September 28, 2012

Struggle for the good.

Many wise men believe that struggle is good for you. Maybe they are just telling us this to try and make some light of a horrible situation, but you just have to look at the Dalai Lama und you will believe it works. At least in theory. Maybe you actually have to be a bit holy to start with.  

Bikram, though nobody but himself would count him into the same category of wisdom as the Dalai Lama, believes it too. Not involving hunger, oppression, and forced migration in the struggle, hi just happens in the quaint, contained environment of a yoga mat. Which, if you do yoga, you will know, can be the most liberating of all places, but also the most scary. Quite often changing on a daily basis. He doesn't mind that inconsistency and he doesn't mind the scariness. It all comes with the struggle and struggle is good. Usually during locust he will actually animate his students to struggle harder like struggling is your new best friend. If you get uncomfortable in any posture really, well, just struggle some more and believe in the old-fashioned slogan of what doesn't kill us, makes us harder.

Another yogi friend of mine puts it a little less harsh and simply says that you gotta put in effort till it becomes effortless. On the mat or off I think that applies to almost anything in life. Some things ain’t easy and we need to work hard to get through. Which we usually try to avoid, because we like the way of least resistance. I think struggling has become a lost art in our world of 90 day marriages, 2 minute noodles, and a whole lot of general quick fixes. Maybe we should reconsider and try to relearn this art and actually bite our teeth into something else than a fast-food burger.
Instead of letting it all go and having it easy, maybe we should struggle a bit harder? After all the Dalai Lama is quite awesome, so wouldn't it be neat to be a bit more like him? Or at least manage a perfect locust one day?

In case you do wonder what brought on all these questions and less than happy thoughts… it wasn’t my perfect locust posture. I have just struggled a lot lately with life and on the mat and am trying to make sense of it. My yoga practise always seems a nice metaphor for what is going on in my life. Yesterday again I had such an intense class, my blood felt it was boiling and I could hardly lie still for a breath or two and I really, really struggled. Thinking about it and how it made me feel, I realized that it might not be a bad thing. That in fact a bit of struggling might just be exactly what I need to bring out some good – on my mat and off.

September 27, 2012

Not funny.

So apparently I'm funny. A lot of people tell me after reading my blog. I guess I'm not as funny live. Not sure what this says about me, but I tend to be a glass is half full kinda person so I just take it as a compliment. There is also the usual amount of suspects that pretend to be amazed to find out that I am German. What? A funny German? Never heard of that! It's like an English man with good teeth. (In all fairness I personally know plenty of funny Germans and no English man with good teeth, but I would hate to feed the stereotype.)

These days I am not feeling very funny though. I don't want to constantly mope, but life is just feeling niggly at the moment. Though post-Morocco depression is slowly vanishing, it seems to just have made space for dull, everyday normality. Summer still far away, money from the travel agent of doom still not transferred, and my date request still unfulfilled, except for my aunt mentioning a nice guy Dude, who I will only be able to meet next year and whose real name she can’t remember. Hey Dude, want to go for a drink? Bleh. Can you tell I am having a hard time spicing things up? So I do what any sensible person would do, I drink more, but besides that this statement makes me sound like a true alcoholic, I feel dreadful the next morning with my bikini figure slipping further into the bottle.

The one and only thing that really helps right now is again yoga. Unfortunately not in the comforting, peaceful way, but in the let me kick your ass really hard way. Everything feels more intense than usual in my practice and I often get a simple feeling of well, if I survive this, I can survive anything. Yesterday when I had this thought I almost started to cry. Then we went into camel and it kicked my ass right out of it. Try it – next time you feel like crying for no stupid reason or other – do a camel. The crying I postponed instead for when I was in bed. No idea where it came from, but it actually wasn’t so bad. This morning when I found the tissues and remembered, I couldn’t actually remember what initiated the little outbreak. Oh, well. Sometimes you need to cry and sometimes you need to be kicked in the ass by a camel and if you really lucky the sun might just shine when you wake up.

