31 January 2008

Circus Interrogatorius: Travel

In keeping with my second New Year's resolution, which was to steal good ideas from other blogs and pretend they're mine own, I hope to make CI a regular feature (though perhaps not weekly as it's done here).

The premise is quite simple really. I ask five questions. All y'all write five answers. You can either answer in the comment section provided, or if you are blogerationnally-inclined, you could answer in your blog and just post your link in the comment section. Today's theme is travel.

Habeas deliciæ! (Have fun, in Latin)

1. Someone is going to drop you off at your local airport early tomorrow morning. You can take any flight leaving the airport for a free holiday. Where will you go? (Please consider: flights actually leaving your local airport tomorrow)

2. You have a holiday coming up and can visit one city on each continent. Which ones will you visit, and for how long?

3. If you had to live in a country (other than the one you think of as 'home') and had to stay in that country for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

4. Part 1: You have $100 and must travel somewhere for a month. Where will you go? (Please consider: cost of living, opportunities to work, people you could mooch off of, etc. –Ah ah ah! No borrowing money! The $100 doesn't have to pay for your travel to the place you want to go). Part 2: You have 100,000$, but only 24 hours. Where will you go to spend it? (No buying real estate, gold bricks, etc.)

5. What is a vacation; relaxation or adventure?

Bonus question: what's your favourite vacation memory from when you were a kid?

Animotion – Obsession

Freakin' A!

I love the 80s!!

25 January 2008

Fashion Week

It's Fashion Week again in Paris. "Week" is a bit of a misnomer because it actually spreads out over several weeks for men's collections, prêt-à-porter, haute-couture, etc. I've been keeping an eye out for my old friend Linda, but she's been pretty busy lately. We'll do lunch at Alain Ducasse next time she pops over.

Women's collections were all about vooooluuume. More pleats and flaps and bubbles than you could have ever imagined. A dress so big that you can only fit in the elevator by yourself – Yeah, that's what I'm talkin 'bout.

Men's collections were pretty conservative. –Maybe playing it safe in this uncertain economic climate? Let's see... We still can't live without hats. Dark grey is the new black. Ties remain skinny, jeans less so. Tendency towards flat-fronted trousers in general. Long hair is officially over. Shoes still pointy, but a softer, happier pointy. Prada collection absolutely unwearable!

You can check out all the collections here.


I love Australians!

Real Life Risky Business

...."if you ever need a party organised, get me to do it!" Hi-larious!

Best! Continent! Ever!

20 January 2008

The Time is Nigh for some Self Improvement

Another year under my belt. A little older, yes; but a little wiser?

My birthday being so close to New Year's, it's always been a good time to stop and look at the bigger picture. While I'm stopping and looking I figured it'd also be a good time to ask for some help in becoming a better person.

And what better path to personal growth than stealing ideas from other blogs? If you could take five minutes to leave an anonymous comment for me, I would be ever so terribly grateful.

Good thing, Bad thing

Knowing that you, my friends and family, all love and accept me 100% the way I am now, I'm asking you to leave a brief little comment with one good thing you really like about me and one bad thing you don't like. –"Don't like" is of course much too harsh, but "Good thing, Constructive criticism thing" isn't a very snappy name. No need to beat around the bush; my feelings won't be hurt.

I feel it's important see the difference in perception between how you see yourself and how others see you. The things I don't like about myself might be completely irrelevant to others. Other things I do like about myself might not even be on the radar. People may see merits where I saw faults. The point is I'll never know until I ask.

So fire away. Shoot from the hip. No holds barred. Etcetera and so forth.

Merci beaucoup!

18 January 2008

The Death and Life of Ice Cream


10 January 2008


(Some musical accompaniment for your reading enjoyment; both in traditional and classic formats. Fesbulous photo album here.)

Morocco was so much like a trip to another planet, I'm not even sure where to start. (But I'm told the beginning is a very good place).

Flying on the morning of New Year's Day is never going to be fun, thus no one wants to do it and you can get fly to exotic Morocco on the cheap, which is what Polish and I did. When flying out of Paris you have two choices for airports: the shambolic slag-heap of Charles de Gaulle (watch for falling roof pieces!) or charming and efficient Orly. The only not-so charming thing about Orly is the special €7 monorail train you have to take to get there from the nearby train station. Why so expensive Orly? What gives? The monorail turned out to be one of the most expensive things of what turned out to be an otherwise fesbulous intercontinental holiday. Who knew I'd be back in Darkest Africa so soon?

