Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bonne Année

We are home from one of the most incredible vacations we've ever taken. Morocco is a very special place, exotic and alive, a mix of the storied old world and the modern. It is a feast for the senses, and while that made every day seem like a journey in and of itself, it is also exhausting and we are glad to be home. Luckily, we brought home plenty of treasure (and photos) to remind us of this dynamic country to which we'd love to return someday.

We have so much to write about, so many experiences, so many miles traveled, yet I find it important to start at the end of the trip. Our last night in Morocco found us back in Marrakech, back in the medina, back at the Riad Saba where we started our trip (and what a trip this city is!) on New Year's Eve. Riads are Morocco's unique mix of B&B and hotel - lush, well-decorated rooms surrounding a central courtyard - truly an oasis from the storm that is the Marrakech medina. Jabrane, our lively host, put on a festive party for the guests that involved a drumming group,
traditional Moroccan feast, plenty to drink, and a traditional Gnawa musical group that played on the rooftop terrace well past the ringing in of the New Year.

What stands out, however, was the profound way we ended what was for us a very profound year. As I wrote in my last post, it has been a transformative year, so to transition from 2008 to 2009 with a diverse truly universal blend of human beings was very meaningful. Our party included families (children included) from Morocco, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Libya, Spain, and us representing both the U.S. and France. With the exception of the young Libyan woman, everyone in the group spoke at least two languages including english so we were all able to converse easily. Before the drumming group arrived, Jabrane brought us all together in the courtyard, poured everyone a glass of champagne, and asked me to give the toast, however, Lisa (being Lisa!) had something important to say so asked if she could do it. She gave a short but moving toast that went something like this: "In a troubled world we come together from various corners of the globe. And the greatest hope for peace in the world is in these individual interactions, where we can look each other in the eye and say hello, no matter where we come from. These are the ripples that can spread across the world and are our greatest hope for peace and happiness, which we all deserve." It was this wish for a more intimate celebration that kept us at the riad, rather than partying with the throngs in the crushing, muddy mass of humanity in the central square. Here's the video of the festivities.

I guess we got a bit involved with our conversations and fun after the drumming group, so these are all the pictures we have from the evening: New Year's Eve photos.

We will have many more Morocco posts coming on the blog this week. Happy New Year!


bren said...

Happy New Year,and Peace to the World!
Welcome (to your 2nd) home!
Love, Mom and Ran

William said...

Sounds like fun. Waiting for the rest of your blogs on this trip.
Love Mom & Dad Browne

Anonymous said...

So glad...for everything. The Jewish momma in me is pleased you're back, as I imagined my thoughts of you would keep you safe. I love you-been working on my blog-will send it shortly. Love to each of you!


Rick said...

Hi everyone! Look for a blog on the camel trek tomorrow. Been working on the video all day between grocery shopping and laundry. And wait until we get to our first day in Marrakech - most of you don't even know about the tale of the monkey...

Anonymous said...

Cool pics. Irie looks as if she had a ball.

I'm looking forward to the next post. Rick what's with this monkey's tail?

Hey two months from today Jan and I embark, we're looking forward to it!