Monday, October 4, 2010


we are here and off to a mosdue this morning! long journey, but a good one!


Friday, October 1, 2010

"They're Taking Me to Marrakech"

So today's the day. We depart in the early evening from SF, so we'll head off in about an hour here. I was able to get out of work relatively early yesterday (which was actually later than usual, but I had an event downtown to go to and bunch of work to wrap up), so I was able to get a lot of stuff together last night. This morning was a hussle to get all the final things together, weigh my bag (31.2 pounds, fyi) and do a last minute Target run (I love you, Target!). So here I am, with a bit of extra time on my hands, which is kind of scary - it's like Project Runway, the one guy who finishes early and is sitting around eating bon bons always ends up getting his ass handed to him on a plate. I don't want to be that guy. But, truth be told, I think I've got what I need. And I'm not leaving civilization am I? am I?

Whenever I tell a non-family member (or anyone else who hasn't known me or the family all that long) about our Morocco trip, I am inevitably faced with the question, "why are you going there?" Which is a fair enough question. Most people with limited amounts of vacation time generally utilize it lounging on a beach with a cocktail and a masseuse named Juan, not in a third world country, being harassed by men who've never heard the term "womens lib." That being said, there is actually a reason that we're going and, of course, it's really all about my dad.

In the 1970s, when my dad finished school, he went to Europe (a much dodgier place than it is today), bought a VW bus and drove around for nine months, traveling and being a vagrant who lived in a bus (but a well-educated one). He and some people he was traveling with took the ferry to Morocco and went a-touring. It was dangerous and scary by all accounts, and after a while, they decided to leave. They made it to Fez and a number of other places, but never actually made it to Marrakech.

Which would be fine, except, if anyone has ever met my parents and discussed music of the 1970s, you would have undoubtedly gotten to the subject of Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose self-titles album is "so great" that mom actually owned two copies of the album because she wore out the first one listening to it. Suffice it to say, dad equally loves the album, particularly the song, "Marrakech Express." Ever since hearing that song, dad has regretted that he has never been to Marrakech. It's been in his mind for thirty years. So when he retired, you better believe it was on the top of his list off places to see. So here we are, fulfilling dad's lifelong desire to go to Marakech. Will we ride the Marrakech Express? Seeing as how we don't even know if the Marrakech Express actually exists, it's hard to say. But we will definitely be on our way to Marrakech.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

High Maintenance

I understand that on a day-to-day basis I could be called a relatively high-mainentance kind of gal. I mean, I'm into wearing cute clothes, doing my makeup every day and having my hair done as regularly as my pocketbook allows. But I also tend to pride myself in being one of those people who doesn't have to be fancy to exist happily in the world. In India I went for an entire month without a stitch of makeup and questionable levels of cleanliness (let's just say in India, after you shower in that water, you don't feel clean for very long). As such, I don't generally have that difficult of a time with the notion of packing light (22 pounds is the suggested weight) for the third world country scenario. But this time is proving exceedingly difficult because I'm going to Ireland at the end of trip. Not only would I like to look cute (and generally not like a dirty hippy), but it's going to be winter. That means sweaters. And toiletries. Have you ever gathered all of your toileteries and general mainenance products in one pile together? If you have, you may know what I'm talking about. I'm finding it exceedingly disturbing at the level of my current personal maintenance requirements. Who knew it takes that many products to beautify one person? But my main concern is that everything is NOT going to fit in my bag. Eek, whatever shall I do? No matter what, I'm getting on the plane, so I'll have to figure it out. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Now that we're barreling towards October, it's easy to say that it's about time for summer vacation. In fact, there may be a generall consensus amongst various Rose family members that the best iem for summer vacation is, in fact, during the summer. I mean, they don't call them the dog days of summer for nothing. But I digress...

