Handy Notes

"Notes" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Notes” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。

Today’s photo is of a little notebook that proved to be very handy during our trip. There were a few times in Morocco where I wasn’t able to communicate clearly when it really mattered. The most notable time was when we were trying to buy train tickets. It’s actually a fairly easy process to buy tickets in Morocco, but during Ramadan, the schedule is a little different and also I didn’t understand if there was a change of trains at some point.

So, before I headed to the ticket counter (there are also automated ticket machines), I wrote down the desired destination, date, number of tickets, and 1st class. I could just show that to the ticket agent and he wrote down the available trains that day. It was so much easier than trying to verbally communicate.

Google translate is amazing, but in cases like these, pencil and paper win the day!

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

またね~

Returning Home

"The Way Home" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/4000 sec, ISO800
“The Way Home” Casablanca, 2017

Hello! This is the last day of our Eurafrica trip when we fly back home. 😞

Another long journey, today’s schedule takes us from Casablanca to Montreal, then on to Chicago and finally home to Austin. ✈

We opted to take a pre-arranged taxi from the hotel to the airport, which cost about $25 which was nice since the cab took us door-to-door. At the airport, Mariko finally found some Moroccan wine at the duty-free shop. I guess this was pretty much the only chance to buy some! Ever since she had some Moroccan wine at the Morocco area of EPCOT, she’s wanted a bottle or two. So I guess this was one of her quests for the trip!  And happily, the wine made it all the way back home safe and sound, even though they had to scan the wine in Montreal in some fancy contraption in customs.

By the way, for those traveling to the US, you actually pass through US customs at the Montreal airport. It was very convenient, and I was surprised to hear the Customs agent say, “Welcome home, Mr. Fujimoto,” while we were still in Canada! 🇨🇦 🇺🇸

Anyways, we arrived in Austin at about 22:00 and my brother was waiting at the gate for us. See, he had just flown in an hour earlier and would spend the next few days visiting us. It was nice to see him after the long journey!

Oh, when we were in O’Hare, Mariko had to get a Chicago Hot Dog. 🌭 It was pretty good! Welcome back to America, indeed!

"Chicago Airport Dog" Chicago, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO320
“Chicago Airport Dog” Chicago, 2017

Casablanca

"Hassan II Mosque" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/950 sec, ISO200
“Hassan II Mosque” Casablanca, 2017

Today was another travel day. Since we booked cheap tickets, our flight plan took us back to Casablanca from Barcelona, then overnight at a hotel, and then fly out the next day… so, another long day with long miles!

We started the day with a nice breakfast at Hotel Constanza, then took a taxi to the Barcelona airport. The security and customs process in that airport is pretty crazy, and almost everyone who finished customs took off running to their gate. It would have been kind of funny to see had we not been in a similar situation. But we made it to our flight with a few minutes to spare, and after a short hop over Spain and the strait, we were back in Morocco!

"Casa Port" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“Casa Port” Casablanca, 2017

After an hour train ride and short taxi right, we reached our hotel, the Melliber Appart Hotel in the afternoon and settled in. We were pleasantly surprised that our room had an amazing view of the Hassan II Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Morocco. It’s pretty impressive. There’s even a laser on top which shines straight to Mecca. Wow.

After a brief rest, Mariko and I took a walk to look for a market for some last-minute goodies, but we got kind of spooked when we saw a man threaten another man on a scooter with a huge kitchen knife. It was a bit unnerving! We were told that people were cranky in the afternoons because of the fasting, but this was a bit extreme. So we gave up the search for the market and headed to the mosque for a closer look. As you can imagine, it’s huge. As the day was ending, and Ramadan was nearing its close, hundreds of people were coming to pray. It was quite a sight to see.

"Cool Car" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Cool Car” Casablanca, 2017
"Soccer" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO200
“Soccer” Casablanca, 2017
"Mosque at Dusk" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/140 sec, ISO200
“Mosque at Dusk” Casablanca, 2017

Dinner was had at the hotel restaurant where we enjoyed beef steak, fish tagine, fried eggs with shredded beef, and a variety of salads. Plus mint tea! I missed the Moroccan mint tea!

Belly full once again, it was time for bed. 😴

"Mosque at Night" Casablanca, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/20 sec, ISO800
“Mosque at Night” Casablanca, 2017