Saturday, 28 April 2012

morocco: a lesson in nakedness

At the end of February i went to Marrakech in Morocco with Alex and Elissa. We saw snakes dancing, got wonderfully lost in the souks hunting for spices and carpets, traipsed over the atlas mountains, went to Moroccan baths (hammams) and basically lived out my Aladdin fantasies. 
(side note: turns out Aladdin is not set there. Crushing discovery. Crushing)

It was beautiful and fun and new and exciting and i loved it all (except the part that saw me get violently ill on the way home and throw up on the train... but let's never speak about that again.)

Things I learnt about appropriate dressing:
1. Nothing, absolutely nothing, i own is covered up enough for walking the streets
2. My tshirts are all tragically see through
3. Things are easier when you're near men- to the point that we sort of siddled up to a Moroccan carpet selling teenager who escorted us through the souks. When he was around, people seemingly wanted to throw stuff at us less.

Things I didn't expect about Morocco.
1. We got naked. a lot. Those hammams are a crazy new world. Our first foray into Moroccan bath houses was at the fancy pants 'Les Bains Marrakesh', recommended in Vogue and by Liss' favourite London Liberty Girl. It was ah-mazing. We arrived and were taken to a steamy room with dim, flattering lighting, stripped naked, covered in oil by a Moroccan lady and then told to lie down. Slight issue was that there were only two benches, made of slippery plastic stuff... Which meant that Alex and Liss had to share a bench, naked, covered in oil. It really bonded us all. Woah. 
After a day of luxury where we were scrubbed down, covered in mud, massaged and drank tea (all of it naked... Weird) we thought it might be fun to be 'more traditional', so found a hammam for locals... This may have been a bit too adventurous: we arrived, paid our 25c entry and were given a bucket each and ushered towards a plastic sheet curtain.... We sort of wandered around lost and confused for a while (at least by this point we were used to being naked around each other- but frankly the lighting in this hammam was less forgiving than the one for fancy ladies... Oh.)
Then began the weirdest 30mins of my life as we stumbled into a steam room full of about 50 Moroccan ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages who did not seem to appreciate our presence. There was a definite heirarchy of tap use/bucket sharing/who stands where... and we broke every rule. I splashed someone, was bullied out of the line for the tap and we weren't allowed to stand near the wall. oh.

These ladies knew the rules: they all had little mats or stools to sit on and scrub themselves down. We did not, so sort of hovered awkwardly like the odd ones out we were. It seems Le Bains had not taught us the skills to survive in the real world. But we persevered, turned over one of our buckets and took turns sitting down and washing our hair. Then, it became apparent that people were shaving themselves...and it was sort of just floating past... Yep. Shit got real.
Again, we persevered a little longer and then made a dignified* exit, only to discover a flaw in our plan: we hadn't brought towels. So we put out clothes on, wet through and sort of ran back to our riad. Bad news. I don't think we'll be asked back.

But... We went again (to a different one, but another one nonetheless) the next day. We were hooked. 
I sort of wish London had hammams.

*this is a lie.

2. Over the atlas mountains, is a gigantic movie studio town, full of palm trees, giant sandstone studios and the promise of 'Hollywood in the desert' awesome. This is also where the three of us fought over whose dad likes 'Lawrence of Arabia' more (yea, we really covered the big issues). We settled the feud by texting all our dads. Elissa won. Turns out my dad's favourite movie is actually Jesus of Montreal. Alex's dad favours Casablanca... Shattered dreams in the desert. Well played Elissa's dad.

3. There are actually more camels in Australia than in Morocco. To be fair, Alex told me this... so am not 100% sure it's factually accurate, but i was interested nonetheless.

Top insults we attracted
1. A nice man on the road told me to "why don't you go kill yourself" after we'd walked past which was prob a bit unnecessary.
2. Liss was bullied by a street vendor for wearing glasses and called Harry Potter (the scar we'd drawn on her head while she was asleep didn't help matters...)
3. Alex was being followed by a nice man who told her how pretty she was, then when she resisted marriage he yelled "You're Ugly". definite low point.
4. A man in a street restaurant asked me how many camels i wanted for marriage. Liss suggested 30. He counter offered 5 chickens. oh.