September 25, 2012

Golden and grey.

In case you wonder what I did this weekend… on Friday afternoon I went to Wine at the Mill to buy something nice to drink away the sorrows I have due to the travel agent of doom. That worked so nicely that instead of just buying one bottle, the owners and I drank one right there at the shop and I walked out with another four. What can you do?
That night I went to Toffie’s pop-up dim-sum dinner with a room clad in gold and more gold a.k.a. Chenin Blanc in our glasses. And of course no one wanted to go home and be sensible after this so we went to a house party. House party as it was hosted in a new bar called Peter’s House. Tada!
Saturday I woke up with a big fat hangover, a class to teach, and no wallet. I did not feel golden anymore and looked a bit grey too. Not an ideal combination, but somehow I managed to survive class and my wallet managed to survive a night on the backseat of Claire’s car in Obz. To show my joy of reunion I took the wallet to the market where I bought - well, everything that my hangover stomach demanded: crepe with ham and cheese, sushi, and for some reason or other cake pops. All of which was quite delicious and got me safely fuelled to Betty’s Bay. There I spent the next 48 hours hibernating with my aunt and uncle in great stormy weather. It was impossible to do anything useful but lie on the couch in front of the fire, entertained by movies, the Kindle, and little naps. I didn’t write except for a few tweets which all included the joys of chilled bubbly and were probably quite repetitive. I didn’t even feel bad about it. I just enjoyed the calm and ease, which was only disturbed once by the excitement brought on by double yoked poached eggs for breakfast.



















Much more exciting than silly, old green eggs I think!

Last night I went to the meat-eating side of the family and was fed an entire, yummy animal of some sorts. This in combination with the left over relaxation from the weekend has calmed me down so much that I didn’t even yell too much at the travel agent when I finally got a hold of her this morning. We shall see how long it lasts… In the meanwhile I will use the good vibes and finally spend some time on the mat and hopefully type some clever thoughts as well.

September 20, 2012

Chicken McNuggets.

Morocco is many wonderful things, but it didn’t seem very animal friendly to me. I’m not a vegetarian so I didn’t mind that the only meat free food option was overcooked vegetable couscous. I did however mind seeing little monkeys on a leash, horses in front of carriages baking in the sun as well as chameleons and tortoises in cages at the beauty stalls in the souks. I didn’t dare to ask what they were used for, but imagined their ultimate purpose to be horrible concoctions of ground chameleon powder and made by order tortoise combs. I thought it saver to refuse to buy anything at any place with still-alive animals. In case you wonder why I didn’t feel sorry for the snakes and I guess to be PC I should – I don’t like snakes and don’t care for them at all. Sorry.
Then there were all the little donkeys, carrying heavy loads and sometimes us lazy tourists, goats tied into a tree for a picture-taking-money-making-scheme, and the scrawniest little kittens, which I wanted to take home with me. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. The scrawnier and smaller the better as the more I would be able to fit in my luggage. And so everybody back home could get cute little kittens as presents and not rely on my non-shopping abilities at the souks. In the end they were all too cute and I decided to rather take none than leave any kitten behind.
And if all of this wasn’t disturbing enough, we then found these little chicks in Fez:







Since posting this on Facebook they have created a storm amongst my friends and to my astonishment conquered many hearts. The general mood goes from WTF? to How do they do that? and then to I want one!. Well, at least my friend Alex expressed these three stages in one comment. Yesterday Julia and I were simultaneously browsing through my Morocco and skyping.

Julia: Ooooooooh. What is that? 

Me: What is what?

Julia: The little coloured things?

Me: Oh, they are chicks.

Julia: Ooooooh, how cute!!! But why are they coloured?

Me: So kids will buy them. For 1 dirham. They are like live Tamagochi. Isn’t that horrible?  

Julia: Nooooo, they are sooooooooooooo cute. You should have totally gotten one!

Me: But it’s horrible! I almost called PETA. They even put them in little plastic bags with only tiny holes when you buy one. 

Julia: Jaaa, but not for long, only till you get home. You should have gotten a pink one!

