Moroccan Moments

Marrakech – October 30th, 2012

“Much I have traveled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen…”
-John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

Some clips from a month in spent exploring, chilling and chasing waves where the desert meets the sea.

Making this video brought back a lot of fond memories of the people I met and hung out with during that trip. It’s the people you meet that make trips special and makes them what they are.

Song is an acoustic cover of Lazy Eye by the Silversun Pickups.

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Feast of the Sacrifice

Blood in the streets…

Taghazout, Morocco – October 26th, 2012

Today is the holiday of Eid al-Adha, and the streets runneth deep with the blood of sacrificed sheep…

Ok, let me give a little context to this morbid intro. Eid al-Adha (aka Feast of the Sacrifice) is a Muslim holiday. Abdulla, the man whose house I am staying at, gave me the low-down: Basically, it’s based on a Qur’an story wherein Ibrahim was asked by God to sacrifice his most prized possession, his only son, still a young lad. Ibrahim submitted to Allah’s will and was about to go through with it and slit his child’s throat. God, upon seeing Ibrahim’s proof of devotion, sends him a sheep instead to be sacrificed, saving his son.

So now, every year on the 12th month of the lunar Islamic calendar, livestock all across the world are sacrificed and eaten. Our friend Boubker, from Mirleft in South Morocco, told us it costs about 2000 Moroccan Dirham ($230) to buy a sheep (a not-insignificant amount for locals) and everyone with the means should sacrifice one or else it’s bad luck. For the past week, there have been tons of sheep on the move: tied to roofs of cars, in markets, being carried into homes. Bleating. Poor guys, I really do think they sensed what was coming…


And thusly, the streets of Taghazout this morning were running red with the fresh blood of sheep. There are some drums, some prayers and then the poor guys’ time is up. I walked around town, trying not to get my feet wet in the red blood-water running through the alleys and out of drainpipes. Sheep hung by their feet from walls, poles and trees, being butchered on the spot.

Fresh sheep kebab

By late morning, the air began to fill with the scent of charcoal briquettes. Fire up the barby’s, it’s time to put the kebabs on! It’s a 3-day feast and already smelt delicious! Abdullah’s wife has become infamous in the household for her excellent cooking. (She also makes a mean fish tagine.)

Later in the afternoon Abdullah came up to my room. “Outside, you can see them playing with the skins”. I grabbed my camera and walked out into the street, wholly unprepared for the madness of what awaited. Youths were dressed up in darkened sheep skins, running around, harassing people for money. It was funny until they started beating you with a stinky sheep’s foot. There was an interesting parade, with several costumes. Little kids were painted all black and chased by an Indian with an axe. The sheep-ghouls ran around harassing tourists, locals, shopkeepers and passing cars, and chasing little kids – no innocent observer was safe. They didn’t hurt you, but definitely got up in your face and you could get your clothes pretty dirty & stinky from getting hit with a dismembered sheep foot! Pretty interesting. Reminds me that Halloween is approaching :) It is now dinner time and a sheep’s head is being burnt beneath my window…

Happy Halloween, and after 2 years without it, can’t wait to be back home to celebrate it next year!

Erich out!

A sheep-man approaches seeking monetary appeasement

No innocent observer was safe

pay up or you gonna get smacked with this puppy

Arrival in Bangkok

Finally got into Bangkok, only 28 hours late. (Don’t even ask. Two words: Biman Airlines. That story could easily fill an entire post). After the gawking stares of Bangladesh, the warm smiles of the Thai people are refreshing. This city is a true mélange of east and west, old and new, skyscrapers and wats, shopping complexes and floating markets. No real plans at the moment, but there’s a lot of Thailand that I didn’t see last time including Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and the countryside, so I’m looking forward to taking it easy and absorbing the rich culture (while knocking back a few banana pancakes and cold Chang beers of course!).

Song: Death in Vegas – Girls

This film might be more boring to some, but it’s actually one of my favorites. It’s more of a concept piece, the expression of an emotion. Can you feel it? :)

North Queensland Tropicana, and a van named Gecko.

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a great Halloween and that Fall is going well. They don’t celebrate Halloween quite the same here; I miss the costumes and the leaves and the candy of home. I did have a close encounter with about a thousand zombies however… more on that in a sec.

