Thursday, 27 March 2008

my heart is crying

I have LOADS to tell you about Paris, and I know, I know, I owe you the end story of Italy. What can I tell you, life keeps getting in the way of my writing. But today, this is too important for anything else to be here. How can the world ignore this?

The New York Times
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March 28, 2008
Protesting Monks Embarrass China During Press Tour

SHANGHAI — Tibetan monks shouting pro-independence slogans caught Chinese officials by surprise Thursday during a highly scripted tour for Western journalists in Lhasa’s central Buddhist temple, disrupting China’s effort to portray the recent Tibetan rioting as the work of violent criminal thugs and separatists.

“Tibet is not free! Tibet is not free!” yelled one young Buddhist monk, who then started crying, according to an Associated Press correspondent in the tour.

Government handlers shouted for the journalists to leave and tried to pull them away during the 15-minute protest by about 30 monks at the Jokhang Monastery in central Lhasa. It was unclear whether the protesting monks were arrested.

The demonstration amounted to another embarrassment for China, which organized the press tour to help sway international opinion, which has focused on China’s heavy crackdown and arrests in the aftermath of the riots and led to talk of a boycott of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Chinese wanted the reporters to see damage caused by the rioters and interview Chinese victims of the violence, the worst here in 20 years.

Reporters on the tour said the monks shouted that there was no religious freedom in Tibet and that the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, had been wrongly accused by China of responsibility for the rioting.

China’s official news agency, Xinhua, mentioned the unscripted protest in a brief dispatch, saying 12 monks “stormed into a briefing by a temple administrator to cause chaos.”

Some American news organizations were invited to send representatives on the press tour. The New York Times was not.

On Wednesday, the reporters on the tour received a detailed schedule for the trip and shown a video about the riots, said the reporter present in the group who did not want to be identified.

Before the protest by the monks, the foreign reporters had already been shown a Tibet medical clinic near to the temple that had apparently been attacked, and shown a clothing store that had been burned, according to the A.P.

The monks involved in the protest first spoke Tibetan and then switched to Mandarin so the reporters could understand them, the A.P. reported. They had rushed over to stop the reporters from being taken into an inner part of the temple, saying they were upset that a government administrator was telling the reporters that Tibet had been part of China for centuries, the A.P. said.

The monks said troops who had been guarding the temple since March 14 were removed the night before the reporters’ visit, the news agency said.

In contrast to the controls on foreign journalists, about 20 journalists from China’s state-controlled media have been allowed into Tibet and other largely Tibetan areas.

The Chinese media have been driving home Beijing’s message: that Tibetan separatists acted as terrorists during the violence, while the government responded with restraint in quelling the riots, and that innocent Chinese were the victims of looting, burning and assault.

China said Wednesday that 660 people implicated in the Tibetan protests and riots had surrendered to the authorities.

The announcement was part of the government’s effort to quell continuing unrest in the area, which includes Tibet and adjoining provinces with large Tibetan populations.

It was unclear from the announcement how many of the 660 had surrendered voluntarily and how many would be formally charged with criminal offenses. Nor was it clear whether all were ethnic Tibetans.

Tibet and neighboring provinces with large Tibetan populations are now under tight military control, with roadblocks and house-to-house searches for suspects. But there have been daily reports of protests and sporadic violence in some regions, people in those areas say.

This week, the Chinese government issued a “most wanted” list with the names of 53 people who it says took part in antigovernment protests, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 and settled in India, has insisted in recent weeks that he had no role in the violent protests and that he does not favor independence for Tibet. He has also said he opposes an Olympics boycott, and he recently offered to resign if Tibetans in western China continued to engage in violence.

Shortly after the March 14 riot, the government began forcing foreign journalists out of Lhasa. Government blockades have also prevented foreign journalists from reaching Tibetan areas in neighboring provinces.

Inside China, the state-owned media are publishing and broadcasting images of Tibetans burning and looting Chinese shops in Tibet and attacking ethnic Han Chinese. The images and reports have helped inflame anger at Tibetans among the Chinese.

