Friday Photography

Irani Sky - When traveling from Tehran to Shiraz in Iran, the sun was setting surrounded by these gorgeous dark dramatic clouds.
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The Budding Entrepreneur

A few months ago our towns public school sent out an email to all the elementary and middle school students about a June marketplace. It was an optional, ungraded project where the students would get an opportunity to create a product or service and sell it at the marketplace. There were no restrictions, you could work alone or with a partner. 

I talked to D about it.. explained to him what it would entail, the concept of profit and expense, the various products or services that could be sold and let him mull over it.. I wanted to make sure he understood all the extra work it would mean.. after a week of going back and forth.. he decided he wanted to participate.

He decided to make upcycled tin can pencil holders. He began with making sketches.. while I started to collect tin cans. 

We did an inventory of all the things we had in the house.. so that we could minimize our expenses.. and then the work began. We worked on one can per weekend.. we didn't use most of the designs in his sketches.. I wanted to teach him that ideas are not concrete.. we have to let inspiration take it course.. be flexible.. something he is not known for. 

Two sides of the same can.

We brainstormed on names.. he took a family vote. Laynaad was the winner. It's his name backwards. Then he created a logo. 

We had a few fails.. a rainbow made of pipe cleaners.. the pipe cleaners refused to stick and stay put.. children's pains wouldn't stay put either.. so we had to scrap the rainbow idea.. we were really trying to limit our purchases. 

A total of $12 were spent.. most of it was spent on buying a sealer.

The day of the event.

It was a two hour outdoor event in the middle school. D sold 5 out of 9 pencil holders for $5 each. He made a profit of $11. His grandmother and aunt have already called dibs on two. Two more left.. his other grandmother wants to buy one as well. 

Lessons learnt: 
Earning money is hard. 
Never give up.. ( it took him 30 minutes to sell his first one.. and the last two sold in the last 30 mins..)

Our observations: 
Instead of taking the opportunity to teach their kids a lesson in business far too many people took the easy way out by reselling. I kid you not there was a kid selling Doritos and Pringles. 
A large number of kids were selling sweet confections.. cupcakes and cookies everywhere you looked. While some looked child made many did not.
Those above type of sellers took away a lot of focus from the kids who really had worked hard. The little girl next to us was selling braided key chains.. she sat and made more while she attempted to sell.. she was so focused. While so many kids left their tables maned by their parents and decided to frolic with their friends instead. 

Nonetheless it was a great effort by the school district.. there were over a 100 kids selling.. hopefully the school district will continue with this annually but maybe regulate a bit more.. 

We were very proud of D. He is normally a shy child so seeing him trying to work the crowd was amazing.. that night I think he was trying to sell a few in his sleep as well.. 
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Friday Photography

The Inner Core - In the gardens of the Vatican Museum stood a large spherical bronze structure. It looked as if it was the earth, ripped open for us to see what was inside. And what was inside? Another smaller sphere with gears on the inside.

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Sun and Fun in Gran Canaria

Not so far off the Moroccan coast are the Gran Canary Islands.. we were as close to the islands as we were ever going to get. So why not right?

This was our first time staying at an all inclusive resort.. usually we always prefer to venture out and discover.. but this time we were looking to just lay back and relax. 

Our hotel perched up on a cliff.

The view from our balcony.. 

It was nice to not have to think about what to eat of where to go.. the boys loved the pool.. the entertainment was a bit dated.. think AC/DC and Freddy Mercury. There was a shuttle that took us down to the beach.. it was quite a walk otherwise.. we walked the way down and took the shuttle back up. The disappointing part was that it was a public beach meaning we had to rent chairs.. the shocking part it was a clothing optional beach.. thankfully and surprisingly that boys did not seem to notice.. nevertheless we tried to keep our stay at the beach short.

Now a photo dump..

and then it was time to go home. 

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A Water Problem

On Thursday two pipes in our basement burst. And so the last few days have not been much fun. Hopefully we will be able to get things dried and sorted out during the week. Fingers crossed I’ll be back to posting about the tail end of our trip next Monday.

We are trying to salvage the carpet.. all the padding was ripped out and thrown away.. it's sad to see it this way.. you can see what it looked like in it's glory days right here

Pray all our hard work pays off and we are able to restore it to what it once was.

We are also in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan.. so we are already a bit drained of energy.. which is obviously not helping the situation.

I need summer.. i need a vacation.. I need a dry basement.. :(

Hope things are much much sunnier and dry where you are.

