Photo of the Week – Around the World in 3 hours

I LOVED Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando growing up, but didn’t know why.

Now I know!

I was able to see so many different “cultures” from around the world in one place.

Yes, I know – it’s not the way to go experience Japan, or Norway, or Morocco – but when I was 7 years old, I couldn’t keep my mouth closed. It all just fascinated me to no end!

So here is the most recognizable object at Epcot Center – Also one of my favorite rides there (besides Norway!) – Spaceship Earth.

Morocco from years past

Many months ago, when I first started this blog, I discovered the journal I had written in when I took a course in Morocco in my university days.

Excerpt One

Excerpt Two

It was quite entertaining to read, since it was basically my first major trip I took in a plane (my first was to Cuba a few months earlier). I was quite the unseasoned traveler.

Here is another excerpt from my journal (picture my wide eyes the entire entry!):

Tuesday August 31st


Hangin by the water in 45 degree weather

We started along the winding roads today on an air conditioned bus to take a tour of the new part of the city of Marrakech. We also visited the large reservoir that provides the city with clean water, which was very interesting to see.

It’s actually so beautiful almost anywhere we go, so unbelievable!

After the city tour, our group was heading to the Casba de Toubkal for a few nights of peaceful rest. The bus ride up the mountain was very unique…the landscape suddenly switched from flat city streets – to foothills – to mountains right before my eyes within 2 minutes.

Hiking for 15 minutes to Casba de Toubkal was a killer – especially with an oncoming migrane, 40 degree weather and 2 large backpacks. But when I got to the entrance and I saw all of the flower gardens, it took what remaining breath I had away.

View from the Casbah, sigh...

It is so amazing here, as I am writing this on the rooftop “casbah” filled with richly coloured pillows to sink into. I think I am in a dream!

Dinner was so delicious as well, I love the food here! Lentil soup and a hearty vegetable stew served in gorgeous tagines.

Hopefully my migrane will go away soon so that I can enjoy my time even more here!

Spectacular skylines I have seen

Seen a few cities in my day, I have.

Toronto, Ontario

San Francisco, California

New York, New York

Honolulu, Hawaii

Montreal, Quebec

Chicago, Illinois

Vancouver, BC

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Rome, Italy

Victoria, BC

Venice, Italy

Calgary, Alberta

Matera, Italy

Florence, Italy

Quebec City, Quebec

Detroit, Michigan what!

Marrakesh, Morocco

Vieste, Italy


Las Vegas, Nevada

Cancun, Mexico


Global Bazaar

Travel and Leisure magazine, American Express, and Delta bring you ‘Global Bazaar’, in New York City.

This is what you get:

“Through sensory installations, authentic culinary experiences, unique merchandise from around the globe, live performances, and much more–T+L will celebrate the world and the joy of exploring it.”

Check out what you can buy too! I’ll go for the Moroccan furnishings, since I was unable to bring much home when I went a few years ago.

You also get a free subscription to T + L Magazine (tickets are between $50-75).

Representing Canada (maybe I could help out??!!):

Wait…ok, I have a secret too. I really would love to go to this just so I had an excuse to head to NYC for a few days. But I am sure I could think of many other excuses another day….

Memories of Morocco

These were taken when I was in university, when digital cameras were not the cool thing to do yet…It’s entertaining when I go back and read the journal I took when in Morocco. Wide eyes!

Tasty Tuesday

I am waiting for my food to arrive for lunch right now, and I am quite starving today. After daydreaming about my trip to Morocco yesterday evening, I am feeling a bit peckish for some olives, oranges, and meat tagine!

Here is my ideal meal at this very moment, brought to you by

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) lamb, beef or goat meat
  • 1 1/2 lbs. (700 g) potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • small handful of parsley and cilantro sprigs, tied into a bouquet
  • large handful of red or green olives
  • 1/2 or 1 whole preserved lemon, quartered


Clay or Ceramic Tagine Method

Pour the olive oil into the base of a tagine; arrange the onion slices across the bottom and distribute the garlic on top. Add the potato slices (you can arrange them neatly if you like) and place the meat on top of the potatoes in the center.

Sprinkle the spices as evenly as possible over the meat and potatoes. Add the parsley bouquet, the olives, the preserved lemon, and about 1 1/2 cups of water.

Cover the tagine and place on a diffuser over medium-low to medium heat and allow the tagine to reach a simmer. This can take some time so be patient. Once a simmer is achieved, reduce the heat to the lowest temperature necessary to maintain the simmer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender and can be broken with the fingers.

Conventional Pot or Pressure Cooker Method

Chop the onion rather than slicing it. Cut the potatoes into wedges rather than slices. Chop the parsley and cilantro.