Chen Yang contributed research.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

both sad and happy

It is sunny here in Paris and bloody cold (huzzah!). My former home has given me all of the best of Paris weather. And yes the trip was a success in oh so many ways. On every former trip to Paris I have always been propositioned several times. With this BIG birthday around the corner I wanted to test it one more time. Success! Not one, but two - well one was a proposition, the other a pick up - Jon Phillip and Thomas. Full details to come once I return to the land of sun, camels, hannouts, djellabas, and Allah.

Like the old traveler I am, I packed one of those fold um' up luggage bags in my carry on. It is now unfolded and filled with the results of my shopping! And I haven't even made it to the book shop yet! That is on the agenda this afternoon.

Oh yes it has been a glorious trip. I visited all my old memories, found that Paris is much more crowded than when I lived here, or even my last visit, but St. Germain is just the same - posh, pricey stores of every ilk, sleek women, rich men, little dogs and elegant restaurants. sigh

I'm off to soak up as much of Paris as I can before I leave tonight. Ciao lovely readers.

Friday, 21 March 2008

for the world

Please take a moment of your time and flow thoughts of compassion and strength to the Tibetans demonstrating, and fighting for their freedom and the world's attention.

How many Tibetans have died as a result of the Chinese occupation?

The following table was made up by the Bureau of Information of the
Tibetan government-in-exile:


CAUSE OF DEATH U-Tsang Kham Amdo Total
Tortured in prison 93,560 64,877 14,784 173,221
Executed 28,267 32,266 96,225 156,758
Killed in fighting 143,253 240,410 49,042 432,705
Starved to death 131,072 89,916 121,982 342,970
Suicide 3,375 3,952 1,675 9,002
"Struggled" to death 27,951 48,840 15,940 97,731

TOTAL 427,478 480,361 299,648 1,207,387

The number has continued to increase. The Chinese have imported thousands of Hans to breed out the population. China has attempted to usurp the role as head of the Buddhist religion. They built a train to the plateau in order to bring in more people. They have destroyed the ecology of the Tibetan plateau.

Tibetans are the most gentle and loving people you would ever want to meet, with an ancient and beautiful culture.

Can the world really afford to let China destroy Tibet? - in order to have good trade relations? in order to placate the government? Can our collective consciousness survive that betrayal. How much money for the war in Iraq? It's in the trillions now I believe... How about some of that good will for Tibet?

I cannot count the tears that have been shed over the destruction and subjugation of this wonderful country.

If you can, please post on this matter - bring it to the attention of as many people as possible. Your karma will improve - trust me:-)

New York Times

International Herald Tribune

Huzzah! for Nancy Pelosi!!!

more from IHT

Thank you lovely readers, this is very close to my heart.


Thursday, 20 March 2008


The smell, nothing smells like Paris - from the now smoke choked streets (they enforced a smoking ban in restaurants, so now all the Parisians smoke on the go; mostly women I noticed) to the scent of Chanel in the clothing stores. Women with their little dogs and lush fur coats, young women in boots, and boots, and more boots; babies decked out in their prams; and the men (gods bless them) giving "the look" as only the French can do it!

Kir Royals and shopping for SEVEN HOURS. I'm pretty relaxed, albeit with sore feet. Too much fun. I feel like giving the entire city a hug.

I'm such a geek, I know but tomorrow I'm off to the Louvre and we won't see me for at least seven more hours.

Kiss someone, hug someone, make love, have some champagne lovely readers.

Ciao from Paris

...and yes jmb, I was good - I took some photographs. New photographs of the girls and kitties in New York City over to the right.

...AND Happy Id Al-mawlid (the Prophet's birthday)!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


I'm writing, I am but.... I'm leaving for Paris (oh yes baby!) very, very, early Thursday so I am getting myself ready. It's Paris dear - that mean hair has to be done, nails must be just so. It's going to be blessedly COLD (huzzah!) so I must get out my boots, and Paris shoes...

Soon lovely readers, soon!


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

around Morocco

I apologise for the late posting but I have been having too much fun (not) with a three day migraine. Let me recover over the week-end, then back to Italy we go.


The Taxi Ride or The tower of (Babylon) Morocco

I got into the taxi. “Salaam alecum,” say I. He turns around, gives me the grin and we complete the verbal ritual. I give him the usual direction for Moving (the name of the road, apparently one that is well known as it usually gets me there).

He gives me a look that says, “I have no bloody idea where that is,” along with a stream of French.

