, camera at the ready, my cat sensing skills and ninja reflexes (not) allowed me to snap away at the many stray inhabitants of Chefchaouen. Especially in the main square, the cats seem to gather, at least half a dozen of the same are there everyday, so there was no shortage of models.

I love how you can capture the ordinary things that cats do everyday and make them into interesting photos. One of the things that provoked me to do this is my love of animals, which also makes it hard, as there are many cats out there that are not in such a good condition. Especially the tiny kitten you will see in the second photo, must be barely even months old and sits always, curled in a ball on the same flight of steps, barley scraping the height of one step as it stands. Damaged and so ill at such a young age makes me sad, but then of course there are the seemingly healthy and happier cats, which you mostly find around the square.

One of my favourites is the little ginger kitten that is captured in one the photos; it was so inquisitive and playful, clawing at my trouser leg and sniffing at the camera. I enjoyed taking these photos a lot and Heidi, these are dedicated to you, and I was thinking about you and how much you would love watching these cats as much as I do. 

Alleys, doors and cats

We woke this morning to the sound of rain drumming on the roof and dripping from the terrace. We were supposed to head out of town with a guide to a waterfall nearby but the wet put an end to that. We debated about leaving for Fes today instead of tomorrow but decided it was too much hassle to change already made plans. So a slow and cruisey day it was.

Johanna downloaded the third book in a series onto the ipad and I raided the bookshelf of the riad. Colin sat in front of the computer. Later, as the rain eased and in between showers we headed back to the main square, Johanna taking photos of cats along the way (see her blog – Hmmm wasn’t expecting to have to share my camera!) We followed the crowd to a small market, the rain keeping many women from making the trek down the mountain to sell their produce. Also following behind the locals we stumbled across the meat market. There were some interesting carcasses and some unidentifiable animal body parts on display, it was red, bloody and a bit smelly. The fruit and vegies were a welcome relief and the bananas we purchased were delicious.

We know our way around the medina now and are familiar with some places and faces – the store holders never tire of trying to sell you something. We see some of the same recognisable locals going about their business. There is an old woman half Johanna’s height who hobbles around with a walking stick, a man who sits on the same step every day for most of the day and the blokes who sit around a board playing some kind of game. Three elderly gentleman sit on a seat outside the Kasbah most of the time (one of them is the guy reading the paper with his nose an inch from the page – photo in previous blog) We love watching the people, seeing kids go to school, muck about in the alleyways, women shopping and gossiping along the way. The men seem to congregate at cafĂ©’s and sit around drinking tea, I don’t know where the women are – home I guess. I would love to take photos of these people and their daily life but it feels rude to do so, a bit like the papparazi or a stalker. Occasionally I try to take a sneaky shot, but you can tell the locals don’t like having people photograph them, and fair enough too.

Alleys, doors and cats, the colour blue, these will be some of the photos we take from this place, but the daily life of its people will be the memories we take from Chefchaouen.

Johanna's photos in Chefchaouen

Thursday, 27 September 2012

the 3rd day

(the sounds of a distant wood whistle waft in the open window)
Last night we took ourselves to a roof top restaurant with amazing views over the town. We feasted on chicken tajine with prunes and almonds, berber tajine with deep flavours and couscous with meat and vegies. Yum yum.

The third day in a place is a significant one for a traveller. The first day is about getting bearings and exploring. The second day you do stuff … for travellers, that usually means visiting the popular sites, the ‘must dos’ of a town. Day 3 you feel more comfortable. You figure out the rhythms of the day, and the increasing familiarity of the streets and shops mean buying stuff from local stores (rather than tourist oriented shops) makes more sense. I guess it follows that the travel experience is significantly enhanced by getting to as many day 3s as possible.

So today we have had a slower day. First up we climbed a nearby hill, from where we could get a different view of this great mountain town.

Back in the main square we sat on the edge of the fountain and just watched life go by, people going about their daily business, kids walking home from school (around midday). We munched apples (from a little fruit shop near our riad), and flat bread which had just come out of the oven from a vendor near the square.

In our room with a view, I had a nana nap. Then Maria uploaded some photos while Johanna and I went to negotiate the purchase of a locally woven cloth that Johanna had taken a liking to yesterday. And now Johanna and Maria have gone for a wander, this time Johanna has the camera around her neck.

The call to prayer has just started again, and the dogs howl along.

(and by the way, Maria has taken some really good photos, I just wish we could post more of them ... a smattering again included here.)

la porte bleue

In our wanderings around the medina yesterday I was captivated by the amazing doors, below are some that caught my eye.