Monday, July 27, 2009
I looked out the window of the airplane and watched the Spanish coastline disappear and give way to the Straight of Gibraltar and finally Cap Spartel and the beginning of the African coastline. It had been 11 years since my last trip to Morocco. My father and I were on our way to attend my cousin Kaoutar's wedding in Tangier. It would be a three day traditional Moroccan wedding and I would be around more family members than I could count. Below are a selection of photos from my seven days in Morocco. I wish I could have stayed longer but such is life. Enjoy. A boat passes around Cap Spartel at sunset. The souq (market) is the center of Moroccan culture. The souq is a virtual maze of shops and cafes that sell absolutely everything you could ever think of. It is a photographer's dream. I could spend months just photographing in the souq. From the wealthy Moroccan family going to get their groceries to the three shadows sitting in the corner smoking kif (a mix of marijuana and tobacco), it is one of the most eclectic places I have ever been. Olives are a huge commodity in Morocco. Olive shops line the souq, one after another. You don't have to really go around looking for an "organic" label in the souq. You can also bet that all of the fruits and vegtables will cost about a tenth of what you pay in the United States and are of better quality. A Moroccan wedding is an experience unto it's own. The elaborate ceremony and dress is absolutely beautiful. It is a three day celebration involving a lot of tradition and protocol. Oh, and the food is really good too. Soccer is the life blood of many African countries. Whether an actual soccer ball or a crushed up can you will always find children playing in the streets and parks. Like much of the world, western ways are descending on traditional cultures and values. Here, McDonalds looks over Tangier and the Mediterranean. My cousin Mounir sits on the same rooftop overlooking the city. Islam is as prevalent as ever in Morocco. Although Morocco is very liberal compared to other Arab nations, their religion is very visible in their way of life.
"The Minaret of Tangier"This is the largest mosque in Tangier. The balls on top of the mosque are said to be kept in balance by the influence of the planets. I hope to return to Morocco sooner than later. It is such an amazing place filled with vibrant people. The small size of the country has no bearing on the amount of culture that lies within it's borders. There is a surprise around every corner.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
As I walked down the streets of Madrid I felt like I was in New York City. Big bustling intersections and a sea of people gave way to large buildings reaching for the sky. The sound of horns echoed off the steal structures reverberating in the warm night air. Suddenly I felt someone grab my arm and turned to see that I was being held by a scantly dressed woman who asked me in English, "you lonely tonight?". Without saying a word, I discarded her hand from my arm and continued down the street with a plethora of Spanish insults echoing behind me. Continuing on, I zigzagged through the city and came to my destination, Plaza Mayor. All of a sudden I had left the 21st century and walked back in time to a square rich in Spanish history. From old town meetings, beheadings and the tapas restaurants that now lined the square, the history of Madrid became much clearer to me. The beautiful Spanish architecture reflected off the cobblestone streets from the rain that had fallen several hours earlier. Eagerly, I grabbed my camera and began shooting. After taking shots from every conceivable angle I took a seat at one of the open air cafes and ordered a few tapas and a glass of wine. This was the Madrid I was looking for.