I say, “Je ne parle pas francais.”

He says, (in Darjia) “But you speak Arabic.” Sometimes I know just enough of a language to both garner smiles and get me in trouble.

He had no idea where Moving was or even the address. He spoke no English, no Spanish, no Tibetan, no Hindi – and we know my language roster.

We pulled out with a flurry of hand signals and mutual laughter.

He says, “By the Hilton?” I pick up the word “Hilton” and give him the go ahead.

He says, “Right or left?”

I say, “You know either way is fine, but since you obviously don’t the way or what I just said, go that way.”

He nods his head to the right.

I say, “Yes, oui, aye.”

We get to the park by the Hilton and he says, “To the right or the left?”

And I say, “No, I don’t run in the park, I run at the gym.”

He starts to really laugh, and I say, “The Right.”

We arrived. We had another exchange in Darijia. I gave him a huge tip. He smiled. I smiled – all the way inside.

Oh boyo! The Vatican has listed some NEW sinful behavior! Is that like Original sin, as in we have never heard of that one?

Anti-Musharraf parties to form new government – this can’t be good.

Warms the cockles of my heart: the King investing in Fez. Yeah!

And lest you think we are not keeping up with the latest in cultural affairs here in North Africa there’s this.

And for a sour stomach this. Anyone for the many reports that prove torture is not a way to get accurate Intel?

Football is breaking out all over Morocco. Spontaneous games on the streets and in any square in Rabat. I’m quite in love with the young man who runs the car park on the way to the Medina. Every time I pass through he looks at me like I’m desert – in the nicest way. Today he stopped the game to give me my, “Bonjour,” and “the look”. Makes my day and changes my walk I have to tell you.

They call it “war of roads”. Only one reason I don’t drive in Morocco.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Part IV

The night flowed up the hill and embraced the villa like a comfortable lover as I sat at the window, happy in the cooling breeze. I had retrieved my shawl when I unpacked my bag after my first cup of tea and was glad for the warmth. The lights from the homes that pack the hills illuminated the area in a soft glow like candlelight, and below on the beach the white edges of the incoming waves could be seen like fleeting glimpses of a petticoat. I was relaxed after the tea and wine, thinking about nothing but the view when the quiet knock came on my door. It was Thomas. “Signore has arrived and would like you to join him on the terrace.” I’m thinking it interesting that he did not come up himself, but sent Thomas – the formality indicates I’m not the only one unsure of myself here.

The terrace was on the second floor of the villa looking down on the pool at the first level, and was wrapped around the house. One could have a party for almost one hundred people I should think and put them all out here comfortably. There was not, thank the gods any of that hideous plastic furniture, but wrought iron and cotton cushions in a variety of colours that I noted picked up the colours of the different varieties of flowers in the garden. I do so love attention to detail.

Hassan was sitting with his back to me and rose when he heard us enter. He was dressed as casually as I’ve ever seen him, in a blue fitted long sleeved shirt and beige light wool slacks that showed off his flat stomach, with those great loafers by Gucci. His shirt was unbuttoned at the top just enough to give a glimpse of a tanned and hairy chest underneath – oh gods where was my sense of decorum. We had a long talk on the beach when we last saw in other in Morocco and decided to talk this slowly. Yes, I’ll remember that.

Even in the coolness of the evening I could smell the sea overlaid with the scent of the flowers that were set on the table in front of me. If anything Hassan looked better than the last time I’d seen him, brutally handsome with his normal swarthy good looks enhanced by enough of a hint of a five o’clock shadow that it left me wondering what it would feel like on my skin. My stomach did a little flip-flop as I offered my cheeks for the greeting kisses and got a good whiff of him. The man smells like a wicked evening in Venice. I’m not kidding.

Thomas asked if I would like to continue with the Cabernet or have something different, then set off to fulfill my request for more of the delicious wine. I noted Hassan was having a glass of whiskey. I had smelled the single malt on his breath when he greeted me.

“I’m so pleased you were able to come. I’ve wanted to see you much sooner than this,” he said pulling out my chair. “We keep missing each other and the world continues to get in our way.” Was that an accident the way his hand brushed my neck or did he do it on purpose? The effect was the same in any case, little electric shocks running along my skin. I noticed goose pimples on my arms – and it wasn’t’ from the ocean breeze.