Landing at Fes' cute-as-a-button little airport was sheer golden-afternoon gorgeousness, all breezy olive groves and mountains in the distance. And after struggling with some immigration-disorganisation, I was quickly struck by just how different everything really was. First thing I saw outside the airport doors: an old Berber lady with face tattoos walking between the orange trees. "This places is gonna be something else" I thought. As our dilapidated taxi lurched along to the hotel, I thought about how airport taxi rides in Asia often leave you with the feeling "this place is the same, only different." Fes, on the other hand, was different, period. Straight away there were minarets and goats in trees, djebellas and shepherds with sheep. Gliding past the Art Deco villas of the French-built 'Ville Nouvelle' towards the medieval Bab Boujeloud gate to the Old City, I couldn't help but feeling I was travelling through time rather than space. Our hotel, former British consulate and one-time host to young Winston Churchill, further added to my temporal confusion.

What a city! We walk down the Petit Talâa and the Grand Talâa –the old city's main streets, barely two meters wide. There are no cars in the Medina. Instead there are donkeys. Delivery donkeys, garbage donkeys, donkeys to pick up your Coke bottles and donkeys to carry camel hides to the smelly tanneries on the other side of the city. Some of you might have even gotten a postcard that was carried out of the Medina on a donkey (and not many people can say that!). We see veiled women at fountains, pigeons waiting to eaten, animal carcasses on hooks, a store full of pickles; the air smells of spices and smoke and the sound of Moroccan horns and drums tumbles out a dark archway. People offer us rugs, tangerines, tajines, pots, pot, Arabic clocks that sound the call to prayer, pewter teapots, Berber jewellery, slippers in ever colour, and at least two donkeys push us out of the way. –We've been there twenty minutes.

Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. The old city is built in a basin, with a spider's web of lanes all sloping down to the Kairaouine Mosque at centre. It's one of the largest mosques in North Africa and, arguably, the most important university in the Islamic world. The city, its people and its 364 other mosques all spiral out from here. Yet strangely, this heart of Fes is almost completely hidden behind the urban fabric of buildings, houses and shops. The best non-Muslims can hope for is a glimpse through an open doorway between prayers. (Lots of stuff in Morocco is off-limits to us infidels). Despite the overt religiosity of the Fes, it didn't feel particularly conservative. There were lots of women out and about, as many without a headscarf as with. Full on veils were pretty rare - I only saw a few.

Something we did see a lot of, however, was buckets and buckets of icy rain our second, third and forth days there. We got wet looking for the best fes-hat shops. We got wet searching the souks for socks. We got wet getting lost. "Will it rain tomorrow?" I ask. –"Only Allah can say" the fes-hat man answers. Barring a direct line to the Big Guy, I remember a valuable travel lesson: it always pays to carry an umbrella (meaning, of course, that you can't leave it in your suitcase at the hotel). "Inshallah it will stop raining soon," but it never really did. We were often wet and cold, but it didn't stop us from rockin' the casbah (though the shareef don't like it).

Overall, I give Fes five muezzins out of five for its dirt-cheap plates and rugs, delicious couscous and pastilla, and general medieval Arab fezmazingness. If I had to do it again, I'd go outside of diluvian flood season, I'd go up to the Merenid tombs where you can get a panorama of the entire old city, and I'd spend more time just wandering the tangled maze of alleys getting lost (which is something that we definitely did not do at all; no taking a wrong turn and walking into the teen hustler section of Fes, no sirree, that did not happen at all). If you decide to go; read The Spider's House by Paul Bowles and watch the Morocco Ab Fab episode.

I'm calling it now: Fes is my new favourite place on the Dark Continent. And though I wasn't able to sell Polish in the market for 2000 dirhams, I have to thank him nonetheless. Shukran for laughing in the rain and for rockin' Moroccan!

Shukran Fes! Truly Fesbulous.

05 January 2008

Rock the Casbah!

Morocco was amazing! Fes is like a trip through a time warp. Photo album and blog post to follow, but in the mean time:

01 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Bonne Année !