All in all, an epic trip and a place i HIGHLY recommend you all go. asap

I'll see you soon marrakech xoxo

a tan is needed, stat.

this girl may look great without a tan, but it has become tragically clear to me lately that i am not this girl.
and i need a tan. immediately.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

anzac day

Today is ANZAC Day: a day of remembering those who fought at Gallipoli, playing two up at the Beach Road Hotel and drinking beers in the sun.

Today we got up at 4am for the dawn service at Hyde Park.
It was amazing.

My friend Allie and I have often argued about patriotism and the idea that, often, displaying the Australian flag can be seen as aggressive and trashy (thanks very much, cronulla riots...)
I really hate the idea that this could be true. 
One of the greatest things i've discovered about England is how patriotic things get. Admittedly, my timing is perfect for this discovery, with a Jubilee and an Olympics just around the corner... but i love that in all stores, union jack flags are used as a legitimate decorative tool. It's kind of hip to celebrate being from London and saying how awesome England is... I'm sort of envious of that patriotism.

Today, as thousands of people gathered on a cold overcast corner of Hyde Park at 4:30am to honour our past and remember our fallen soldiers, i was so proud to be australian. It was such a lovely display of the positive and inclusive elements of patriotism, and i really loved it. 
Even getting up at 4am is worth that.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Paris marathon

Last weekend we went to Paris.
Paris, as usual, delivered. The last time we went was all about macaroons, excessive spending on rue de vieille du temple and minature horses at the moulin rouge which was awesome.. but this time the best thing in the world happened: We were clapped into Sephora.
Yes. Clapped.Into.Sephora.

It happened like this...
We were in town to watch Mitch run in the marathon (which, incidentally, he dominated)... our supportiveness stretched as far as accompanying him to the start line at 8am as thousands and thousands of people lined up along the Champs Elysees. It was amazing. Crazy. Huge.

About 10mins or so before the first batch set off, people started stripping off their warm clothes and throwing them to the side (I can only assume that the kind of people who choose to run 42km on a freezing cold Parisian morning are also the kind who would think that taking a jumper off while running would waste too much time and energy... ?)
This meant that once the runners left, the Champs Elysees was left COVERED in abandoned jumpers, jackets, track-pants and the weird plastic bag ponchos they were giving out earlier... which brought in a fresh batch of 'clothes collectors' swooping up all the discarded gear into big bags and trolleys (gosh! who'd have thought!?)
After we'd had a leisurely hot chocolate and crosisants at a cafe nearby (oh it's a tough life being a marathon spectator) it was still so cold, that i actually picked up a hoodie off the street and put it on. Yes. Off the street. And wore it. All day.
It's green and huge and says 'Switzerland Curling Championships' on it.

About 10am we walked past Sephora just as the security man was opening the doors. In the time it took us to stop and decide to go inside, they started playing Rihanna 'We found Love' at crazy volume, swung open all the doors and about 30 Sephora staff lined up along the huge red carpet and clapped us into the store. They clapped in time to Rihanna as we walked the red carpet into the hugest Sephora on the Champs Elysees. 
It was the best thing ever.
And i was still wearing my green switzerland curling championships hoodie that i stole from the street.

You win some, you lose some.

Post clap in.
The tiniest evidence of my stolen green hoodie - hidden to avoid reclaiming from its rightful owner..

The rest of the weekend we shopped, had many little picnics, drank many wines and saw many fun frenchy things. 
And didn't run 42km.

Mitch was not about to be distracted by the weird men in plastic bags at the start line, oh no.
focus 3hr12m running man, focusssss

these are the faces of victory it seems...
This is the face of a 3.12 marathon runner. 

bree, baguettes and a four-pack of wines really make for the best parisian lunches.

we visited this boulangerie more times than i care to admit..
The best recommendation for eating in Paris? La Regalade Saint Honore. Ah-mazing.

As always, Paris
bisous xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...