We then did the dance of chitchat. I was fine. He was fine. My writing is going well. His job is fun but some of the young princes are being a royal pain (I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself), especially Ali, whom I have met, has apparently been making an ass of himself. “The problem is they want everything quickly. I spend half my time explaining that they must listen to the flight instructors and follow the lesson plans,” he said throwing up his hands. “And the rest of the time explaining to the financial backers that they need to learn on small planes and not start off with jets or I’ll be explaining their deaths to their families.”

“This is the first time I’ve seen you take a drink. Is it merely a different time of year or has the stress been that bad?”

He picked up his glass and gave me a toast laughing, “Both I think and perceptive of you to notice.” I also noticed he seemed much more tense than his normal relaxed self and there were new lines of worry in his face. Was something going on besides the little pilot training project in Saudi Arabia? Something personal or professional? I kept my questions to myself for the present.

Thomas brought me my wine. “Sir would you like to have dinner inside or here on the terrace this evening? And when shall I tell the chef you are ready to dine?” I assumed everyone was speaking in English for my benefit and I did appreciate it.

Hassan looked at me. “Is it too cool out for you, or is that a ridiculous question knowing your preference for cooler temperatures?”

“No it’s not too cool at all, and I want to absorb as much of this view as I can, “ I said motioning out toward the sea.

“I was thinking we would like an early dinner tonight? I know I’ve had a long day and I imagine the same for you? I thought we’d get an early start tomorrow and see a bit of the sights. I remember you like to walk yes?’

“Yes to everything. That sounds brilliant,” I said smiling for no specific reason other than general happiness. The stars were beginning to peek out in the indigo sky above. I could see lights bobbing out on the water from some late sailors or tourists boats perhaps, there was laughter from somewhere below and the unmistakable sound in any language of a mother calling children in from the night. The sharp smell of the sea carried on the air up to the terrace continued to be softened by the smells of flowers and the aromatic whispers of Hassan’s whiskey.

I settled back in my comfortable chair overlooking the magnificent view and was glad I’d worn slacks and long sleeves. The evening chill coming in off the water leaving the perfect evening for diner al fresco was displacing the afternoon’s warmth. We sat talking of our children, our work; nothing too personal seemed to be the unspoken agreement for the evening. I kept flashing on that old Frank Sinatra tune, “Nice and Easy”.

When dinner arrived it was spectacular. Keep in mind that Q is the ‘food person’, but I will do my best. The appetizer was carpaccio ke tonno (thinly sliced tuna with mixed baby greens, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon). This was followed by the most exquisite grilled salmon topped with greens and black olives, accompanied by beans and carrots that had some sort of almond glaze and would make even the most die hard fanatic a vegetable lover. The bread was hot and fresh, slightly sweet with creamy butter. A salad followed, that was a mixture of fresh greens with tomatoes and the dressing tasted like tart apples. On the side were a choice of four kinds of cheeses and sliced fruit of apples, oranges, pears, and peaches.

Each course was served by Thomas and a young woman called Sophia, who I learned later, serves as an assistant to the chef and dogsbody for Thomas. We both waved off desert in favour of brandy and coffee. By this time I was so saturated with food and atmosphere you could have rolled me down the mountain and I doubt I would have noticed. Satiated I believe is the word. We sat in silence for a while and I thought how unusual it was to find someone with whom you could be silent without tension so soon into a relationship, and appreciated it for the rarity it is.

Throughout dinner the strains of Strauss had drifted from the stereo inside to provide a backdrop to dinner. As I heard the lyrics of “Someone to Watch Over Me” in the voice of Mr. Sinatra begin I said, “You don’t forget anything do you?”

Hassan gave me a killer smile that was anything but impersonal. “I consider confidences given during a walk on the beach worth of remembrance.”

Oh boy, I was in trouble.
That’s over my self imposed 1000 words lovely readers, and I need to take a walk. All this recollection is making me really – warm….


Saturday, 8 March 2008

what's doing...