Since I’ve been running around travelling so much (5 countries in 4 breaks!) I decided to lay low this break and spend it closer to home: ‘home’ being Queensland for the time being. I got sick before I flew out of camp, so spent the first week just taking it easy and catching up with Elspeth in Brisbane. It also gave me a chance to get gear and supplies together for my next big adventure: Project Island Mist (more details on that in a future post).

Els was in the midst of med school exams, but we still found time to explore the city a bit and I have to say, although Brisbane doesn’t stand out too much from the crowd, there are some very nice bits here and there: parks along the river and the Mt Coot-that lookout. At one point, we also found ourselves in the midst of the worlds largest ‘Zombie Walk’: totally by accident, we had a front row (sometimes interactive) experience as all sorts of zombies lurched, crawled, limped, screamed, ran and wheeled themselves past. I’m not sure how many hundreds, possibly thousands of zombs were there, but they thronged past for nearly an hour. It was amazing, there was every type of zomb imaginable. I think Annemarie, Pam and Kae would’ve really enjoyed something like this, I can totally seen them doing it. I’ll try to throw together a video of it as soon as I learn to use the new iMovie app on my new computer… [insert zombie walk vid here]

After that I made my way to Townsville via the “Sunlander” train. It was a 24 hr train ride, and I’ve been wanting to take it since reading that it was rated as “one of the top 25 most scenic train rides in the world” by ‘Train Riders International. With an endorsement like that I had to check it out, $200 ticket be dammed! Video of that coming soon too, I’ll post it here, so check back in a week or so. Was it all that? Well, I’ll let you decide once you see the vid, but let’s just say that it was likely towards the 20-25 range of that ranking list lol…

[insert sunlander vid here]

Gecko

In Townsville I met up with my co-worker and fellow geo Tatjana who lives there. We had planned a camping/road trip to check out the northern QLD coast, which neither of us had really seen much of to date since arriving in the country. We rocked out in her sweet green 1976 VW ‘Kombi’ van (better known to folks perhaps as ‘Toaster Vans’) named Gecko.

 

putting the 'holiday' into 'working holiday'

The further north you go from Townsville-the nicer it gets! The coast was simply stunning: sun, palm trees, perfect warm but still mild weather, green hills and cane fields, and lots of stops to cool off in the awesome swimming holes found throughout the forested national parks which line the coastal hills (they call them “mountains”, but come on-no British Columbian would call those little bumps a mountain range haha). We drove north from Townsville to Mission Beach area, up past Cairns, along the Captain Cooke Highway (one of the funnest drives and most beautiful stretches of highway I’ve ever been on. It’s a winding road hugging the coastline along the tropical rainforest about an hour north of Cairns) and up past Port Douglas and the Daintree Nat’l Park and back. Wonga Beach (in fact ALL the beaches), Paronella Park (a crazy decaying castle and grounds built beside a waterfall, the dream of a Spaniard in the 1930s) and Mossman Gorge  (gateway to the Daintree rainforest) were some of the highlights, but it was really super nice everywhere; I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Palm Trees.

The Boulders-one of many nice camping/swimming spots not far inland from the coast.

Anyways, check out the pictures on flickr! (CLICK HERE). There were lots of warning signs for crocs and I was keenly on the lookout for one, but sadly not this time- saw a cassowary however! (oh and a pretty dried lookin stingray hehe).

Anyways, that’s the latest adventure. I hope you are all well. Drop me a line or comment on my post, it’s always really nice to hear back even if I’m quite notoriously slow at correspondence. Now it’s back to work for a few weeks before the next adventure, which I’ve been planning for a few months now with my buddies Phil and Marty. I’m really really really (did I say really?) excited for it: we’re calling it Project Island Mist and man oh man, it is the kind of thing that I live for. Much more on that to come in a future post tho!

As always, take care, have fun, keep your stick on the ice and can’t wait to catch up when it happens.

Later!

Erich

[insert camping trip vid here]

Post 1: We’re in business!

Hey guys!

Pretty snazzy website, eh? Well I figured since I’m so bad at emails, this would be a great way to share my travels through pictures, videos and notes. First order of business though: go to the right sidebar and “subscribe”.

Done? Great, now you’ll automatically get emails when I make a new post. What can I say, skills with a zz-zay.

Anyways, there’s a lot to catch up on in the 6 months since I left, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s the first video I’ve made, about leaving Canada with a one way ticket to Sydney… it’s a 3 part concept: The departure, The voyage, The arrival.

Take care,
Erich
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f5wcrOy_CQ