Morocco is the main destination this time 'round and while I can't say that it was at the top of my list (though certainly on my list), I can say that I'm pretty darn excited to visit. This will be my first time spending a significant period of time in an Islamic country. So I think it's a good time to play a rousing round of "Name that Preconceived Notion!" *cue cheesy music*

Here's what I'm expected from Morocco:
Lots of headscarves and covered women.
Heavy, spicey, cinnamony (but delicious) food
Getting woken up by morning call to prayer
lots of colorful fabrics
cool street markets
being harassed/stared at a lot
general dirtiness
People speaking French

All in all I think it's going to be pretty darn cool. It will be nice to be traveling again and back in the groove. There must be some deeply-rooted psychology reason for my love of the road and my distaste for a life with anything too "normal" happening for too long. Alls I know is that if there's a 6 am flight to somewhere new, I'd have a hard time saying no to a ticket with my name on it. There's nothing quite like a long flight to make an excessively early morning worth it. Maybe it's a survival instinct kicking in.

I guess we'll see how my preconceived notions hold up against the reality. Should be interesting to see. Anywho, keep checking back for some posts in Morocco, any. time. soon. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eat. Pray. Love. Denied?

I have a rule about books. If I don't like the book, I do not force myself to read it. I never get why people make themselves hunker down to finish a book that doesn't inspire them to read the next page. Why? There are only so many free hours in our days, particularly as we get older and become bogged down my more and more commitments and obligations that steal away our time. The only time I may force myself into a book is if it's a book for a class (erhm, college) or I'm absolutely certain it's going to get better because SO many peopel have told me it's good (I'm thinking Angela's Ashes which, quite frankly, is a masterpiece and if you haven't you must go and read it RIGHT NOW).

So when I started reading Eat. Pray. Love. I was utterly disappointed at my complete disinterest in the novel. Let me also say that my favorite book to read is one of the travel autobiography genre and I have read a LOT of them. More often than not they are mediocre but still readable. This book, however didn't do it for me. I didn't get very far into it because I simply couldn't relate to the character - there was something about her sense of entitlement that irritated and alienated me to her. She's selfish in a way I could not relate to. Her narcissism made my skin crawl and, being an avid reader of various blogs, I'm pretty used to narcisissm in writtten form. I couldn't get the character, which was completely disappointing because 1) I'm a woman, like her 2) I like to read and write about traveling and most importantly 3) I'm a traveler. The fact that I was unable to connect with this woman on that, the deepest level of my existence as the Traveler I see myself as - that I could not relate to her as a traveler, bothered me the most.

So I stopped reading it. Just like that. And now, several years later, the movie is coming out and I think I might. just. see. it.

Maybe I've changed, maybe the movie will be different or maybe it'll all just be crap anyway, but I'm drawn to the trailer and I think I might give it a shot. So here it is:

"I used to have this appetite for my life and it is just gone. I want to go someplace where I can just marvel at something."

Friday, June 18, 2010


This poem was in the first few pages of a novel by Paulo Coelho called The Zahir. While I felt that the novel was just OK (I much prefer The Alchemist, a truly exquisite novel) I love this poem and its message.


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the angry Poseidon—do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

if your heart does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets,

and purchase fine merchandise,

mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and sensual perfumes of all kinds,

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor at the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would never have set out on the road.

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you. Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933)

translated by Rae Dalven

Friday, June 11, 2010


You know, the kind you actually play with your feet?

It never ceases to amaze me at the sheer number of people in the world who love soccer. Being of the American variety, I've never much been one for it and never seem to get how engrossed my darling Europeans, particularly the Scottish One, can be in a game where they almost never score. That being said, I'm a particular fan of basketball, which, one might argue is the most ADD mainstream sport imaginable. I've never much gotten into baseball either, but it is fun to chat and have a beer at the ball park.

The reason I bring this up should be obvious. It's the World Cup and everyone, it seems, has their eyes set on the games in South Africa. I'll be tuning in tomorrow to watch the England v. USA match, because that's just great, isn't it? I've sat in enough pubs in my day to learn how to appreciate the game and the significance of being able to keep up with my pals abroad about who's ranking where in each group.

So here are the questions:

Who are you rooting for?

Who do you think will win?