Me: And then what? Hide it in my shirt and take it on the plane?

Julia: Yes, totally!

Considering that I wanted to take a gazillion scrawny, little kittens home hidden in my luggage and my cousin once carried her rat in her jacket pocket from Cape Town to Germany this request is actually not as outrageous as it may seem.

Me: Taking a pooping, little chick and put it in my shirt for a 30 hours plane ride? Are you serious?

Julia: Yes. (Pause) Okay. 30 hours might be a bit long, it’s so little.

Me: Yes. So that’s why I didn’t take one. Plus it’s still horrible.

(Pause)

Julia: I wonder what it will be when it grows up.

Me: A chicken?

Julia: Will it still be pink?

And that leaves us with the question if also a chick needs to get its roots done every four weeks.

September 19, 2012

A date request.

I am aware that this might make me sound a bit desperate, but still, I will just put it out there: I need a date. Vacation time is over, summer isn’t here yet, I need something fun to cheer myself up. No worries, guys, I don’t want to marry you or make you the father of my future children or otherwise entrap you in any way. I just want a date. I want someone to take me for a nice dinner, a little stroll through the park, and maybe some light yet steamy midnight snogging. No further obligations, you can just call me the next day and tell me you are leaving town to join the Peace Corps. I will believe you and you don’t ever have to see me again. Unless of course you are stupid like the guy who told me he was moving to Houston and still managed to run into me in NYC two months later. Then rather tell me you are not over your ex yet. That excuse works like a charm and I’m well used to it, in fact I can take it without any tears. 
 
What kind of guys need apply? 
  • Due to recent circumstances I have lowered my age range (Cousin, do you read this?!). So with just 25 years of age, you are good to go.
  • Mind you, please have some sort of a job so you can pick up the bill. Don’t tell me after dinner that you really would like to, but unfortunately can’t pay for me because your parents’ cheque hasn’t cleared yet (yes, that has happened more than I would like to admit). Also asking me for petrol money to get home is a deal breaker. 
  • It would be nice if you were taller than me so I can wear heels without making you feel, well, small.
  • Don’t mention of God or Jesus over dinner. Or after. Especially not when we get to the snogging part. 
  • Photographers and general creative, I dig you! But I can also tell the good from the bad and the ugly. If you are a photographer, you should be able to take pictures that will remind me of the days when I had a crush on Nathaniel Goldberg or even better remind me of my brother. Which is not that weird as it sounds. He is just very brilliant and may have spoilt my aesthetics for life.
  • Don’t wear white shoes. I hope I don’t need to elaborate this one further. 
  • Be a bit daring. You could even suggest going to the movies. Though you will know that I generally hate going to the movies and so your only option is to lure me to the Labia via strawberry gin slushies.  
  • Which brings me to: Do not not drink. We simply won’t get along. I have tried the AA/teetotaller route many times, it just doesn’t work for me.
  • Last but not least: please have a sense of humour. If you are reading this and don’t get offended by me writing a list (and don’t be fooled, all girls have a list, I just happened to put it online), if you might even crack a smile here and there, yes, that would be a good start.
Thank you for your consideration; you know where to find me.
 
 
Any

September 18, 2012

The real life cleanse.

Just like a Bikram teacher can’t be faulted for saying “lock your knee” way too often, an Intrepid group leader can’t be for overusing the phrase “real life experience”. I learned that half way into my trip and was actually quite relived when I did, because before I thought it was a personal catch phrase of Issam. 

