Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Colorful Mexico

On our perfect days in Mexico, there were perfect colors. Perfect mango and salmon hues.

Tasty yellows and reds.

Brilliant blues of sea and sky.

And a mixture of all those primary colors.

Not to forget the greens.

Or the simple crisp whites.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Frida Here, Frida There and then some more to buy

She gazes at you from high above. Sometimes from down below.  From a wooden box. From a matchbox. From a mirror.  From a frame.  Frida is everywhere in Tulum and you can't help but feel a certain affection, bordering on pity,  for this poor woman whose face graces so many commercial items here in Mexico. 

Frida suffers from commercial exploitation.   But there are other faces which keep her company.  Aside from Frida, there are the revolutionaries, of course. 

And then the ubiquitous masks and skulls.

All faces of Mexico in some form or another. 

Mexico and the tale of the Sticky Sand

We're covered with sand.  It is everywhere.  In our hair.  In between our toes.  On the floors of the cabana.  On our t-shirts.  In our bags.  Places it is not supposed to be but now is.  I imagine we will be finding it in our stuff for weeks to come.  It is really wonderful.  It makes you realize that what is important in life is not checking e-mail, worrying about deadlines or being late, but simply rolling in the waves and getting your body and hair covered in more sand.  Oh, and applying more sunscreen frequently.

My little one is sleeping so I'm only going to write a bit and upload and a few photos of this gorgeous place and then it's back to the sandy, sticky, wonderfully white beach. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughts on Travel

The United people really don't get it.  But the Qantas and Air New Zealand folks.  Now, those are nice airport lounges.  Full on buffet. Hot food.  Quality marble sinks in an Asian-feeling bathroom.  Friendly staff who don't make you feel like they've been working too long.  Plenty of room to spread out.

And plenty of magazines, including one where I  found this quote about travel.  "Just do.  Don't stop until you die."  As I say goodbye to Darling Harbor, it's very appropos.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Second College Life

Did you ever wonder what university you would attend if you got the chance to do it all over again? If you could go back 20 years (and a few) and choose another location, another setting, another campus, another set of professors, where would it be?

I must say Sydney University was looking mighty appealing today. I gave a presentation hosted by the World Bank.  The setting was the Law Faculty on this beautiful, sunny campus. I looked out from the windows of the modern faculty building over a swimming pool to the skyline of Sydney and paused.  What if....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Australian Day Off

Australian wines.  Oh, I knew there was a reason I had taken a liking to them recently, not the least of which is that I now work for an Australian-based company.   But those that are enjoyed on a beautiful, sunny Saturday in the hills 1 hour drive away from Adelaide are particularly flavorful.

We wandered off into the hills of McClaren Vale today in search of them. I had some wonderful guides to show the way.  Felicity, Sam, Emil and Kerrie Anne -- who took me to their favorite little wineries for some tasting.

The day ended with fish and chips on the water at Port Elliott and then fireworks back in Adelaide.

It was simply a perfect Saturday in Australia.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some Tiny Moroccan Faces

They crowded around the camera as they always do.  Giggling.  Curious.   The boys pushed in front.  As they always do.   But I coached the little girls to come forward.  I didn't have to ask them to smile.  The little girl in the orange outfit caught my eye. 

They come from the slums just on the other side of the road.  No running water.  No electricity.  But this little school gives them the chance to learn.  And a U.S. Department of Labor-funded program run here helps to avoid the tragedy of "child labor."  That means avoiding having childen as young as 7 and 8 working as maids, as garage attendants and on the streets hawking items.

They deserve more.  Don't you agree?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Lovely Village of Ouidaias

Perched above Rabat, overlooking the river, is the beautiful village of Ouidaias.  A series of white washed houses reminded me of Greece.  It's narrow cobblestone streets reminded me of Dubrovnik.  But then we settled at the cafe, bathed in the mid-afternoon amber light, and I knew over another cup of mint tea that I was definitely in Morocco.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Et Les Cadeaux Pour Moi

A brightly colored jar in a beautiful shade of jars with silver tops...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Les Cadeaux

There were slippers.  Lots of them.  Some with tassles.  Some in leather. Some with cute little pom poms. In every shape and color and size.  Oh, so many to choose from.  And jewelry, oh the jewelry.  The Berber designs were awe inspiring as were the bangles I found in Marrakech.

There were little glass bottles with silver tops and tassles.  There were lanterns in every shape and size.  There were lights and torches hanging from ceilings which seemed to go up forever.  There were teapots and trays and boxes for tea leaves and mint.   And adorable little silverware with colorful handles.

Oh, and the rugs.  Hanging here.  Hanging there.  Bright oranges and reds. Muted blues and peaches. And pillows and poufs.  Some of them with beautiful sewing adorning the covers like this.

I shopped here and there.  A souk in Marrakech.  A souk in Casablanca. A quick tour through the medina in Rabat.  My colleague led me to her favorite shops, with backrooms and bargains to be had given her Arabic speaking skills.  Here is just a sneak preview of the riches I found in beautiful Morocco.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Strong Moroccan Women I've Met During My Travels

There were the numerous colorfully clad women in the Marrakesh souk selling wares of every kind and shape...
Like the woman who told me I was a "tough bargainer." She sold me a tiny stuffed horse and camel for Stefan....
Like the 14-year-old girl living in a slum community just outside of Rabat.  She is struggling to stay in school and not be forced into "child labor."
There were so many others I met along the way.  I will tell you more about them later.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Jewel in the Marrakech Medina

We ambled down through the narrow streets of the medina in Marrakech.  The taxi driver that brought me from the train station "said" he knew where the Riad Alma, my guesthouse, was located amongst the narrow streets bustling with people, mini bikes and bicycles.  He lied.  We stopped several people and asked.  Finally, we found the narrow Rue Kbala.  A young Moroccan boy suddenly appeared and showed me the way.  A left turn here.  A right turn there.  I would forget the way a few times the next 48 hours. 

It was worth the wait.  Take a look and tell me what you think of Riad Alma.  Thank you Pierre (the owner).  It was simply lovely.