No standing on the wing…

In 77 days, I traveled 64,968 miles;
139 hours on a plane; 66 additional hours in airports waiting for planes.
 An estimated 7 hours on ferries; 10 hours on buses; 20 hours in cars.
I walked an average of 4.5 miles a day. Flying home…not once did I have the urge to stand on the wing…

No standing on the wing

“Here’s looking at you kid!”

Pictured here at Le Magasin Solidaire et Equitable, Christophe Labesse proudly represents women entrepreneurs all over Morocco who come together to sell spices, traditional health remedies, food stuffs and many different types of honey.  Currently, the NGO women-owned cooperative consists of about 50 women. The storefront in Casablanca is hard to find but worth the effort. Behind the upscale Hotel Sofitel in the parking lot, a one story building without a sign holds a treasure trove of Moroccan-produced products. Check out their web sit at Le Magasin Solidaire et Equitable ( press translate. Ex-pat Kathy Kriger, owner of Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca (and a native of Portland, Oregon) told me about this resource. She sources the coffee served at her Casablanca “must-visit” restaurant – Rick’s Cafe – from this cooperative.  

Magasin Equitable Casablanca

Park bench bunch

Ninety eight percent of the  population in Morrocco lives in urban areas with around 25%  under age 15 and 9% over 60 years old.  Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco – with an estimated  population of nearly 6 million.Parkbench men Casablanca

Fashion forward at the Rabat Railway station

Women’s fashion is all over the map in Morocco. 
At the railwary station in Rabat, women passengers are connecting to either of just 2 tracks: the North-South link from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech or the East-West connection linking Oujda in the East via Fes to Rabat. Under development, the national railway-operator ONCF is working on a high-speed railway from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech.
Rabat Train station

The bees have it

Flowers are casually cultivated along the winding streets of Casa. Hibiscus, bougainvillea, and bird of paradise crane out of cracks and crannies in walls along the old stone streets of Grand Casablanca. Shown blooming here, Sansevieria trifasciata, also called snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue or Saint George’s sword is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to tropical West Africa from Nigeria east to the Congo.  An urban bee and I are both attracted to it as we stroll along the white walls of the streets of Casa.

Mother In-law tongue bee

Parkour at the King’s Palace

Since the reign of sultan Muhammad ibn Abdallah, the Alaouite sultans and kings have maintained a palace in Rabat.

Although kings had many residences at their disposal, when independence was declared in 1956, they chose to keep the Dâr-al-Makhzen palace as the main palace of the monarch. Parkouring off the palace gate is Othmane el Alaom – holding the lock steady is Adnane.
Parkour off King's Palace door

Parliament of Morocco

The role of Parliament, and the respect of the monarchy for its integrity, has increased considerably since 1999, when Mohammed VI took the throne. However, the power of Parliament is still being limited as it is the King who appoints the prime minister and on proposition from the latter, the members of government. The Parliament of Morocco is located in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.
Since 1996, the national legislature has become bicameral and has therefore two parliamentary chambers:  The House of Representatives or the lower house has 395 members elected directly for a five-year term. The House of Councillors is elected indirectly for a nine-year term by two sets of electoral colleges. The Members of Parliament come from Morocco and the Moroccan-held parts of Western Sahara.
Rabat Parliament Bldg 2

Hassan II Mosque

Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau, the Hassan II Mosque is the largest in North Africa, and the third largest in the world. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, the sea bed being visible through the glass floor of the building’s hall. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable.  A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds. Work on the mosque was started in 1980, and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II, in 1989. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of the building.. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca.
Casablanca 1


The largest city of Morocco, Casablanca is located in the western part of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. One of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically, Casablanca is Morocco’s chief port and industrial center. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco.Casablanca

Clouds over the Tropic of Cancer

Crossing another imaginary line…The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its culmination. This event occurs once per year, at the time of the Northern solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent. As of 16 March 2015, it lies at 23°2614.3 north of the Equator. The Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer are two of the five major degree measures or major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The positions of these circles of latitude (other than the Equator) are dictated by the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation relative to the plane of its orbit. The Tropic of Cancer position is not fixed, but varies in a complicated manner over time. It drifts south almost half a second (0.47) of latitude per year (it was at exactly 23° 27 in year 1917).Cloud soup over Africa