You ask what a real life experience is. I will say it’s something you’d call mundane or normal when in your natural habitat. The things you do any day, every day in your life and you probably mope about and even call them boring sometimes. These real life things usually only morph into real life experiences when undergone by someone who is foreign to your world. Then they move from things to experiences and may just become utterly exotic and exciting. Obviously it works both ways so once you leave your real life behind and travel, you also might find the extraordinary in the everyday. Thus not a bad motto when you are a tour operator.
Our real life experiences came in form of camel burger lunches, the best olive oil sampled Fatima’s mud house, freshly gutted calamari goo from my arm directly onto my plate, and our visit to the hammam. To clarify: a Moroccan hammam is not a spa, but more a very public form of bucket shower and your knickers might come off. We were warned though I still think that Issam left out quite a few important factors one should know before entering. Lucky for you, you have Lucy, Peta, and me as gunny pigs and who live to tell the tale.
We went in fully equipped and had paid for a the ultimate hammam experience: a luffa, black olive soap, and a lady to scrub us. In the changing room we took off everything except the knickers (we all agreed we weren’t going to give them up that easily) and then looked around a bit puzzled. A lovely and very naked lady asked us whether we spoke French. The fact that my French was probably the best of the group made me answer that yes, indeed I spoke a little. I promise right here that I shall never show off my non-existent French again! Translating how much you have to pay for a nos nos or a Solero is not the same as being explained the intricacies of the hammam. All I understood was l’eau, which was sort of a given considering we were here to get clean.
Still pouring French on us, the lady ushered us into the first room and gave us each a bucket and a cup. Easy enough, we filled the buckets and were shown to a corner in the completely tiled room. She quickly cleaned it by pouring our buckets out and we obviously were to sit down on this now clean-ish floor. There we sat - an Australian, an English, and a German girl; knees pulled and hugged to our chests with eyes wide open, trying not to watch two women next to us too closely:



From left to right:

Bucket with water.

Scrubber with luffa and knickers, but otherwise naked. I would know as she was scrubbing me later while I held her boob (I didn’t volunteer for that, but it only seemed polite as she was after all doing all the work!).

Scrubbee with no knickers. Arm over her head and leg too. Not sure how it got there though mine did as well when it was my turn. 

We averted our eyes from the scenario in front of us when we were gestured to start putting soap on and then pour the refilled water buckets over ourselves. Said – in French-, understood, and done. Though still no lady for us in sight, so Lucy started the procedure on her own. A little while later the scrubber (see picture above) was done with the scrubbee (though she continued on her own and let me tell you, it looked like it hurt!) and told me to come with her.
I should add here that before we went, I have had this vision of women working in a hammam. In my vision these women all had a uni-brow, a big mole, and always looked really grim. I’m not sure where this idea even came from, but I was very relieved that the real hammam lady didn’t look anything like it. In fact she looked quite friendly and that she had to squash me onto the marble floor was not so very torturous as it sounds and was after all part of the process.
Unfortunately Peta didn’t get so lucky. In fact her scrubber looked very much like how I envisioned them to look like. To complete the stern hammam lady look she wore a little turban with her knickers & nothing else. That she never smiled was probably due to her lack of front teeth.
It might have been unfortunate that the very same woman then went to collect Lucy as she came back empty handed. Did my friend not want to have her massage I was asked. Well, apparently not, because Lucy snuck out five minutes later and we didn’t blame her.
So then it was just Peta and I left to be scrubbed. And scrubbed we were. We were also rolled from our backs to our sides, arm up, arm down, and repeated with each leg. My knickers were definitely coming off, though my lady was nice enough to pull them back up on a regular basis. Luffas, even when wet, are rougher than you think and these ladies didn’t stop just because they encountered your throat or a nipple. We were pushed onto our stomachs, almost kissing the floor, and I felt like a dirty slave girl the one minute, like Cleopatra being pampered for Marc Anthony the next. Finally my expensive, tiny travel shampoo was discovered and poured all over us for a final wash down and a little stretch.
Then we were done. And clean. Probably cleaner than I have ever been in my life.
We left with our head spinning and slightly shaky legs to be greeted by the dusty afternoon and big grins from the rest of the group outside. Lucy had already spilled the beans. What happens in the hammam definitely doesn’t stay there and luckily so as reminiscing about it makes me laugh every morning in the shower where I give myself a mini hammam. Without the knickers.

September 17, 2012

No shop stop in Marrakech.

