Archive for November, 2010

Eid Mubarak!

November 21, 2010

I was met at Casablanca airport by Youssef, my former upstairs neighbor who was coincidentally visiting family in Morocco. He explained that the city was grinding to a halt getting ready for Eid al-Adha the following day.

Known as “the sheep Eid,” it is the bigger of the two islamic holidays. The holiday is marked by the male head of household slitting the throat of a sheep. It is intended to represent the sacrifice Abraham was asked to make, except the sheep is used instead of the eldest son (I’m guessing for population maintaining reasons). See the video attached, if you care to see it (warning – it’s pretty graphic).

The rest of the day pretty much resembled Thanksgiving, with lamb and conversation. All in all, being able to join in and experience the holiday was a really great experience.

The following day we drove the 2 hours to Marrakech to see the night market and the souq. The contrast from the day before was huge. Going from the countryside to the Plaza of the Apocalypse (seriously, that’s the name of the plaza) was like seeing two different worlds. Marrakech is a busy, chaotic hub for tourists and locals. The spice vendors, food vendors, drink vendors are all amazing to see, but bring your wad of cash because (by Moroccan standards – or any other standard) this place is not cheap. Check out the pictures below:

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Lisbon, Portugal

November 17, 2010

Okay, okay, I got this city completely wrong from reading the travel books. It looked interesting, but not as truly amazing as it actually is! The city is a great mixture of Moorish influenced architecture, restaurants literally 12 feet apart throughout the entire city, and a cool city vibe. Began the day near the Instituto Lisbon (cheap hotel and wasn’t extremely out of the way) and walked down to Rossio to check out the different Pra├žas. Wonderful people the entire mile and a half walk there. Everything seems to open up around noon and the first kebab stand I saw received my business. Hopped “Tram 28” (a local streetcar that happens to follow the route of every tourist attraction in Lisbon) and spent half a day soaking up the awesome views of hilly Lisbon. I’m really sorry that I did not have more time to explore everything that Lisbon has to offer. A couple of parting observations about Lisbon:

Portuguese is absolutely beautiful to listen to!
There is an awesome amount of graffiti in Lisbon. Most is garbage, but some is incredible!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves when it comes to the sites…

Spain/Portugal/Morocco

November 7, 2010

6 days until takeoff. I’m getting excited!