The saga of the water heater/cold shower anyone? Poor JT has not had a hot, or even warm, shower since her arrival here! I begin to feel like the landlady of Marquis de Sade, or what was the name of the head of David Copperfield’s orphanage? I fiddled about with it a bit, but with the story of sweet Azi in my head, I kept it at a minimum. She moved from Fez to Tangiers and had a run in with her gas water heater that left her sans eyebrows and with a healthy fear of Moroccan heating devices. My machinations proved unsuccessful and I called in Abdul, who knows his own limits, and after having a short go at it, “I will return tomorrow at ten with the, you know, someone who will, a technician for repairs. Or I may come back later if I, you know, find a person.” I haven’t had it on for a long while as I use the showers and hammam at Moving so it may have been broken for some while.

I informed JT of the translation, which is, “I have no idea what is the problem and I’m going to ask around and see if any of the other men want to fix it. If they do, I’ll bring them back tonight, if not I will bite the bullet and make a call in the morning to someone who has actually done it before.” He did arrive shortly after ten, next morning, with the plumber/repairman in tow who looks to be the age of the chaps I used to hire to mow the lawn. After mucking about (doing exactly what I had done), he tried to re-light the pilot light (which I had already tried) unsuccessfully. At which point he climbed up the stairs and took the device off the wall… You were expecting an actual water heater with a tank? Oh no, this device heats the water as it flows through! He borrowed a plastic bag, loaded up all the parts, disconnected my gas tank – which I don’t understand, but all right – and promised to return tomorrow at twelve. We’ll see.

And on Thursday…as JT takes off for adventures in Marrakech and the southern coast and I had a morning ride in a taxi playing American Rap, I await the results.

“Ah yes it is …” and he finished the sentence with the international pursing of the lips and swoop of the fingers that means ‘magnificent’, ‘all’s well’, and ‘yeahsureyoubetcha’, Abdul pointed to the re-installed device. But alas it was not so. The poor young chap who entered the house with the repaired device and climbed the stairs with that spring in his step of a job well done was a few minutes after reinstalling the precarious device on the wall and reattaching the tank of gas – looking perplexed and annoyed as he flicked the switch on and off, on and off, on and off – and stared at the offending black space as if it had done him a personal affront. No fire, no hot water. Um hummm. But after an hour and some fine-tuning, success and water hot enough to scald – well hot enough to bathe. And here’s real service, Abdul and the repairman (who was getting bread from the hannout) stopped by in the evening to check that the heater was working. So all is well and all are clean on Rue Oulad Mataa in Morocco.

And WHAT is going on out in front of the fort? They have been digging there since we moved here last March granted, but now it appears to be serious. Oh dear gods please don’t let it be a car park. They would not do that to me would they? If you can see over the edges they have uncovered walls in that first dig at the front – meaning either there used to be a basement in the front, or the buildup of soil from the beach has been extraordinary. In any case, they (whomever they are, since we are a World Heritage Site, I assume the government?) have torn down the fence and brought in the big machines with shovel mouths. I shall keep you updated. If it’s a car park, I’m going to consider a good cry and a move!

In addition to the hoards of spring visitors that have been coming through the gardens below and to the Oudayas, I took some shots of a local school group for you.

Meanwhile back in Italy….Part IV is coming..


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Part III Valentine's Day, Italy

I used the last of my energy today to make the roof/terrace all spic n’ span. I took the outdoor table and umbrella out of storage and set them up with the new (must have in Morocco) plastic table cover, and I now sit writing on my laptop in the cool breeze, overlooking the city and the river, and listening to the evening sounds of the Oudayas. The ladies on the adjoining roofs are bringing in their laundry and having shout-across conversations with the neighbors. I see next door is also doing spring cleaning as it appears the entire contents of the house is now spread out on the roof airing out! There are numerous and varid delicious smells of cooking dinners curling up out of the nearby windows, making their way to my rooftop, and tickling my nose. I can hear the youngsters playing football on our cobbled street below, and the prayer calls will go out any minute now from the neighborhood mosque – yes I am in Morocco, Tibetan prayer flags not withstanding. JT is in Sale’ with the Tagine crowd doing research. What a delight she is to have around – all enthusiasm and great plans.

But that’s not what you want to hear is it? You hopeless romantics you – you want to hear about Italy yes? Yes. Right then, here we go, Part II of the Amalfi Coast/Valentine’s Day 2008.