In case you wondered why I didn’t get proper presents, but only personalized pictures from Morocco…

I like shopping as much as the next girl. Unlike most however it’s not a happy event for me, I don’t use it for boyfriend punishment, and I don’t need girlfriends’ advice for it. Or anyone’s advice in fact, least of all from a sales person. Growing up in Germany, when at least back in the day there was no such thing as commission, a young girl learned quickly that sales people are not your friends. They are rather gods and goddesses, towering over their counters, hording the sizes a mere mortal could actually fit in to, and woe to whom who would actually dare to approach them with a timid Excuse me please…. Excused one never was. Scorned, looked up and down, and in best case simply ignored. Their behaviour taught me early to make it on my own in the shopping world.
Can you imagine my horror fresh off the boat and into a New York shop only to be greeted by a lot of very shiny smiles? Too sweet voices asking me how I was and how they could possibly, please, desperately help me with something. Some even dared to touch my arm in order to steer me towards a shelf or, if I was already holding a garment, towards the cash register. It took me a while to understand that most sales people in the States make a large portion of their income through commissions, but even once I knew that, it didn’t help. Worst of all was Victoria’s Secret. I actually wondered if they had their employees attend seminars how to fake smile, shrill the voice, and become an extra scary person adorned with a pink bow?
The combination of both worlds, being ignored and being jumped by sales people, has left me with a guerrilla shopping approach of I shop fast, I shop alone, I shop in silence. This has served me well so far. A few extreme situations have called for more desperate measures and I took the honest approach of explaining to the especially annoying salesmen that they would make more money of me by just leaving me alone. That works like a charm every time and I don’t really care whether they consider me a bitch or not, at least they make money and I don’t have to leave the shop empty handed.

Unfortunately all strategies failed me in Marrakech. That might explain why I didn’t have to pay overweight charges on my luggage, which could be considered a good thing.
Issam, our group leader had already advised us to do our shopping in Essouira as it would be much more relaxed and literally a lot cooler. I didn’t want to listen. I never do. After a morning spent wandering the streets and shops, I hadn’t nearly crossed half off my list, but my enthusiasm was spent and I took a nap instead. Yes, you read correctly: I was on holiday, it was broad daylight, there was stuff left to buy in the shops, and there I went to bed instead. Mind you the riad we stayed in was particularly beautiful, so I guess one could book the nap as sociological enterprise and not a waste of precious holiday time. And after all I had an extra day for all last minute presents, including those for myself, in Marrakech.

A rookie error.

I immediately knew once we arrived I only sort of liked Marrakech. Djemaa el Fna, the main square, was loud, busy, and had people coming at you with monkeys, snakes, horse carriages, and scooters from all directions (It’s apparently one of the busiest squares in the world according to Wikipedia, so it wasn’t just me, being too touchy-feely with my assessment.) Our real life experience dinner at the food stalls was nonetheless even to my liking and with the prospect of midnight ice cream I also didn’t mind a little detour through the souks on our way home. That was till we actually got there. I am a bit at a loss how to describe how horrible it was. Maybe try to understand how much Victoria’s Secret scares me and then imagine the souks of Marrakech as a Victoria’s Secret on Red Bull. Red Bull with acid. Red Bull with acid and techno music playing (fyi: I hate techno!). Once you have this mental image, you will understand how daunting the prospect was to me to finish my holiday shopping there. I should have taken a page from Jen’s playbook. Over ice cream later her face was just glowing, conjuring dreams of Sex and The City II with the prospect of having an entire day and a half to frolic through the shops. I don’t think I have ever seen a person that excited. I certainly couldn’t share the sentiment, but after her lost luggage debacle she really deserved a money-spending-frenzy-treat.
The next day was spent with sightseeing and chilling by the pool, but by the time Sunday came around I had run out of options. I gathered all optimism I could find, my walking shoes, and a shopping list. I shouldn’t have. I should have joined Andrew at the Sky Bar with some topless-by-default French girls and a six-pack of overpriced beer. Or taken another nap in my Barbie room. Or have a snake charmer charm me. Anything else really. 

