Saturday, November 28, 2009


It's been over a month since I last posted and I feel a little guilty. In our defense though, we've been a little busy. I'll post more in detail when we have more time and internet at our disposal, but wanted to give you something.

We've been traveling now for a little over a month. We will be back in the states next week. Its a little crazy to think about, so I try not to.

We've been making our transition back to the developed world in stages: from Guinea to Mali, from Mali to Morocco, from Morocco to Spain. Each stop along the way has been progressively more developed, and with that, more expensive unfortunately.

Mali out-does Guinea by having (besides a recognized government and not having a military that rapes and kills its citizens...) advances like paved roads and electricity in most big cities. A good indicator of their development in my mind is that there is a seemingly good-sized middle class that can afford 'luxury' items like prepackaged goods and eating out. Another random advancement: animal rather than child labor. (ie: using donkey or horses to plow fields and pull carts of goods rather than children.)

Morocco was an even larger step up. We were actually quite blown away by the vast differences and the fact that it is still considered a 'developing nation.' They still rely on basics like donkeys (what else can get a load of cement through the narrow market roads? really, sometimes basic is better.) and life in the village, I'm sure, is quite different than the life I saw in the cities. But Morocco has McDonald's and a shopping mall with Versace. Yet there are still Peace Corps Volunteers there... hmmm...

Spain is developed. And extremely cold.  And extremely expensive. We spent more than a weeks wage on our dinner last night. (Granted, we were only making about $240 a month...) It's shocking to see the differences and expense in ways of life.  But we're having fun.

Here are some picture highlights of our trip so far:

Taking a 3 day boat trip up the Niger to Timbuktu.  We slept on the deck with people who were transporting their produce upriver.

We bought some turbans for desert travel.

Riding out into the Sahara on camels.

Sleeping out in the desert

Trying new foods -- this night it was snail soup and sheep head.
A cooking class in Marrakesh.  We learned to make a Moroccan salad and a chicken tajine with lemon.  mmmmm....

So much delicious food!  I think I would come back to Morocco just for the food...

Amazing produce and selection of foods.  Here is an olive shop in the Marrakesh market.

We'll post more when we can!