Clouds over the Tropic of Capricorn

As of 14 March 2015, The Tropic of Capricorn’s latitude is 23°2614.3 south of the Equator, but it is very gradually moving northward, currently at the rate of 0.47 arcseconds, or 15 meters, per year. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth.
The Tropic of Capricorn is the dividing line between the Southern Temperate Zone to the south and the tropics to the north. The northern hemisphere equivalent of the Tropic of Capricorn is the Tropic of Cancer. The position of the Tropic of Capricorn is not fixed, but rather it varies in a complex manner over time.

From Cape town to Doha to Casablanca – oh my!

Recovering from a sinus infection, flying on the Boeing Dreamliner at 40,000 feet on Qatar Air – I could feel the difference. It is the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 was designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is replacing. For those geeks among us, the Dreamliner’s distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. With more fresh air and humidity and a cabin pressure of 6,000 feet to minimize discomfort, Boeing claims that one in four travelers experience some form of ‘respiratory distress’ after flying 12 hours in a conventional aircraft with a cabin pressure of 8,000 feet, but this plummets to 5-6 per cent at 6,000 feet.

Flight over Tropic of Capricorn

Rhodes Memorial

Rhodes Memorial on Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, South Africa, is a memorial to English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853–1902) designed by Sir Herbert Baker. The memorial is situated at Rhodes’s favorite spot on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. Rhodes’s own wooden bench is still situated below the memorial. The magnificent view facing north-east can be imagined as the start of the Cape to Cairo road, Rhodes’s imperial dream of a British colonial Africa which had Rhodes as one of its greatest champions. Rhodes owned vast areas of the lower slopes of Table Mountain, most of which he gave to the nation on his death. Part of his estate was used for the University of Cape Town upper campus, part is now the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, while much else of it was spared from development.
Rhodes Memorial

The Table Cloth

Table Mountain is at the northern end of a sandstone mountain range that forms the spine of the Cape Peninsula.  The flat top of the mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain’s slopes into colder air, where the moisture condenses to form the so-called “table cloth” of cloud. Legend attributes this phenomenon to a smoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks. When the table cloth is seen, it symbolizes the contest – and the fact tht Van Hunks won! This broad sweep of mountainous heights, together with Signal Hill, forms the natural amphitheater of the City Bowl and Table Bay harbor.  In the foreground is Cape Grace hotel where Bill Clinton stayed when he visited South Africa as United States President.

Tablecloth descends on Table Mountain


Because of its position along one of the world’s busiest trade routes, Cape town is one of the busiest ports in South Africa, handling the largest amount of fresh fruit and second only to Durban as a container port. The port also has significant repair and maintenance facilities that are used by several large fishing fleets and parts of the West African oil industry. Tankers wait offshore at Sea Point

Sea Point

Sea Point is a suburb of Cape Town and is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Cape Town’s well known Lion’s Head to the south-east and the Atlantic ocean to the north-west. It is a high density area, where space is at a premium. Houses are built in close proximity to one another towards the surrounding mountainside, while apartment buildings are more common in the central area and toward the beach-front. An important communal space is the beach-front promenade, a paved walkway along the beach-front used by residents and tourists for walking, jogging or socializing.

Sea Point Cape town

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion’s Head peaks at 2,195 ft above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park. The suburbs of the city surround the peak and Signal Hill on almost all sides, but strict management by city authorities has kept development of housing off the higher ground. The area is significant to the Cape Malay community, who historically lived in the Bo-Kaap quarter close to Lion’s Head. There are a number of historic graves and shrines of Malay leaders on the lower slopes and on Signal Hill.

Lion's Head Sea Point

Three Anchor Bay

Adjoining Sea Point is Three Anchor Bay. The beaches along this stretch are in the main covered with mussel shells thrown up by the ocean, unlike the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, which are sandy. The rocks off the beaches at Sea Point are in large part basaltic, of late Precambrian age and internationally famous in the history of geology.Seaside Capetown Beach rocks

Central City Train Station

As I photographed the skyline at Central City Station, a whistle blew behind me and these 2 suspected pick pockets hot footed in front of my camera.  A city of contrasts, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS) statistics for the year ending in March 2011, a total of 1 336 robberies were reported in the central part of the city. That’s an average approaching 4 robberies per day.