The villa appeared to grow out of the mountain (and I use the word mountain, loosely) and was covered in bougainvillea and ivy. The butler, a chap right out of ‘Remains of the Day’ but Italian and clothed in the Positano style of soft earth-colored pastels and flowing fabric, took my bag from the driver and preceded me up the stairs that led from the foyer. The entrance from what I could see in a brief glace is reminiscent of a posh antique store with marble statues and gold and russet urns and vases stacked and lined up neck and neck with oil paintings of women recumbent in various stages of undress – a feast of amber, rust, and indigo, with a stunning white marble floor as backdrop.

My room was upstairs and to the right - a study in blue. The queen size bed, with the head against the far wall, was covered in a deep cobalt silk duvet with a village of silk cushions at the head in every shade of blue fabric - striped, plaid, swirls, embroidered, satin, chintz, and tartan. Surrounding the bed was a sheer tent of sapphire fabric falling from the four-poster frame and billowing in the breeze from the twin windows that with wooden shutters open, looked out to a view of the sea where I swear I could see the outline of Capri in the fading light. I don’t think anyone had been here for a while. The room had that just cleaned by the maid smell, with a hint of roses in the air. Nestled in the far left corner was a divan (Q loves those) upholstered in Prussian blue silk with white cotton cushions stacked and forming an invitation to lie back and gaze out the window at the sea for hours. A small mahogany table sat near the head with a cyan crystal vase sitting center, and catching the last rays of light in the room as it cradled a bounty of white roses.

Another window set high, narrow, and long in the wall of the opposite corner was closed to the cool evening air. A white Queen Anne desk (bear with me, my antiques IQ is below average) with gold and powder blue etchings and cabriole legs sat in front of the near window facing the gardens below that I could see rolled down the hillside. The desk was complete with an antiquated white telephone and plush Louis IVX chair upholstered in royal blue silk with tassels off the back, matching the ottoman at the foot of the bed.. Midnight blue shutters framed the view from both the windows looking out to the sea like paintings with an ever changing, yet always the same, view. The floor was that same white marble as downstairs with striations in it that made me think of snowdrifts or feathers dancing in a breeze.

And the toilet! Ah the toilet, had to have been designed by a woman. It was half again the size of the bedroom with a sunken tub/shower done in shades of white and pale sky blue with the faucets and other metals in a soft gold. In the wall, over the tub, was a built-in glass cabinet with various shampoos, bath salts, and lotions. Entering the door, to the left was a marble sink set into a peacock blue counter that flanked the left wall, surrounded by makeup lights. Head to toe mirrors hung on the back of the door and were inset surrounding the bath (so you don’t miss those hard to get to spots eh? Of course I was having other thoughts.. “Scrub your back?”) There was a huge window set high enough in the wall to catch the breeze and the light while discouraging anyone with binoculars, set in midnight blue wooden shutters. The dressing table set apart, as it should be, from the sink had a matching chair to the desk in the bedroom, and an oval magnifying mirror set into at the levels for sitting or standing face work! Now I call that pampering. The lush, soft, and oversized towels and face cloths matched the blue of the counter, and were plentiful. Now you know how I love attention to detail – the toilet paper (of which one becomes a harsh judge living in Morocco, the good stuff is hard to come by) was the same soft sky blue as the floor rugs that were so thick you could roll your toes in the weave. The cabinets under the counter were set back and into the wall a bit to give you leg room when sitting, with the most interesting handles that were shaped like dolphins.

Back in the bedroom, on the wall facing the bed was a stunning painting of a woman at her dressing table – put me in mind of the same attitude as that work by Renoir, The Seated Bather, that same wistfulness. It was one of those huge, framed in gold curlicues, looks like they brought it from the castle pieces, you know, that you have to have a huge room in order to display. The rugs scattered about the room (my rug IQ is higher than my antiques IQ) were Kashmir, silk, and had some age. Looking up, the ceiling is dropped (not sure of terms here) with white on white scroll work and an oval inset painting in the center of a garden. To the left of the entrance was another door to the walk in closet – yes ladies you heard me – with a wall for your shoes and two more chairs to match the one at the desk. I decided I could stay here happily for – a while…uh huh.