Mix the meat with onion, garlic, cilantro or parsley, spices and olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker. Brown the meat, uncovered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 cups of water and cover. If using a conventional pot, simmer the meat for about 1 1/2 hours; if using a pressure cooker, cook the meat with pressure for about 35 minutes, or a little longer if using lamb or goat meat.

Add the potatoes, olives and preserved lemon, adding water if necessary so that the broth almost reaches the top of the potatoes. Partially cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is reduced until thick. Towards the end of the cooking, taste for salt and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Think I can blink twice and it will appear before me?

An except, part II

A few weeks ago, I found the journal I used for my trip to Morocco and started posting some of the writing on this blog. It’s quite interesting since it was my first real experience of culture shock. This was new, this travelling thing for me, and Morocco was a world totally different than the one I knew, growing up in a rural community in Ontario.

Monday August 30th

We took a horse and carriage on a tour of the Old Medina. We got to see many of the older buildings and the magnificant wall around the city. There are cats all around, as well as men sitting around under the shade of trees. The women walk around carrying their goods on their head, what talent! The marketplace was very colourful. There was a wide variety of food and crafts to purchase. It was a very busy place!

The people weren’t very surprised to see us walking through. It didn’t smell too great walking past some of the meat and fish places. We came out of the market place into a garbage dump!! They look nothing like the garbage dumps in Canada. There looks to be a lot less garbage here, as people set up a whole business around removing the old items such as mattresses from the dump to recycle them and sell again, so says our guide. Better recycling in this country than ours!

Next stop was the tannery. We were given a mint leaf to hold to our nose. And that mint was the most important article in my possession for the entire tour of this place. There was animal hair all over the ground. There were also large white square holes in the ground where there was dirty water and other substances that were used to make the leather. I was glad to get out of there, even though it was fascinating to see how the leather was made there. All the different processes were amazing to see, but that smell gave me quite a migrane after a few moments.

The rest of the tour consisted of looking at the various shops and entering a baker. The bakery smelled heavenly, after that tannery. But it also was a very dark and dismal place to work.

We visited a pharmacist who told us about various natural products in his store. They he passed out bags to each of us so that we could purchase his goods. Nothing really stood out to me, but the clever way they set it up by announcing each product and how it miraculously cured this or that, somehow made it easier for me to pick up a few things….hmmmm. So $15 later, I have a few souvenirs for home.

Oh boy. I type this except shaking my head as well. I can just picture my eyes, so wide they are almost popping out of their sockets.

Give me a sign

I love stumbling upon odd street signs while exploring a city. It could almost be classified as a secret hobby to me. I have many random street sign pictures and billboards from all of my travels. Check out a few that bring a smile to my face every time I see them.

'Scuze, where can I find pizza in Italy??

Sorry, which way should I run in case of a tsunami? Hilo, Hawaii

Marrakesh, Morocco, it happens!

Caution - spelling errors - read at your own risk. Kona, Hawaii

What would the milk look like? The Big Island of Hawaii

An exerpt

I went to Morocco for a university course in 2004 and one of the requirements was to keep a journal every day. This trip was the second flight I have ever taken (wow!), the first being to Cuba the year before with some of my friends. What an eye opener, this adventure was; an amazing eye opener! This trip was really the tipping point for my obsession with travel.

Here is my first entry, makes me smile because of my “wide eyes”:

August 29, 2004:
Traffic is insane here. It’s so hard to cross the street. It is confusing as well. Everyone knows where they are going except us, so it is hard to get around with everyone pushing. There are no lanes on the road and there are buses, bikes, motorcycles, and cars all beeping!
You can see the mosque from our hotel, it looks surreal and hauntingly beautiful with the sun setting as I write this from the rooftop of the hotel.
We are staying at Hotel de Foucauld in Marrakesh.

It is so hot here, sweat is common! Even when the sun is behind the clouds it is almost unbearable. I find it hard to breathe the air is so heavy, and then on top of that, you have the people in the medina coking and hot smoke is blowing in your face.

The medina was so crowded with various people asking for your money (fortune tellers, water sellers, crafts, henna…). Little boys and girls come up and beg for money or try to sell you small things like kleenex and paper crafts.

I think I slept 2 hours in the past 2 days.
There are a variety of ways that the women wear their clothing. There are ones that are covered from head to toe, tourists with short skirts and tank tops and then women in pants and t-shirts (I am the latter). The men sit along the sidewalk enjoying the view from cafes, no women allowed. At around 4:15pm there was a man calling form the mosque, such a gorgeously haunting sound, signaling time for prayer. Best part so far! I will remember that sound for a long time.

Wow. this journal entry sounded like I was scared and hating Morocco. It was actually quite the oppposite. I think I was in a bit of culture shock, which quickly went away. I will post more excepts from my journey in Morocco soon!