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Friday Photography

Hut - The shaded tiki grass hut on Baby Beach, Aruba. Want to read more about our trip to Aruba? Check it out here

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Chefchaouen - Morocco's Blue City

On the 7th day of our Moroccan adventure we woke up in Fes and after breakfast had a driver (booked via our riad Dar Victoria) waiting for us. He took us on a three hour ride further north of Morocco to Chefchaouen pronounced Shafshāwan. Chefchaouen is famous for its head to toe blueness.. There are several theories as to why the walls were painted blue. One popular theory is that the blue keeps mosquitos away, another is that Jews introduced the blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930s. The blue is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.

We arrived around noon.. just in time for lunch and it had been forever since we had pizza.. thankfully we spotted Mandala and our tummies were so happy!

Afterwards we just strolled.

In that above picture we have a tantrum in progress..


we spent about four hours just strolling the streets and taking in all the various shades of blue. We made a stop at La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin to buy soap for some family members.. the place is amazing.. even if you are not looking to purchase.

and with that our Moroccan adventure came to an end.. we knew we would be arrive back at the riad late so we asked them to prepare a meal for us.. spaghetti for the boys and chicken skewers on rice for us. They did not disappoint. We packed after the boys went to sleep and in the morning another driver took us to the Casablanca airport 4 hours away.. 

But the vacation didn't end there.. we had another stop to make before we went home.

Note: While we started our trip from Marrakesh and made are way up to the north of Morocco we went a few fellow American travelers while in the dessert who flew into Casablanca, took a train to Fes and then made their way south to the dessert and lastly Marrakesh. During all my planning that was an itinerary that had never crossed my mind.. 

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Friday Photography

The Door -In the streets of Baltimore, a skinny plum colored wood door standing tall between a brown brick wall and a beige plastered wall. The contrast and juxtapositions entranced me. What to read more about our trip to Baltimore.. D was just a wee little thing.. check it out here

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A Day in Fes

After leaving the desert in the morning we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us to Fes.. with a few stops along the way. The drive to northern Morocco was very interesting.. the scenery changed drastically.. from dry rocky terrain to lush greenery.. it almost felt like we were no longer in Morocco and maybe parts of rural Italy.. We arrived in Fes in the early evening.. Just like in Marrakesh we were staying in a riad in the inner city.. but what we found different from Marrakesh was that the outer city.. the main city was so much larger than Marrakesh.. so much more modern looking. When we arrived near the medina we were greeted by a porter as well as the hotel manager who both immediately embraced the boys and led us to Dar Victoria Riad.

The door to our room.. it was a two storied room with a sitting area, bathroom and D's single bed on the ground floor

and upstairs was a single for H and a queen for us.

We were exhausted after the long journey and the only thing on our mind was dinner.. preferably non Moroccan. I had heard about a great thai place a 20 minute walk away.. this would be a great way for us to get a lay of the land.. so we set off. NOTE - we used offline google maps to navigate the medina's with little to no trouble.. we would download them when we had wifi at the hotel or at restaurants.. everyone was more than willing to share their passwords. A few minutes into our walk and we were already not loving it.. It lacked the charm of Marrakesh.. had an abundance of extra unpleasant smells that Marrakesh did not have and the people had their scam game ON!

After many winding surprisingly uphill alleys and lanes we found the thai place.. Maison Moi Anan. It was hidden in a tiny little lane we walked by twice.. again Thank God for Google Maps! Oh good food.. our bellies so happy :) On our way back these kids teenagers.. I am so old would not leave us alone.. they insisted on giving us directions.. even when we refused they self elected a volunteer to walk us to the riad.. we ignored them and continued with vigilance while our self proclaimed tour guide walked ahead of us.. then when he felt he had walked us far enough he wanted us to pay him for his troubles!!!

Breakfast the next morning.. and off we went..

inside the Madrasa Bou Inania

in the streets

We were feeling a bit peckish when we spotted

ah yum.. we shared some nacho's :)

for lunch we were on the look out for Cafe Clock.. they serve camel burgers and we wanted to try them. The cafe was tucked in a teeny tiny little alley.. D spotted it.. 

The burgers tasted like burgers.. the kids couldn't even tell the difference. 

and now for the highlight of our day.. hands down the best thing about Fes.. the Merenid Tombs. Well it was not really the tombs per se but the hill they sat upon.. the 360' view.. it was stunning.. I could have spent hours there.. 

The pictures do not do justice to the spectacular view.. it was a bit of a walk from the medina.. some people were taking taxi's there.. but we like to walk.. we went back to the same thai restaurant for dinner again.. the kids were happy.

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