Now that I've gotten some sleep I'm ready to show you where we were. Don't be discouraged: only 35 pictures here! I can't always get the words completely lined up with the photos, but you'll figure it out.
Our apartment was a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower, and I spent a long time examining its construction. So beautifully intricate! How could those Parisians have been up in arms about the ugliness of the tower when it was built?
Here's a photo of Adame, the woman from Mali who invited us to her home for a Sunday dinner when we were in Paris.
And now the centerpiece of our vacation, the pool and veranda of the house in Casablanca. Now you'll understand why we had such a hard time tearing ourselves away from it!
There was beautiful detail everywhere, such as the brick wall near the pool with the decorative arches set into the bricks:
Rick often read in the sunshine -- buck naked -- and I usually read on the veranda in the shade of the bougainvilleas.
Our dinners, dressed in either nothing or in bathing suits, were also on the veranda.
So imagine you're living in this luxury, and you go to the supermarket. This is what you would pass on the way. We saw many slums of this nature, with walls and roofs of cobbled-together scrap material.
Working for six years, day and night, thousands of workers and artists built the Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca, the third largest in the world, large enough for 25,000 worshippers inside and another 80,000 on the plaza outside. Obviously, bigger was better.
Then we went to Marrakesh. The first photo shows the plaza which is transformed in the evenings into a huge open-air restaurant with hundreds of cooking facilities and tables set up.
Al Jedida is a town south of Casablanca. The first photo shows Al Jedida: the old town within the medieval walls but updated with electricity wires and satellite dishes. The second photo shows Rick as a Tuareg Arab, a fighter in the sands of the Sahara, with a jelaba and a scarf that wraps around your head to form a turban or, in case of sandstorm, over your face.
Along the roadside to Safi farther south were many produce stands. This one, selling squash, was especially beautiful.
The town of Safi is known for its pottery. This man is sitting on a stool in a hole dug into the ground with canvas around his waist, working the turntable with his feet. He is making a tagine, the terracotta stew dish I wrote about in the blog earlier. Once he finished the top you see here, he cut it off and then made the bottom: a perfect fit.
The Atlantic ocean surf is very strong at Essaouira, farther south from Safi, and the mist it throws up makes an extraordinary light.
Dozens of boys dove for fun into the water at the harbor in Essaouira, and later on that evening we had a traditionally Moroccan meal to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.
Driving back to Casablanca, here are some of the people we passed on the road.
We were fascinated by the low, flat-roofed walled compounds made of mud brick and the haystacks .
And then we went to Fez. Taking the back roads we passed miles of rolling hills, golden with wheat and full of olive trees.
In Fez the souk, or market, was a labyrinth of alleys. It was Ramadan, and everyone was thinking about and buying food for that evening.
This was taken in a 900-year-old restaurant in Fez.
On the way back to Casablanca, Rick couldn't stand the idea of being on the other side of the Atlantic and not going into it.
Back in Paris, here's the garden of the Rodin Museum with a statue of The Thinker.
And here we are with Zhou and Roswitha, the Chinese couple we met in a park near the Rodin Museum.
A wonderful trip. I hope you've enjoyed the blog!