Friday, January 29, 2010

Rooftop Views: Morocco

It is interesting how environment and culture combines to determine how people use their personal space. My own environment is snow-covered during the winter months. People usually build houses with peaked roofs so that the snow will not collect on them. They can not use the roofs for much else, so they interact socially either inside of their houses or in the land that surrounds their houses. Morocco, on the other hand, sees little or no snowfall except in the high mountains. It also has strong cultural constraints regarding the interaction of men and women who are not family members. As a result, the flat roofs of Morocco are walled for privacy and are places where family members can gather far from the eyes of strangers.

The photos in this post were either of the houses of fellow Peace Corps volunteers or from rooftop and window views. A couple of them were taken from the window of the apartment where we lived in Kenitra. Those taken from our apartment window were done so that we could capture examples of the daily life of Moroccans. Normally politeness would dictate that we ignore the activities on the other rooftop and would respect the privacy of the family that lived there. Outside of the home, many Moroccan women wore a dark burkha. One of the other things I should mention is the dog on the rooftop in opposite our apartment in Kenitra. In traditional Muslim culture dogs were considered to be "unclean" animals. The dog seen on the rooftop was a watchdog and burglar alarm, not a pet.

I included photos from a variety of settings. Tangiers is a major city in the north. Kenitra is a smaller city on the coast in northwest Morocco. Midelt is a city on the high plains between the Middle Atlas and the High Atlas Mountains. Casablanca is a cosmopolitan coastal city further to the south. In the Casablanca photo you can see a blend of the traditional and modern ways of life.

I hope that you have enjoyed your Moroccan rooftop views. Please feel free to stop by again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


All of photos in this post were taken in 1974-75 with a 35mm camera in Morocco. I have used a slide scanner to copy them and have tried to use a photo editing program to clean up slide flaws, scratches, and other photo-ageing events.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Taste of Wisconsin Winter

I thought that I would share some winter images, especially as I know that some of you live in tropical paradises that are much different than the place where I live. Some of the photos in this post were taken in Sheboygan Harbor where the waters of the Sheboygan River run into Lake Michigan. Here you will, at times, find ice-bound fishing boats, snow-blown shanties, and a lighthouse pier with crashing waves. Within just a few miles of these watery scenes, you can enter preserved woodlands and explore another aspect of nature. Hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, and encounters with woodland creatures is all part of the experience. It is the availability of these two settings that has drawn me to this place and makes it possible for me to be very content here when I am not traveling. It is also a good place to return to at the end of a trip.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope that you have enjoyed your visit and will come again. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Street Scenes Unposed

Winter brings out the restlessness in me. I am a person who enjoys the outdoors and travel. Wandering in new places, seeing sights that are different from the place that I call "home", something that snowbound Wisconsin makes less likely.

The photos in this post have urban settings. They show people in places that allow outdoor cafes and walks along boulevards and side streets most of the year. While I truly like where I live, I envy those who are not forced to spend less of their winter months in closed environments.

For the most part these photos reflect aspects of Paris, some with landmarks that many of you may recognize. One photo is of a less urban setting where bicycles and pedestrians flourish and life is a bit slower, or at least appears so to the outsider. All of them bring out my urge to travel again. Soon...just two months until Britain (Wales, Scotland, and England). Until then I'll revisit my photos and plan for the trip that is next.

Thank you for visiting. May your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Geometrically Marrakesh

One more visit to Morocco of th 1970's. Photos in this post are of a house located on the outskirts of Marrakesh. The builder brought in traditional artisans to create a home of beauty. As the Koran forbids "graven images", all designs consist of geometric figures.
While I was less than a brillant student of geometry, I can appreciate the artistry that is found within this setting.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to stop by again. Future posts will be of other times and places. In the meantime, may your own travels be both interesting and enjoyable.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Volubilis-A Trip Into the Past

Picture a Roman city established around 300 B.C.E. in what is now Morocco. High, overlooking the plains between Rabat and Meknes the settlement of Volubilis was of great import to the Roman empire in North Africa. . I wonder what life was like for this settlement now populated by grazing sheep and wandering tourists. Life on the plateau was physically separate from that of the Berbers who lived on the plains. As we now begin our own journey into the year 2010 C.E., I also wonder what will remain behind of our own civilization in the year 4510 C.E., a comparable time-span from Volubilis to the present. Have you ever wished for the ability to travel in time, or is the present and an understanding of the past enough++

Volubilis is an example of how peoples and cultures come together at cross roads. It is also an example of how what appears to be “permanent” becomes a relatively forgotten thing of the past. Perhaps to those of you who live in countries with a richer recorded history than my own, this is commonplace, and not worth taking note of. To me, it is a thing of interest and wonder.

Thank you for visiting, I hope that you have enjoyed your brief visit to the remnants of Roman North Africa. May your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.

Happy New Year!



A couple comments I need to make about these photos, some of you have read them before. All of photos in this post were taken in 1974-75 with a 35mm camera in Morocco. I have used a slide scanner to copy them and have tried to use a photo editing program to clean up slide flaws, scratches, and other photo-ageing events. The other comment I must make is that I can not be sure whether Lori or I took a particular photo. Digital cameras leave identifying traces on individual shots, 35 mm slides do not. I can guarantee that I am the editor, if not necessarily the actual photographer. Therefore, as editor, I will take "credit" for any photographic flaw in the series. I just hope that you enjoy the sights of Morocco as much as I have enjoyed revisiting them through this process.