Pickpockets flee Capetown train station

Here kitty kitty…

On my way to Cape Town railway station  in the city’s central business district, I met these kitties – involved with the Amazing Race for their employer: Get Smarter.  
Get Smarter provides online education services accessible across Africa for the University of Cape Town with 2 postgraduate degree diplomas in either The UCT Advanced Diploma in Business Project Management; and the UCT Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Marketing. Me-ow!
Riding the train with Get Smarter

Devil’s Peak

The north-facing lower slopes of Devil’s Peak are situated near the suburb of Observatory. The slope runs into the Liesbeeck River and, as such much of present-day lower Observatory was a marshy estuary formed by the rivers, where buffalo, hippo, elephant, zebra, jackals, antelope, lions and leopards were once prevalent. 
Today it is an alternative part of town, with ‘New Age’ style stores, and South Africa’s only anarchist infoshop.  It is popular with students and is affectionately known as “obs”. 
During the years of apartheid, Observatory was one of the few de facto ‘grey’ suburbs where all races lived

First Bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge, also called the First Bosphorus Bridge or simply the First Bridge  is one of two suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait  in Istanbul, Turkey; thus connecting Europe and Asia. The bridge is located between Ortaköy (on the European side) and Beylerbeyi (on the Asian side). It is a gravity anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers. When it was completed in 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge was the 4th longest suspension bridge span in the world, and the longest outside the United States. At present, it is the 22nd longest suspension bridge span in the world.First bridge at night

Tea time for Fido

No one knows how many street cats and dogs there are in Turkey. One estimate is that in Istanbul, a city of 11.3 million people, there are at least 150,000 free-roaming dogs. Free-roaming dogs have been documented in Istanbul for several hundred years at least, perhaps longer.Tea time for fido

Blooming jellyfish

In recent years, the ecological role of jellyfish within coastal marine ecosystems with high production has become an increasing concern globally.
The Marmara Sea is considered to be a biological corridor or a transition zone between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Chrysaora hysoscella (Linnaeus, 1767) have tended to form increasingly blooms in coastal areas of the Marmara Sea in the 2000s.
Jellyfish blooms may intrinsically be linked to over-fishing,Jellyfish on the Maramar Sea

The Maiden’s Tower

Since the medieval Byzantine period, The Maiden’s Tower is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus strait  220 yards from the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1110, Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus built a wooden tower protected by a stone wall.  From the tower an iron chain stretched across to another tower erected on the European shore, at the quarter of Mangana in Constantinople. The islet was then connected to the Asiatic shore through a defense wall, whose underwater remains are still visible. During the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, the tower held a Byzantine garrison commanded by the Venetian Gabriele Trevisano. Subsequently, the structure was used as a watchtower by the Ottoman Turks during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

The Maiden's Tower 2

Horon along Bosphorus Strait

The Bosphorus Strait forms the boundary between Europe and Asia, and is world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation.
It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara – and anyone who wants to join in to dance. Just put your hand out, and someone will take it and show you the steps to the horon – a group of a traditional folk dances from the Black Sea region of Turkey.Horon Native Turkish Dance

Pinhâni rocks Istanbul!

Everyone knows their name – Pinhâni – they are  famous in Turkey. 
They recorded the theme song for a very successful tv teen drama “Kavak Yelleri”- Turkey’s version of “Friends”.  
They have produced 4 albums, and are a crowd pleaser -
Featured here (left to right) : 
Guest artist Ertan Şahin, Selim Aydın, Sinan Kaynakçı, lead singer, Eray Polat. 
On drums Hami Unlu, and Tamer Karaoğlu  (not seen) on accordion and keyboard. 
Pinhâni was founded in April, 2004 by two cousins Sinan Kaynakçı and Zeynep Eylül Üçer as a Modern Rock band in Turkey.
 Tuba talks 2