A Travellerspoint blog

Morocco

Our first experience with Ramadan, a hammam and some dromedaries

sunny 50 °C
View Sinusoidal Planetary Circumscription on olin's travel map.

We spent a little time in Morocco, our visit happening to coincide with the start of Ramadan. This may have been a good thing though since we felt more immersed in the culture and we think the vendors may have been a little less aggressive then usual due to their depleted sugar levels. We passed through Tangiers, Marakesh, Merzouga, Essaouira and technically Casablanca, though we really just went from a bus to the airport there.
Not much to say about Tangier. Kinda sleepy town, nothing particularily interesting except perhaps its history (Interzone). Marakesh was a little livelier and we had a good dose of crazy medina souks there (old town market area). These narrow streets are filled with all manner of traffic, from chickens, dogs, people on foot, to people on bikes and scooters. It's quite overwhelming. Not to mention the unmentionable odors that assail you, both delicious and nauseating fighting for command of your nostrils.
We also took a traditional hammam cleaning, basically an exfoliation in a bath house. Nelly enjoyed her experience. I can't say the same for mine.
We took a tour from Marakesh over the high atlas east to Merzouga. This is on the border of the desert where we hopped onto dromedaries and made our way about 10 km into the dunes to spend the night under the stars. It was quite beautiful and I would highly recommend it despite the 50 degree heat and the rather uncomfortable ride on the camels.
We then made our way to the west to Essaouira, a town on the Atlantic coast. Interestingly the hassle factor here as tenfold what we had experienced anywhere else. Every five feet a vendor would be asking you where you're from and won't you take a minute to look at his goods because he has a special price for you today. The extent of the harassment was such that we were shutting people out even if we would have actually been interested in what they were offering.

http://picasaweb.google.com/olinone/Marakesh#

Posted by olin 16:43 Archived in Morocco Comments (1)

Rome

Our favorite city

The cheapest way out of Zanzibar to Europe turned out be on a charter plane to Rome (400 euros each). It turns out the Italians love Zanzibar so there's several charters daily to Bologna, Milan and Rome. We were glad because it also turns out that we love Rome, and probably Italy in general.

http://picasaweb.google.com/olinone/RomeItaly#

Posted by olin 17:06 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sloth

and a touch of shame

We're getting ridiculously lazy with this blog thing which we know we will regret later when we forget 90% of what we've done.

http://picasaweb.google.com/olinone

Posted by olin 12:27 Comments (0)

Cusco to Puno

Strikes, blockades and repairing a bridge with rented wood.

Hello from PUNO!!

We escaped Cusco at last..We made it almost safely by bus...
We basically went back to the agency and requested a refund, in order to book a flight to La Paz. At the agency, the operator told us that other bus companies were going to Puno, they were just taking a large detour to avoid the barricades. We were convinced by the agent that this alternative route was going to be without problem, so we decided to take that bus route. The plane was going to cost 5 times as much, so bus it is..

The bus was suppose to leave at 9 am, instead we left at 11:30 am, which was not so bad ( you get use to these schedules..). So it turns out that the bus did not take an alternate route that would avoid the protests, it went right into it!!!!! So here we were, protesters put rocks on the road ahead, and shortly after we had arrived, we had rocks blocking the back of the bus too.. We were getting a little nervous at that point, the driver told us that he was going to go negotiate with the protesters to see if we can make it through.. It turns out that he was going to bribe the protesters with the extra 10 dollars per passengers that they charged us extra...(300dollars for the bus). I couldn´t believe it. Seems they are just as corrupt as the government at this point!!! Well it turned out to not have worked, the protesters were not letting us go.

After waiting 3 hours in the bus, we were going to take an alternate route, which happened to be right there, by a bridge which had been destroyed by the protesters.. Villagers were going to fix it using pieces of wood from some local!!! The gap in the bridge must have been 2 to 3 meters long!! Needless to say we were all petrified to attempt a crossing..

The bridge was eventually "repaired", everybody took their belongings and left the bus, crossed over by foot and watched nervously as the large buses and trucks made their way across...With a few sketchy crossings, our bus and others made it through..What a sight!
We all boarded the bus and the detour was not 4 hours but more like 8 hours..We drove throughout the night, got to Puno at 3am..Found a room without a problem.. Olin will post some pictures shortly.

We´re going to visit the islands in Lake Titicaca tomorrow, and the day after head to either La Paz or Copacabana in Bolivia..

Posted by nelly j 12:32 Archived in Bolivia Tagged transportation Comments (0)

On keyboard layouts

How to type an @

So we've been having a great time with the variety of keyboard layouts we've encountered and had frequently been thwarted from typing the ubiquitous @, an absolutely devastating handicap when trying to e-mail people or even login to your own. Anyway,I eventually found the Windows on-screen keyboard app which shows the current keyboard layout and what the modifier keys will do when pressed. It hides under Start/Programs/Accessories/Accessibility/On-Screen Keyboard, which is fun to find in Spanish. The easiest way to access it is to press the "Windows key + R" to bring up the Run prompt, then just type in "osk" and hit Enter. Happy typing.

Posted by olin 17:30 Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (1)

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