Bonjour.
Hello, Miss.
Please come inside!
Want to buy some shoes?
Here look!
Salaam.
Come, come!
Look, lady!
Bonjour.
Hello, Miss.
Please come inside!
Beautiful carpets.
Want to buy a bag?
Here look!
Salaam.
Come, come! 
Look, lady!
Bonjour.
Hello, Miss.
Come inside!
Want to buy some jewellery?
Here look!
Salaam.
Come, come!
Look, lady! 
Smile, Miss, you must smile! - He got lucky not to get smacked in the face by me to wipe his smile off. 

You ask the valid question how I could manage not to buy anything at all amongst 5000 stalls? I’m still not sure how that was possible. My money simply refused to leave my wallet, my feet refused to enter any shop, and explaining to them that they needed to rather leave me alone in order to make a sale, was just not in our common vocabulary.
I had lasted only two hours before I emerged empty handed and exhausted in a part of town I had never been. Lost is a place too and I was happy to be alive for the time being, but I also felt defeated. I had shopped for a living for years and now I couldn’t even get a few measly souvenirs? It was then I decided to recall my inner troops and went back to the hotel for a strengthening nap and a reenergizing shower. I would regroup at dawn.
Refreshed and refocused I put on my sternest look, grabbed my much reduced shopping list, and went off to conquer the souks again. This time I would take no prisoners. Within my allocated time I managed to get two jars of kohl and little silver boxes to keep it in, haggled the price of a couple of antique pillow cases down to a third, and finally gave up on the idea of finding any type of appropriate gift for 10 year old boy as souks don’t sell Pokemon & Co. I was content and for everything else there was duty free. So I dragged my parcels up onto the roof of CafĂ© de France just in time for sunset. From here I could finally see what Jen saw – the beauty of the souks, so lovely and so enticing when far, far away…

P.S. And this is why you didn’t get a present from Morocco. Maybe next time, I promise I will practise on Greenmarket Square!

 

 

September 13, 2012

From Morocco with meatballs.

Before you start reading and get disappointed: no, there is no recipe for meatballs in this post. Go google! Just a little visual reminder of the dish I could have (or maybe did) eat every day:



I know I have been lazy, but I promise I will tell you stories of Morocco. Ever since coming back however I seem to lack energy. I blame it on my now again almost sugarless diet. It makes me grumpy and sleepy. But that shouldn’t concern you and you deserve stories. I did think about how and if one can squeeze two weeks full of magic, excitement, and enough mint tea for a year into a blog post. Or two. Or three. Or how many would it take? And in what order?
Chronologically? Makes sense. Then I would have to start with Casablanca though and as my travel companion Peter spelled it out nicely– Casablanca is a dive. We all got ripped off in the taxis and the only beautiful thing there to see is Mosque Hassan II, which closed due to Ramadan. I however almost managed to still get ripped off there as well (which I only realized later after borrowing someone’s French number chart and could figure out how much they wanted from me). Then a stranger asked me whether I was American and my immediate response was: Why? Am I fat? (Forgive me my wonderful, slim American friends! I don’t even know where that came from…I think it was my guilty conscious because of the sugar loaded mint tea.) My taxi driver later just stared at me when I told him I was from South Africa and declared: But you are not black! I refused to reply to that or tip him. Good about was the ice cream that night, though topped immediately by the one in Essaouira and Marrakech. So no, Casablanca was no good and chronologically is out.
Mosque Hassan II - Casablanca's one and only gem.






































