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    A hammam of an experience

    June 27th, 2006 by mary

    A weekly ritual for the Moroccans is to make a visit to a hammam, their version of a bath house but much much different. The genders are separated of course and they immediately ask you to take your clothes off. Men must leave their skivvies on and women are given the option to go naked, which is surprising considering many are so covered up in public that you can’t even see their eyes. Once freed of your clothes the attendant leads you through a series of rooms then instructs you to sit on the bare wet floor with other bathers. They grab 3 buckets of varying water; scalding hot, hot, and bareable and with a scrubby exfoliating mitt start rubbing your skin away. For me it felt like a good scratching but Steve said his experience was excruciatingly painful. Then they pull you to lay on the floor for your ALL over body scrub.

    The lady that was attending to me only had underwear on and laid my head in her lap. After a bit I got to understand that a slap on the stomach was to turn to face down and a slap on the buttock was to flip over to the front. Then she dowsed a bucket of water over my head. Surprising how much hotter water is when someone else is throwing it on you. That was followed by the soaping. The most awkward moment wasn’t when she moved my undies aside to get EVERYwhere, but when she held my arm outstretched to sud my side and my hand was helplessly playing patty cake with her breasts. She didn’t blink an eye and just finished rubbing nonchalantly. During this whole time the other women are alternating scrubbing each other not a bit shy about staring at the foreigner being pushed around like a rag doll. It was such an odd situation that I had to laugh now and then.

    Apparently for the men they stretch you like they’re wringing out a wet towel and punch you a few times before scrubbing you pink and telling you to leave.

    It’s typical for Moroccans to bathe in hammams for 2hrs. Entrance is $5 and the “massage” is $2. There are nicer pricier ones in hotels but we wanted to go to a local one first. The sanitation was not even questionable because there was no doubt that it wasn’t, but I got used to it after a few buckets of wood heated water. It felt good walking out of there but we immediately went back to the hotel to take a shower. Hey, we’re tourists.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

    Meet me in Morocco

    June 25th, 2006 by steve

    Overlooking the Fes medina (old walled city), a maze of 9000+ tiny corridors winding around each other.
    We stumbled across this little bakery in Tangier when we noticed this guy breaking up old furniture and stuff and throwing it down a stairway. Of course, we followed and learned that it works like this: people dont have their own ovens so much in the old town so they make dough, cookies, cakes, peppers, whatever- and bring it to one of the communal bakeries like this where the baker finishes the job. Amazing the amount and variety of stuff he pulled out of the little oven opening. Super friendly guy and he gave us some pretty decent bread straight out of the oven. The only question we had was what kid didnt get his meal that night! Kidding, turns out the bakeries recently started selling their own bread to supplement income.Oh and the pile of furniture and wood is great. Anything that burns is stacked outside and used to fuel the fire. Anything.

    OK, heres the one youve been waiting for. No photoshop required unless someone wants to add a desert and harem. Enjoy:

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    The perfect thing to do in Tarifa, Spain

    June 25th, 2006 by mary

    say Yes.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

    Things not to do in Tarifa, Spain

    June 25th, 2006 by steve

    This was NOT our second attempt at sailing, but made us think twice about taking the ferry from this harbor to Morocco! In case it;s not clear in the picture, that is NOT the reflection of a boat I am looking at.

    Tarifa is one of the border towns in Spain with ferries to Morocco. Mary thinks it is a lot like Santa Barbara because of the hundreds (really) of kiteboards over the beach, the sidewalk cafes and the crazy hair:

    Found on a wall overlooking a small beach. I think it says that it is safe to swim without fear of floaters…but we didnt chance it. Some things the lifeguard cant save you from…

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Stayin´up late

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    We´re in Seville now and have taken on the local lifestyle. Since it´s light until nearly 10pm, we eat dinner late, then have dessert even later and then sleep until way too late in the morning. But it has given us time to catch up on the last couple week´s thoughts.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    English food is nothing to write home about

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    … but I guess I am… The fish & chips were good, but we had bangers & mash for the first and last time. They only have two types of bread, white and brown. However they have a myriad of sauces that come in single serving condiment packages available in pubs including brown sauce and mint sauce. The mint sauce was just weird and we were too afraid to try the brown sauce.

    -Mary

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Above us only sky

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    That was the tagline for the Liverpool John Lennon Airport. We stayed in a typical hostel with dorm style beds, public kitchen and play areas. It’s comfortable enough and they offer all the tea and toast we can eat which ends up being quite important as our nightly meals. The proprietor grew up at the same time as the Beatles and has all kinds of stories about beating them in a battle of the bands when they were teens and seeing John Lennon tackle a local bully for grabbing his girl. I’m sure he’s told those stories more than a thousand times as evidenced by everyone else in the room getting up and leaving when he started the tales.

    We did go to the Beatles´famed Cavern Club (above) and saw a 60´s style pop band play. Yay. Beatles stuff is really everywhere. Penny Lane really has the barber shop, shelter in the middle of the turnabout, etc. Strawberry Field is…well… a field.

    Otherwise, Liverpool is just as I imagined England to be, or at least saw in the movie Notting Hill. The residential areas are just rows of red brick buildings with railed stairways leading to the entrance. There are pubs everywhere and people speak a funny, unrecognizable form of English.

    What did surprise us was the daylight hours. The sun rose at 4am and set at 9:30pm so it was still light at 10pm, which is what we blame for sleeping as much as we did.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Rain in June? We must be in Portland

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    By the time we left the bay area we were both exhausted and hoped our stay up north could help catch us up on sleep. Steve’s nephew and dad had arranged for us to play golf in Matt’s company tournament within minutes of landing. Luckily it happened to be the only sunny day in Portland’s summer. That didn’t help my game, but their creative calculating did give me a 42 handicap which was enough to win $5; only to have it taken out of my hands after a re-tally. Steve won $20. The remainder of the four days were spent surrounded by Kleinkes and playing with the kids; Nick (2yr) and Madison (2months).
    -Mary

    PS- remember, this is a family website.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Tour de Gorge

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    I had prepared a list of foods to eat while in the bay area, more than could be comfortably consumed in the amount of time we had. Sushi, thai, pluto’s, soufflé omelette, pie, cheesecake, pearl drink, lemonade, to name a few. We had a pretty hectic stay with a seemingly endless list of to dos and people to visit with. Some how I managed to check off my list to satiate my palette and expand my waistline. I think I gained 2.5lbs in 3.5days, not bad. My only regrets were not making it to Jake’s and not going to Nobo a second time. Our time there was so busy that we actually didn’t sleep much or see everyone as much as we had wanted.
    Mary

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

    Life in the slow lane

    June 20th, 2006 by steve

    Woah, you’re driving kinda fast aren’t you? Can you not get so close to the other car? Oh my gosh this car accelerates quick, it’s making me nervous. Yep, that’s how it felt to be driving the streets of San Jose after our extended vacation. On the highways it took me a few days to get up to the speed limit. I found myself avoiding the freeways whenever possible and always staying in the right lane cruising five mph slower than the posted speed limit. The 2 months away had aged my driving by 2 decades. At least Steve only drove on the left side once. Without insurance. In a borrowed car.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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