26 PICTURE ALBUM
Sunday, October 26
Steve: We took it easy today, venturing out in the morning
but reserving the afternoon for relaxing and reading by the pool at our hotel.
We were tired after the past few days' adventures, and needed a break.
This morning we walked through the new part of Marrakech on the way to Majorelle
Gardens. The streets here are very loud and busy, and the roads are shared
equally by cars, bikes, scooters, horse carriages, donkeys and men with carts.
There's a very interesting mix of old and new here - it seems so strange to
see an old man on a donkey in the middle of the street
surrounded by Mercedes (the standard large taxi here). We took several pictures
of the streets, and tried to capture scenes which show the different types
the first time since we started traveling in June, I've had some headaches
here and I'm fairly sure it's because of the pollution in the air. There's
a definite smell of exhaust everywhere, which is not surprising considering
the old age of many of the automobiles on the road. This
smell, combined with the constant loud noise from the traffic, makes walking
in the city not very enjoyable for us. As we walked in today's 70 degree weather,
we tried to picture what it would be like in the heat of the summer - not
a pleasant thought.
We walked to the Majorelle Gardens, a beautiful collection of cactus, palm
trees, bamboo trees, ponds and fountains. This is one of several gardens in
Marrakech, and was created by Jacques Majorelle, a French painter. The garden
is very beautiful, and is a great escape from the activity of the city.
We spent this afternoon at our hotel, catching up on some of our reading
and writing, and also relaxing by the pool. Tonight we had a fantastic dinner
at Dar Moha in the Medina. This was recommended by our travel agent as the
best food in Morocco. We all had wonderful meals that included a variety of
traditional Moroccan appetizers, couscous, and tejine-cooked fish and beef.
David continued to impress us with his willingness to try new foods - for
his appetizer, he ordered a tart filled with pigeon and finished with a sweet
cinnamon glaze. He liked it!
Tomorrow we're leaving at 9:30 in a private taxi for the 2-3 hour drive to
Essaouira. We continue to hear good things about this small coastal fishing
town, and are looking forward to spending time there.
Distance Walked: 1.24 miles
David's Download - Barcelona's La Rambla
Every big city has a famous road such as the Champs d'Elysees in Paris and
Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. Barcelona's is La Rambla. La Rambla is
actually the most famous road in all of Spain. Its street performers, human
statues, bird and flower dealers, beggars, and small cafes make it attractive
to both tourists and Spaniards. We have had great times exploring this street,
which has created some unforgettable memories for me and my family.
Rambla is one of my favorite things about Barcelona. This large boulevard
is separated in two by a wide, tree lined pedestrian walkways filled with
newsstands, shops, and performers. I enjoyed watching all the street performers,
artisans, and human statues at work. It's interesting to see all the creative
ways people try to make money! One of my favorite street performances consisted
of two guys dressed as ninjas. They both had sticks with foam on the ends
to hit each other. One was dressed in black, one in white. Each one of them
had a can with a sign. "Pay black to hit white" and "Pay white
to hit black." They would pose in battle positions until someone paid
them. For example, one guy might lie on his back and the other would aim at
his belly and then pose in that position. People were tempted to pay them
so see one of the guys get hit. It would always make a loud noise and must
have hurt! Another performer was dressed up as a rooster, with a rubber chicken
tied around his head and cardboard wings. He crowed like a real rooster over
and over again. He didn't make much money.
We heard that the street performers get their start in theater by performing
on La Rambla. The street performers were accompanied by bird sellers and numerous
beggars. We counted over 10 bird shops along the street. The shops had chickens,
ducks, roosters, parrots, parakeets, and many other species. Some also had
turtles, fish, rats, mice, ferrets, and rabbits. The pigeons were always gathered
around these shops eating the bird seed that had fallen from the cages to
the ground. Some even poked their beaks into the cages to get the seed, and
the parakeets would go crazy! The beggars on the street were hard to look
at. Many were handicapped and without arms, legs, or hands. To our surprise,
some were even well
dressed, although most were sick and dirty.
Seeing all these people on the streets makes me wonder how they can survive
with only a few coins a day. Even the street performers with good acts only
make 20 to 30 dollars a day. Do they have another job? How desperate really
are they? Do they do it just for fun? How much do they get to eat? It makes
me feel bad that we can't help them more than just handing them a coin.
Although La Rambla is a fun and enjoyable place to be, my family and I also
found it in some ways to be very depressing. We greatly enjoyed exploring
this street and are looking forward to discovering more like it around the