Ruben– 2008 Year in Review (& Morocco pics)

Happy new year everyone. 2008 was a wonderful year for us. Ruben experienced five new countries among his many travels (Egypt, the US, Luxumbourg, Portugal and Morocco), learned to walk, sing, and, ahem, read, and generally found a way to amuse and amaze us each day.

Ruben’s getting a little brother in May, so 2009 promises to be equally exciting for the boy…though perhaps in a what-have-you-jerks-done–I-was-king-of-the-pond sort of way. Good times ahead regardless. We can’t wait.

We capped off 2008 with another installment of Krishna family adventures. Previous installments include Alaska, France and Spain, and Greece. This time, after a rendezvous in Heidelberg, we made our way to Morocco.

Morocco is correctly described as a convergence of African, Arabic and European culture. Picture cities with roads and buildings that easily could be taken from anytown, Western Europe. Then, drop in a medina (walled section) right in the center, in which teeming masses are often clustered together in super-narrow alleyways, living the hyper-urban life and selling all manner of interesting goods. Then, add the beauty of Islamic art and architecture, from the intricate mosaics on the floors and walls of Mosques to the small hands of Fatima on most apartment doors warding off bad luck. It’s a really interesting place, and though I didn’t quite get to do all I wanted (e.g., tasting one of the delicacies, pigeon stew), I left pretty satisfied at what all we’d seen and done.

Now, it wasn’t all wine mint tea and roses cacti mind you. We’ve done plenty of traveling, especially in areas where customer service is not necessarily priority one. Somehow though, with toddler in tow, things we could laugh off in the DINK days were harder to stomach. Sample conversation at hotel restaurant as I sought out milk for our overtired lad:

AK: Can I have some milk for my son?
Staff: No. Call room service, 6.
AK: But I’m here now, and my son’s asleep. I’ll pay. Can I have some milk here?
Staff: No. Not possible.
AK: If I call room service, won’t they bring the milk from here?
Staff: Yes, but not possible, Please call 6.

Obnoxious entitled attitudes aside, we did experience about the worst hotel I’ve ever encountered. The list of grievances was both long and serious enough to warrant writing to their parent company. Luckily, the remainder of the trip was wonderful, and our family (thankfully) manages to amuse ourselves endlessly, even when the source of our amusement is our own discomfort. It’s a great way to travel.

As usual, DPK has proven master of the pics+commentary photo album. Although Kodak Gallery (nee Ofoto) has done an egregious disservice by making it even harder to read the witty commentary (and thus probably reduced the percentage who actually read the commentary to lowfat milk territory…two percent), we Krishnas remain steadfast in our loquacious musings.

Plus, keep in mind that DPK commentary includes actual informative research on said locations, as opposed to the corny puns and Shyaam jokes that largely define my own. Hers is indeed uncommontary, so please check it out.

Morocco Pics

And I’ll finish with some videos from the trip:

Hassan II Mosque was built in Casablanca 15 years ago, and is the third largest Mosque in the world. It’s a very impressive structure:

Jamaa al Fna is a square in Marrakesh that needs to be seen to be believed. The overwhelming din of humanity– street performers, henna painters, snake charmers, other musical and live acts, food, drink, touts, tourists, locals, police, animals– it’s really an amazing place. Here’s a brief video:


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