Archive for April, 2009

Mint Tea on a Hot Day in Fes

The Riad we stayed in didn’t seem real, gorgeous mosaic over every inch and an opening to the sky in the center so that the light of the day seeped in.

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We headed out, repeatedly having to remind each other that we were here in Morocco, taking the trip we’d talked about over dozens of dinners at Mogador.

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Fresh squeezed orange juice stands everywhere

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The way we look in Arabic

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Graveyard

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Lounging donkeys

My Sister and I have developed a great dynamic, we both like to see the sights and have those days that are so filled they feel like weeks when you look back on them but in order to appreciate them we also have lazy afternoons.  Plus she’s gotten really understanding about stopping a thousand times for me to take or take and retake photos.

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Spices in the Medina

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After getting our bus tickets, walking through the Medina, checking out the tanneries (where I haggled for a camel leather bag), and taking tons of pictures we ended up on a terrace sipping mint tea, playing cards, and smiling about how amazing everything was.

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Fes had the best mint tea

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The Tannery

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A Berber Pharmacy

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Cafe Clock view from above and lunch on the roof

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mint, everywhere

Before we left when my Sister was planning things she had asked me if I was ok with an overnight bus trip so that we would have enough time to see Fes and the desert.  I had almost scoffed at her worry; listen I’ve been working through nights lately a bus ride where we can sleep sounds nice.

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We met some Spanish clowns at the hotel bar

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Fresh Kefta, yes please.

And you know it could’ve been, we were prepared for nearly everything.  After having some wine at the one bar in Fes (inside a very nice hotel) we grabbed some delicious kefta kebab, had a coffee, used the bathrooms, bought some water and boarded the bus at 10pm.  We even had the whole back seat to ourselves to stretch out.dsc_0338

When you think of Morocco frigid temperatures don’t really come to mind, certainly not mine when I packed.  My Sister was able to run out and grab her pack at one of the stops since my coat was not doing the job.  As we drove through the High Atlas Mountains we proceeded to layer on every item of clothing my Sister had packed, with the holes in the seats opening directly to the air whizzing past the speeding bus it was really no use.  We hugged each others feet and shivered our way to Merzouga.

Flying into Fes

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I fell in love with a stranger sitting in front of me on the flight over, turning courteous considerate gestures into a personality I admired.  He only carried a newspaper onto the plane which is something that always attracts me since I am the girl with the giant bag of two or so books, an iPod filled with podcasts, and some postcards to write in case.  We didn’t speak at all but in the course of the flight I imagined how we met, why I loved him, the troubles we faced together, and the happy conclusion of why it was better that we go our separate ways.  We were both better for having had the experience and would always reflect fondly on our time together.

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The colors of Morocco instantly awoke me and the giant back pack felt like nothing compared to the weightless excitement I was experiencing.  I hoped into a taxi and showed him the address and the hand drawn map I’d copied from google maps at 6am that, no wait, the morning of the day before.  I tried not to think about how little I’d slept in the past week. Too many good things were coming up.

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The taxi driver taught me the word for sunset in french as I clicked away with my camera, he kept looking at my grin and breaking into a smile himself, “you will love Morocco, you are welcome.”  This phrase would come back many times in the next two weeks but hearing it for the first time it felt like it was just for me.

After arriving to the landmark closest to the Riad where I was supposed to meet my Sister (which she had warned would be impossble to find) the driver apologized, he couldn’t drive into the medina.  He grabbed a shop owner nearby that seemed to be a close friend.  The driver pointed to a cart that looked like a backwards wheel barrow, “he can take you.”  I politely declined and started to walk when they insisted I let the shop owners son take me.  A shy boy about 6 or 7 lowered his head and stepped forward.  Soon we were walking throught the medina, a little wobbily in my state, attracting attention from each group of people in each narrow passage.dsc_0137

I made some friends, felt a bit helpless and overwhelmed, but an hour or so later my Sister and I were hugging and swapping travel stories.  We had some delicious dinner before heading to the Riad where we started our Rummy tournament, Morocco 2009.

290 x 290 x 500

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Four trucks at that size and one with an extra meter in length; all of them to be packed full with the contents of the installation we’d been working on for months.

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Moving days are always stressful and we knew some things would go wrong.  We had to be efficient with the space and make sure we weren’t forgetting anything.

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For all the elements and all the things that could’ve gone wrong, I think it went exceptionally well.  By the end we were all battered and bruised but it was satisfying to get the point we had talked about for so long.
Around 5am I caught the train home and took a shower in the light of dawn before grabbing my pack and heading back to HBF where I caught the train to Frankfurt.

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And here I want to mention a thank you to my Step Dad Andy.

Whenever we flew anywhere we had to get to the airport no later than two hours before our departure time and usually more like three.  I used to do a bit of eye rolling at this but nowadays I find myself doing the same.

In any case when I took the train from Berlin to Frankfurt Airport it’s a good thing I had that rule of leaving lots of extra time ingrained in my head.  As it turns out there are two Frankfurt airports and I needed to be at the very tiny one (Frankfurt Hahn) about a 45 minute bus ride from the one I anticipated leaving from (Frankfurt International Airport).  Thanks Andy!

Never Like This

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Hours of work had been getting longer and I’d been sleeping less, but after almost a month of agonizing over whether to go to Morocco with my Sister or Amsterdam with the studio I had finally come to a decision.

I would do both. Plus I would go to Rome.

Two of the other interns had been working on these columns for the Rome show and it was assumed one of them would attend one of the artists to set it up. Once I heard the show was happening in the beginning of April (Morocco and Amsterdam were both set to happen during the second and third week) I offered to go in exchange for missing the first weeks of set up in Amsterdam.

So there I was standing in the shower trying to remember how to conjugate Italian verbs and wondering if I needed to pack anything other than work clothes. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a special relationship with Italy. I studied and lived there, learned Italian, and planned to move there before a weekend trip to Berlin changed things. I knew it would be wonderful to be back in a place where I could understand the language and see a culture I admire but I was a bit nervous, like seeing an ex that knows you better than your current love.

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We ended up working the entire time we were there, no sleeping, and certainly no time for idle chat or reflection. I left Ed behind to continue working and only in the last moments en route to the airport did I start to realize how strange it felt to be returning home to Germany from Italy. While I was chatting with one of the women at the gallery I told her I had once planned on moving to Rome but changed my mind for Berlin. She paused and nodded her head, “you made the choice that was right.”

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I made my way back to Berlin alone, drifting between dream filled sleep and deep reflection.  It seemed so wrong to be returning home on a two hour flight away from Italy but, to be honest, it felt so good to go back home to Berlin.

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From the Future

I come to you from my hostel in Amsterdam, 5 flights and almost a month since my last post and with more things to write about than I can process right now.

So, I urge you to be patient and come back soon (week or three).  Thanks for reading!

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