» nature

As I Was Going to Cornwall…

As I was going to Cornwall
I found a hedgerow, dense and tall

After the hike a windy theatre
With cliffside seats and comedy feature

Then on to biomes full of plants,
An indoor rainforest, birds and ants… Read More

Peeking at Peaks in Py

The next stop on our European odyssey was Py, a tiny village in the Pyrenees. First, though, we had to get to France! After saying goodbye to our hosts in Girona, we hopped on the bus to Perpignan, on the French side of the mountains. The driver chatted away to me as he hauled our bags into the belly of the bus. When I explained that I grew up in the US but currently live in Morocco, he immediately shifted to darija and spent the remainder of the trip trying out various Moroccan Arabic phrases on me and watching my reaction, despite my protestations that I only spoke “shwiya, shwiya!” (A little!) So that was entertaining for one of us.… Read More

Journey to Girona

After over a month of traveling in Spain, France, and England, I am shamefully behind in blogging my adventures, of which I have had many. Couchsurfing through Spain and France, I made new friends along the way and had some great experiences. I left Tangier by plane on June 23, with my faithful (and unbelievably patient) sidekick travel partner, Erin. Just after touching down in Girona, we were whisked away by our hosts, Miguel and Cristina, to a party in honor of St John’s Eve.

I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Catalonia. Men fed the bonfire while their wives chattered away happily with us.… Read More

Morocco, Weeks Fifteen and Sixteen

On Saturday afternoon I was off to Spain. You might remember from my last post that Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival which includes sheep sacrifice, was coming up. Well, rather than listen to thousands of dismayed sheep bleating across the city (and smelling them roasting later on) I opted to travel to northern Spain. My goal, San Sebastián, (Donostia in Basque) was only two flights and a three-hour bus ride away.

On the first flight I sat next to a young man who had never flown before. Through him, I remembered the wonder of seeing the tops of clouds for the first time. It was great seeing the look in his eyes in the moment when the plane lifted off the runway.… Read More

Morocco, Week Fourteen

Week fourteen began with Austrians and ended with Germans. I had two delightful Austrian house guests, Sabine and Hans-Peter, who kept me entertained on Monday and Tuesday. Both of them had quit their jobs, bought motorcycles, and embarked on an around-the-world journey. (They took crash courses in motorcycle repair before leaving.)

Next up: traveling down the western coast of Africa. Their trip ends, I suppose, when they get tired of traveling and move on to the next thing in their lives. We ate delectable Moroccan food, played with Loki, and had a long, fascinating conversation about the attitude toward the film The Sound of Music in Austria and why most Austrians have never seen it.… Read More

Morocco, Week Five

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here over a month already. Sometimes I feel like I just arrived, and other times I feel as if I’ve been here for years. A strange feeling, like making a new friend who becomes close so quickly that you forget there was ever a time when you didn’t know each other.

My workweek was action-packed, and by “action-packed” I mean “hours in front of the computer preparing a pretty exciting edtech project”. More on that soon. I mostly remembered to eat food: I made harira again, ate liver by accident for the second time, and probably devoured my weight in homemade Moroccan treats.… Read More

San Francisco 2011, Day Eight

We woke up at the crack o’ dawn on Sunday to drive down to Muir Woods as soon as the park opened, and before all the tourists arrived. Choosing the path less taken every time, we found ourselves on a beautiful two-hour hike through the woods, culminating in a spectacular view across the park. Mist was still blowing through the trees, so the landscape changed every couple of minutes.

Spotted some cute banana slugs, a gaggle of chipmunks, and a couple of hawks. I also made friends with a lizard and he allowed me to get within a few inches for some excellent reptile portraits. He was missing half his tail, so perhaps his amiable demeanor didn’t work with hungry foxes and birds.… Read More

San Francisco 2011, Day Five

Day five, like day three, was full of nature and wildlife. The California Academy of Sciences took up most of the day, until we were kicked out at closing and hopped on a bus across town for some yummy Thai food. Then on to 13 Assassins at the historic one-screen Bridge Theater, a fun samurai flick by prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike.

As someone who can easily spend two or three hours in even the tiniest reptile exhibit, I was delighted to discover that the museum had a special “Summer of Reptiles” exhibit going on. Among many things, I got to see large and small monitor lizards, boas, camera-shy geckos, an agitated rattlesnake, and an extremely bored Burmese python. It pretty much spent its day watching small children on the other side of the glass and pondering which it would devour first, if given the chance. … Read More

San Francisco 2011, Day Three

Day three was jam-packed with beautiful things: a languid morning at the Conservatory of Flowers, took in some art at the De Young museum, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in front of a beautiful fountain, visited the rose garden, listened to a Mary Poppins-esque one-man band, and ended the day with a fabulous meal at (in my opinion) the best Indian restaurant in San Francisco.… Read More

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