Maybe order of importance? I wouldn’t even now where to start, except to put Casablanca last on the list. It was definitely a highlight when the carpet shop owner told me I was beautiful and his assistant offered me 600 camels, which with a value of 10-30k/camel would make me quite bling in camel terms. Since nothing came of it though as I gracefully accepted the compliment, but declined the assistants offer, so it won’t make for a fulfilled story with happy end.
I also thought to just bail and not right anything with the excuse of the trip motto what happens in Morocco stays in Morocco. Then I thought everybody's dirty mind would just go crazy and in the end sharing is caring.
Lucky for you, I decided to just do what I do best and tell you random stuff about the trip. Stuff that I liked, loved, or had always dreamed of. Experiences I will remember for years to come and the little things that made this trip one of the bestest* in my life. So stay tuned for tales of the scary lady in the hammam, my no-shop stop in Marrakesh, scary cats in the desert, and how we had drinks with an STD…

*I am still aware that this is not a word. It should be though. I love it and it looks right to me. Sometimes there are situations when best just doesn’t cut it. Spell police, if you were there, you would understand.

September 11, 2012

Holier than most.

Today I wore my new Djellaba while spring cleaning my closet. Why? I like to say you can take the girl out of the desert, but you can't take the desert out of the girl. But maybe that is pretentious. I think I just wore it because it is comfy, I don't have to pull my stomach in (which is still in much need of pulling in after my share of the average annual 16kg/person of Moroccan sugar consumption), and it makes me feel happily nostalgic.
I also got nostalgic when I started to sort through my tank tops. Or vests as the South African would say. Or wife beater as I once called one in unfortunate incident with a black sales woman in New York. Whatever. For me they are my life and holy as well as holey.

I blame my old boss GC for the obsession and so does my credit card. He impregnated on us – his devoted ants squad – that only a holey tank top was a worthy tank top and the holier, the worthier it became. The same went for stains as they may have met Mick Jagger over a late night spilled whiskey, or tears which screamed of adventure while trekking through deserts and crossing oceans, and in general any demise fabric could show that looked the excitement of sex, drugs & rock'n roll. We rummaged through flea markets in the country, secondhand shops downtown, fancy vintage stores uptown, and sometimes even our own little NYC closets, realizing we might be sitting on stinky, ripped goldmines ourselves. You would be surprised what some people pay for dirty, old scraps of fabric.
Eventually designers caught on and our job became somewhat easier. Everybody was doing fancy jeans and unfancy tanks and tees. Sweat and blood came out of a bottle and a machine cut the holes to match. Not to make it too easy for us, these pieces was never good enough for GC. They needed to be real. Authentic. I hate the word. It made me spent hours scrubbing and rubbing, dusting and staining. We had an entire special stain kit with different shades of mud, dust, and street gravel. I remember a few jobs sitting on the pavement rubbing jeans on concrete as this gets the most authentic results of wear and tear. Just to be clear – I was wearing the jeans while doing this! The other trick was washing. Over and over and then once more. One time as it was late and I wanted to speed up the process I added bleach to it. I went to set the next morning shamefaced and with a load full of sample jeans looking like the Milka cow. Talk about starting new trends.
But however much work and money it took to either find the holy jersey grail or to make it thus, I have loved clothes looking old, worn, and full of stories ever since. My most favorite pieces are my most torn. Little surprise there that once again I didn't throw out any today except for a new t-shirt I bought last year at H&M. It's still all shiny and new and I don't like it because of it.
I think most people will think me a slop; I think I like holes, stains, and their sentiment. So when I come to your next dinner party in a top with holes, don't just judge; I'm sharing my love and appreciation for you by wearing it as my plus one.

September 7, 2012

Gifts a la Marocain.

Everybody is doing Friday giveaways so I thought I should too. Sometimes I find myself taking a picture for someone or with someone in mind. It might be something this person would like, something that makes me think of them or something they always wanted to see. I do this more or less consciously and unfortunately I rarely pass the pictures on to the people I took them for.

So today is my giveaway Friday and I’m sharing pictures I took for people on my trip.*

For all my friends and family in Bad Honnef our caravan to remember Die Karavane zieht weiter…, which I was quietly whistling to myself while riding my camel into the sunset.








For Gladys a cat butt for her cat butt fridge magnet collection.





































For Xenia beautiful Berber woman jewellery inspiration.





































For Marie a macro shot.





































For Julia a YSL heart from the Jardin Majorelle, which I would have loved to see together with her.





