As soon as I had completed my impromptu self-tour of ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhhh’, Thomas – who is Italian, excuse me Sicilian, and did indeed study with the Rick Fink at his academy for butlers in England (news to me as well, but I’m just telling the story, and he made quite the point of it, so I wrote it down), was there with my Earl Grey and scones. Scones! Forget the décor, I would stay for the scones and worship at this man’s feet. Perhaps not quite so drastic, but do you have any idea how long it has been between scones? And they were delicious, decadently buttery and just sweet enough – no clotted crème but let us not be greedy. I sat at the desk, unfurling my computer (yes I took it with me, the addiction is too strong to break. I would hang my head, but I have so few vices these days..), looking out at the last of the sunset as the night walked up the hill and had my tea and scones in prefect bliss. The accompanying glass of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon did not go amiss.

That’s your 1000+ words for today.

Monday, 3 March 2008

just another day in the Maghreb

Now THIS needs to go to the World Court! Ladies is there ANY way we can have this enacted as the law of the land in all countries? Oh what rejoicing there would be from all the ladies of the world! No more wondering, “Why do they do that?”, “Can they not do that in the bathroom, or at home, or in the automobile?”, “What would he/they do if I started repositioning my breast?” – but see that last buys us nothing because it would not cause the discomfort in the male population that their machinations cause the females. Yes, legislation sounds the way to go – but…. It really is Big Brother in all his worst form eh? Oh sigh, perhaps if we purchased billboards worldwide and expressed our discomfort? It’s an idea…

World Briefing | Europe
Italy: Men Can’t Grope...Themselves

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: February 28, 2008

Whatever their reason might be, a passing hearse or simple discomfort, Italy’s highest court ruled that men may not touch their genitals in public. The ruling settled an appeal by a 42-year-old worker from Como, north of Milan, who was convicted in May 2006 of “ostentatiously touching his genitals through his clothing,” though his lawyer argued it was a problem with his overalls. But the court struck against a broader practice: a tradition among some Italian men of warding off bad luck by grabbing the crotch. The court ruled that this “has to be regarded as an act contrary to public decency, a concept including that nexus of socio-ethical behavioral rules requiring everyone to abstain from conduct potentially offensive to collectively held feelings of decorum.” The judges suggested that if they need to, men can wait and do it at home.

I received this by email from Q after the last post about Hassan:

“If you are going to describe sex in the next few entries, do please find a way to put it behind a link that says, Q, Don't Click on This. Appreciated....;-)”

That’s my girl!

I have a new roommate temporarily, or perhaps longer, we’ll see. She bears an amazing resemblance to a wood sprite. She is slender, and short in stature, with lovely brunette hair. She has the most amazing eyes that sparkle and reflect her moods as clearly as a reflection in a pond. She is British, interpret as you will, and has eyelashes that are dark, curly, and long enough to catch the morning dew. She is a journalist and in Morocco to learn Arabic and establish herself as the reporter on the scene.

I met her through A. – an American who came to Morocco in 2005, and is currently in Spain working on her doctorate in architecture. A. is one of those souls who has a brain firing on all synapses available and speaks at the speed of light (from New Jersey) – which is a joy for me as I do the same. She, of course, fell in love with Morocco when she was here and was back to visit. There is a new cadre of Americans in the city for study (a semester abroad) that drew in both JT (my new mate) and A. JT was looking for a temporary home while she scouts for longer-term digs and A. brought her here, and I took her in. It’s nice having another voice around the place, albeit she is gone more than she is here.

The past few days have been glorious weather wise, but I can feel the heat making its way from Fez to the coast, sigh. That said the Moroccans are still in their down coats where I have gone over to my sandals and skirts again.

I am determined to have no more respiratory failure, what a pain! The housekeeper was in this morning and we carried out the Moroccan version of spring cleaning – which involved a good deal of “Quoi?” on her part, but make that in Darijia as she speaks neither English or French – but we got the job done, and all is clean and sparkling.

I will be getting the subsequent installments of a romance in Italy to you this week never fear – and thank you again for your patience.


Saturday, 1 March 2008

just a little longer

Dear lovely readers,

Thank you for your patience! I am not dead, albeit I thought it touch and go there for a bit. What a beastly germ! I am again upright and I promise to have something for you on the morrow.

Thank you, thank you for sticking with me! All of Morocco thanks you.