A perfect Sunday in Marrakech!

In search of a traditional Moroccan wedding blanket, she hopped on the back of her friend’s scooter and headed to the weekly local market.

As the sun beat down, the two stopped for sweetened yogurt drinks and munched on fresh roasted almonds while rummaging through old antiques.  He patiently explained what each one was.  And she couldn’t resist picking up some new pieces for her parents’ antique-filled home.

All the while, it brought back memories of spending Sundays rummaging through flea markets with one of her favourite people EVER, her grandpa!  Except she was surrounded by the walls of the old Marrakech medina.

She didn’t find her blanket because in true flea market fashion, you never know what you’ll see.

Like the inside of a slot machine.  Which obviously it brought back memories of weekends in Las Vegas.

And tapes.  To bring back memories of a three-day bus ride across Canada with only three mixed tapes.  (She’ll never complain again about only having an 8 Gb iPod.)

Happy Sunday!

Realist vs. Pessimist

After an exciting 2010 filled with travelling, exciting professional opportunities and planning a move to Morocco, I’m getting a bit bored. I made here. Got a job. Made some friends. Now I need to do something.

So in true Miss Mandy fashion, I’ve got an idea. A big idea! After all, I’m a dreamer. And always have been. For the most part, I follow through on my ideas.

But a conversation the other day got me down. And thinking about realists and pessimists.

As a dreamer, I tend to associate myself with other dreamers. Motivators. People who help you find creative solutions to a problem. After all, the path to following a dream isn’t always linear.

Nor is it problem-free.

But if you want to achieve your dream, you’ll find a way.

After all, if things were that easy, you wouldn’t have dreams. Things would just be effortless and come naturally.

Enter the pessimist.

They’re the ones who come along, typically out of nowhere, and kick your dream in the face. Knock you down when you’re full of ambition. For no reason.  And no real reasoning. Make you feel like you’ll never achieve anything.

Bullies of the adult playground.

But they don’t matter. Nope. They’re just a bully.

It’s just that unfortunately, sometimes it’s easier to believe the pessimist than the realist.

My favourite day of the month!

I love payday.  Like really love payday. Live for payday.

So you could imagine my shock and horror when I was informed that payday in Morocco takes places once a month.

Now that you’ve caught your breath, I’ll continue.

Given an unfortunate event that caused many tourists to cancel their trips to Marrakech, I felt it my duty to support the local economy.

And here’s just a sample of the goodies I found in the souks of the old medina in Marrakech.

Sparkly babouche for a some sparkly ladies

Sparkly babouche for a some sparkly ladies

How pretty are the white slippers for my friend? I had to put them on my blog to hold myself accountable. Otherwise, I’d be wearing them around myself. And the cute little pink ones for her darling little girl who loves to play dress up.

Little treats from the leather souks

Little treats from the leather souks

A treat for my sister
A treat for my sister

Oldest sister also get some Moroccan body care products like yummy black soap and the most amazing bath products.  But they aren’t that photogenic.  So no photo provided.

And a treat for my feet!

And a treat for my feet!

I also bought a new black one-piece suit which I can’t wait to wear.  Love. one-piece. suits!

Wanna come shopping with me??!!

Miss Mandy loving the kitchen!

Tonight I was bored.  So I did something I don’t think I’ve ever before done for fun.

I cooked.  

I know, you’re thinking, “that’s not the Mandy I know!”

I wasn’t even hungry.  But I really love cooking my own tajines.  Heading to the souks to buy the fresh vegetables and olives, the herb man for the fresh spices, the butcher for the meat (definitely freshly cut if you know what I mean 😉 and then to the community bread oven.  Because, after all, what would tajine be without fresh-out-of-the-oven bread?

So here what I did:

Sliced the onions to line the bottom of the tajine

Add the carrot sticks with the centres removed (the lighter coloured bits)

Slice the potato and place over top

Then add green pepper, peeled zucchini slices, tomatoes and peas.

Sprinkle fresh cumin, pepper and salt and lots of coriander.

Drizzle some olive oil around. (Right now I’m loving the fresh-pressed olive oil I got as a gift from a friend in the desert. YUM!)

Cook for about an hour, checking regularly.

Et bon appetit!

(Apparently tajines are super easy to make.  But for me it’s a huge feat.)

What I’m listening to these days

I’ve discovered Yala.fm which just recently launched, offering free Arabic music.  For online listening and downloads.  Yet the artists get compensated.

Given my love of music, I’m super happy about the opportunity to hear new artists.  Right now I’m loving Jannat and Sofia Marikh.  So much that I’m trying to figure out a way to go see Sofia Marikh perform at Mawazine festival in Rabat next week.

Have a listen.  Even if, like me, you have no idea what they’re singing about.