Wild Wild West

Prickly Pear

I’m in the wild southwest and I’m doing okay. We’re in Santa Fe tonight and its the first I’ve had wi-fi in a while!

We started this trip last Saturday… from Temecula we made it to Flagstaff, where we enjoyed the fresh mountain air. After Flagstaff we went on up to the four corners, which wasn’t in itself very exciting but I was pleased because growing up in Colorado, I always wanted to go and never got the chance. That afternoon we explored Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and saw the famous cliff dwellings. They truly were amazing!

I wanted to move right in!
I wanted to move right in!

We stayed at a Super 8 in Cortez, CO and from what I saw of the town I was glad I didn’t live there. After that we spent a few days in Colorado Springs doing relatively little. It was nice to stay put after a few days on the road. Tomorrow night the fam is stopping at Phoenix and Saturday we’re rafting down a lazy river–apparently it will be several hours! Sounds relaxing but I’m going to try my best not to get sunburned. I haven’t gotten one yet this season and I don’t want to start now!

Several days in Colorado Springs were great; we saw some old friends and drove around the area where we used to live. Our old house was painted a strange mauve color (used to be white/beige) and the parents were in an uproar. Colorado is really beautiful; my friend and I got caught in a thunderstorm (okay, we were at Starbucks) yesterday evening which only lasted about half an hour… Colorado weather is amazing.

Its interesting what parts of the city I remember from ten years ago and what is new to the city, and new to me.

As alway, check the flickr for the most recent photos!


Day Trips are Still Trips

Yesterday I went to the LA area with my sister and visited a bunch of old friends. It occurred to me that this is the kind of thing I do frequently, yet there are people out there who only dream of visiting “glamorous” LA or Beverly Hills. Sure, parts of it are glamorous, even for a So Cal native like myself, but parts are pretty average, or even run-down. Its not all like you see in the movies! Also, it takes forever to get from place to place. Lots of driving! Not like Europe at all–America is so spread-out!

I did not take this photo.
I did not take this photo.

I love visiting other parts of America and seeing the subtle differences from state to state. For example, I always forget (until I visit) how important and influential the Jewish community is to Beverly Hills. I mean, even the sushi and gelato places we visited had rabbinical (I am pretty sure that’s the right word) certifications!

Speaking of seeing the good old US of A, the family and I are headed to Colorado tomorrow for about a week! We are going to see the Four Corners this weekend and probably spend a few nights in Arizona. I’m excited about returning to the wild west stompin’ grounds of my youth! Time to pack my birkenstocks and granola bars! No, but really, I will be bringing three or four books, my trusty camera (finally emptied of my Morocco pictures and ready to be refilled with gorgeous scenery) and lots of sunscreen!

4th of July

How does one celebrate the 4th of July in Morocco? Well, if we had planned better, there was a party at the embassy we could have gone to, but we didn’t RSVP with our passport information in time so that was out. It probably would have just been a bunch of 30-something year olds with their kids; I don’t really know how many Americans my age would have turned out. Later, I heard reports that there was Dr. Pepper there, which really would have made going worth it. C’est la vie.

How did I celebrate? I slept in until 11, had traditional Moroccan food for lunch, but for dessert we had watermelon! I always associate watermelon with the 4th in my mind as a result of church BBQs and seed spitting contests. Here in Morocco it’s a pretty standard follow-up to any meal, but the fact that it coincided with it being Independence Day was kind of cool.

I found this picture on Google.
I found this picture on Google.

Later I went to the beach with the family (5 hours) and made a playlist of songs on my iPod that reminded me of America (titles containing “America,” titles containing city names, songs I know were written about a certain city or region, etc etc). Really getting into this fourth of July thing, right?

After the beach we went over to the [extended] family’s house in Temara, a beach town south of Rabat. None of us (American students) are exactly sure who actually lives in this house, because at any given moment there are at least 20 people around, including craaazy kids who never seem to run out of energy. It really is an exciting place, and its quite a change from the small apartments (okay, my family’s apartment is actually quite big) that we are used to. Anyway Madiha’s [Madiha is my Residential Coordinator] sister and I taught the kids to play “duck duck goose” and well, we played for a good hour. It was funny hearing how they pronounced “duck” because the “uh” sound isn’t really used in Arabic so they didn’t know how to say it. The word kept coming out like “daak.”

After that, more traditional Moroccan food (fish that had literally just been stuck over a fire and roasted that way) and more watermelon! As much as I wanted to organize a seed spitting contest I refrained. I did help myself to three big pieces, though, as I thought of the good ole USA.

Fun Fact: Morocco was the first state to officially recognize the USA’s independence from Britain. Moroccans are very proud of this fact and will remind you at any given opportunity.