From African Skies

We prefer to travel overland when possible. Due to the distances, differing bureaucratic visa requirements, and questionable roads and rail, we opted for flying for most of our travel in Africa. As much as possible, we booked daytime flights in hopes of seeing as much terrain as possible. Part of the excitement of Africa is flying on a clear day viewing the vastness of the land.  I captured the following landscapes through airplane windows using iPad and iPhone.  During January to March 2016 we started in Casablanca flying to Dakar (via Madrid). Then we flew on to Nairobi, Johannesburg, Capetown, Windhoek, finally back to Johannesburg. We visited Pretoria by train. Then, we took a bus to Gaborone returning by air. Then, we continued up to Addis Ababa (via Nairobi).  The austere red earth highlighted by mountains, dappled with shadows of clouds, cut by the occasional river fascinates me. The lonely yearning in each of these photos of the distant expanses resonates with me.

 

 

Marrakech – a walk in the Kasbah

I have enjoyed walking the maze of streets and alleys and markets, avenues and derbs and souks of the Medina (old city) of Marrakech. The activity there is fascinating both as a reflection of the past and an image of the vibrant present. There are souks for jewelry, souks for leather goods, souks for tourists.  The metalworking souk features blacksmiths at their forges and welders with their torches.  One section is filled with hammer heads and pickaxes ready for wood handles.  I am reminded “when your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.”  There are the open air markets with fresh oranges and the fantastic Moroccan breads.  I should bargain more but the prices are reasonable and the vendor chooses the best quality.  Not a blemish on the apples. As a guest, I prefer discretion in exhibiting the world I experience. For this reason, I only used cats as my subject for this post. I hope it gives you a taste of the delights of these walks.

Streets of Casablanca

For some, the only draw of Casablanca is the myth created by Hollywood. There is plenty not to like. The streets are dusty, there are sporadic redevelopments and refurbishments, the tourist attractions don’t seem authentic, more like theme parks. We came here to escape the cold and damp of Europe in Winter.  It has been mostly sunny and highs around 20°-23°C (68°-73°F).  Additionally, we need to get things done along with travel plans and yellow fever vaccinations.

We have walked the alleys full of activity in the Medina (old city) and the Marche Central (central market).  The haphazardness recalls what the orderly European markets of today would be like a century ago.  In these wanderings, I have fallen in love with the unrepentant architecture along the streets. Here are a few examples of my discoveries.