Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Dessi, Francie (the cat) and I are leaving Dakar tonight for three months. The flight is at 10:40 -- Paris, Salt Lake, then Whitefish, Montana! My carry-on is stuffed with puzzle cubes, bracelets, sparkly crayons and snack food, all in separate bags for little surprises. I figure this will kill 2.25 hours, all told. Leaving us with ... a 12-hour finger-puppet show. I remember the first time I flew with Dessi -- I brought not one book but two ... for myself! I now laugh out loud at such delusions.

The hardest part will be leaving Eric; he won't be joining us for five weeks! Dessi is so happy when we're all three together; her favorite thing to to point and say, "Mama, Daddy! Mama, Daddy! Daddy, Mama!" Like she just wants to make SURE we appreciate just how fabulous it all is. So, we're bringing lots of daddy pictures and trying to get our Skype video monitor function to work so they can see each other every night. I think it will be okay, at least for her -- it's me who will suffer the most!

The hardest, hardest part will be leaving our great friends Emilia and Vasso. Vasso will have moved to Tel Aviv when I get back in September, and Emilia will probably have moved as well. This is the difficulty of expat life. Everyone moves every two to four years. The good part is that you have friends all over the world, and the fabulous part is the gift of connecting so intensely with such incredible people, even for such a short time.

But now on this last afternoon here, with my bags packed and waiting at the door, and after goodbye lunches and dinners and a late-night party of drinking absinthe and throwing each other into the pool ... I am acutely aware of all we're leaving behind.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Here we are on Sunday afternoon in Marrakesh's main square. A nice Spanish couple took the picture for us. There was a snake charmer 20 feet to our right, his cobra coiled and listless beside him. (I've read that they sew their mouths shut, although now that I think about it, how could that be right? Don't they need to eat? Or, I suppose that could explain the listlessness. . . )

ANYway, Happy Father's Day!!! Happy Grandfather's Day!!!


Here we are in a tourist trap horse ride through the city. Normally we never agree to these things, but my dogs were barkin'!


It was actually absolutely an hysterical ride. The driver was a big hulk of a man and we negotiated for him to drop us very close to our riad (bed and breakfast, essentially), which was deep inside the labrynthine walls of Marrakesh. Really narrow streets where mostly cars can't pass or, when they can, they pass very, very slowly. So his horse whip is flying around over our heads and then finally, whack, he nabs a guy on a scooter riding the opposite way. He kind of waves behind him, like, 'oops!' and then casually starts trotting the horses to avoid this guy coming back for him, I'm sure. (I mean, you just can't imagine these streets. Maybe the width of 1.5 parking spaces, but there were at least two people per square yard and dogs, cats, fruit vendors ... really chaos. THEN, because he's trotting now, he really very nearly runs over these two old women who are walking in our same direction (thus their backs are turned). I mean, it was close. So now we're cantering and he's looking behind him for pursuers and people are just literally jumping out of his way. I was in a constant state of cringing and gasping for the last 10 minutes, but also, strangely, laughing.

Also, I was trying to get Dessi to wave to people as we were passing, which she did, but she also had a two-minute long stretch where she leaned over the side and pointed at each person and shouted, "No! No! No!" while jabbing her finger. Nice.

Here is Dessi in a fabulous little cafe on a busy downtown square.


Between bites she would walk around and try on the hats of the hat sellers and wave to everyone. She was scared to death of women in hijabs and she would run away from them. I would say 80 percent of women there were completely covered, each with a scarf tied just below the eyes, and then the headdresses covered their foreheads. It was surprised to find such a big city to still be so conservative, although I thought the people there were absolutely fabulous, the food was delicious, and the trip was overall the best way I could possibly have imagined to celebrate turning 40.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009