For Sy and Kate an ancient Roman Bikram studio (or what I thought would be perfect to become one including the temperatures).

For my Dad Moroccan Viagra. And I should add: not for him (yuk, let’s not even go there, he is my Dad!!!), but because he is a Urologist.


For Thekla Hussain Action’s cooking class ingredients.





































For Claire a sexy tanner from the tanneries, because she was so insistent that all I need to buy in Morocco is leather. Now I get it…





































For Sabine a cute Moroccon dog. Oh wait, no picture of that – I didn’t see any dogs, only cats. Sorry & happy weekend!

*And if you don’t see a picture here for yourself, don’t be upset, you might just be a lucky one who gets a real present from Morocco.






September 6, 2012

The laughing cow.


Just to recap why I am not laughing at the moment:

I had to pay a huge amount to get home by no fault of my own.
I don’t know yet whose fault it was that I had to pay this money and if or when I will get it back.
My washing machine broke on the first load due to very dirty vacation clothes.
My car battery has died and is deader than dead now.
Thus I had to walk the load of really heavy, wet laundry to the laundromat.
I woke up with a sore throat today and blame the lack of daily fresh jus d’orange.

Can you blame me for moping??

Therefore I thought I should share little bits and pieces from Morocco, which made me smile against all odds:

 







































































 

 
1. Yup, this is what you think it is, but since it’s really old it’s not pornography it’s called history: brothel decoration in the ancient Roman settlement Volubulis.
2. Would love to have this lunch again: camel burger and mint tea. No, we did not eat this on the same day we did our camel ride. That would’ve just been wrong!
3. Coke Arabica.
4. Laundry day.
5. She is a rookie and actually turned away from the table. That wouldn’t have happened to a South African. We know our baboons and that they like tupper ware with nuts!
6. And so do the Berber Apes in Morocco…
7. Desert tent. Can we talk about the light switch?
8. Hussain Action in action. Unfortunately Fatima Action – me! – cut off his action thumb in this shot.
9. I do wonder what the snake is anti for?
10. Live Tamagotchi. Mother to child: If you don’t look after your chick, we will have chicken mcnuggets for dinner!
11. Cats on a hot tin roof.




 

September 5, 2012

An unwelcome welcome.

I kind of knew I would like Morocco. However I didn’t know it would exceed any expectations I could have ever had. Thus I am now suffering from major post-holiday depression and when you see my face you would assume I had to return home to Detroit* not beautiful Cape Town. Partly this face is due to the fact that my travel agent messed up my return flight, resulting in yet to be refunded credit card charges of R 16 000 for a new ticket. Though to be quite honest that was only the cherry on top and I don’t think my face would be any more cheerful without this incident.

You ask why? Well, for once I am flippin’ freezing. Morocco was an average of wonderful 40 degrees during the day and you can imagine how I just loved that! I also haven’t had mint tea in over 24 hours or nos nos and by now the cravings are in full swing.
Of course I made myself welcome back pasta last night as I have only eaten pasta once in the entire two weeks (can you actually believe it?!), but it tasted really bland in comparison to a Kefta Tagine. On top of it all my washing machine broke, which must be truly one of the worst things that can happen upon returning from a trip. In an attempt to make myself feel better I went onto my balcony in the hope of hearing the sunset call to prayer, but no, all I could hear was some bergies yelling on the street. Welcome home indeed.
The list could go on and on, but in an attempt of more positive thinking I will stop right here and rather go and drag my washing to the laundromat. I shall also sort through my 1001 pictures so tomorrow I can actually start to tell (and show) about the adventures in Morocco, the land of donkeys, kittens, and perfect Bikram temperatures.

I also should add that many lovely people have welcomed me back; telling me it’s good to have me home. And though I can’t share this feeling yet, the sentiment is much appreciated – thank you, my friends!

* I have actually never been, but I just picture it really…well, dingy and sad. Sorry, if you are from Detroit and feel insulted now. If I ever go, I am sure I will change my mind and you shall receive an official apology then.
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