Tag Archives: photography

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. WHO ARE YOU ALL?!

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Dude, 94 people have viewed my blog today. WHAAAAT.

HI WORLD

I’M KATIE WELCOME TO THIS BLOG

THIS IS A FUNNY PICTURE

OF MY LITTLE BROTHER AND I AFTER HIKING TO THIS AWESOME WATERFALL JUST OUTSIDE OF CHEFCHAOUEN.

I’ve never had 94 views in one day. This is amazing, momentous! Just when I was feeling all isolated and sick, I looked at “my stats” and nearly puked again out of utter shock. My average daily views usually hover around 4, and I’m pretty sure I know exactly who those 4 are. So. Hello, world! Welcome to my blog! Thanks for all the likes and stuff! For example, recently, I got THIS lovely notification:

Ooh, Notifications, really?! For me?!

DAAAAAAWWWWWWWW, SHUCKS. THANK YOU, WORDPRESS, FOR THE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE.

Anyway, y’all, welcome welcome to the Blog. I hope you enjoy my silly tales of Morocco, mountains, books, and (recently) parasitic infestations of intestines.

Sending love to you all, I’m going to restart Firefox now so the Cuevana plugin I just downloaded will work so I can watch moviezzzzzz on the MAGICAL INTERNET THAT IS BACK BACK BACK LIKE AN UNFAITHFUL LOVER, PROBABLY ONLY TO BREAK MY HEART AGAIN WHEN IT LEAVES ME AGAIN, BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I LOVE IT DESPERATELY, PASSIONATELY, AS THOUGH BOOKS WERE NEVER A THING AT ALL.

PAX, YO. WELCOME AGAIN.

ALSO, THIS:

I took this photo a long time ago, and it’s buried in the archived posts of this very blog, but while I’m bragging shamelessly about myself, I figured I’d include this beautiful picture of what lies just around the corner from our house in Oudaiya. (SHE is an ARTISTE! I want you all to think. LOOK AT THE ART I MAKE! LOOKIT! LOOKIT! BE IMPRESSED!)

Speaking of my bedroom, it smells amazing in here. In the evening, the wind blows in from the ocean, and I can watch Salé light up as the sun sets. Being sick isn’t so bad sometimes, I think, lying back on my pillows as Jim Dale narrates the last few pages of Harry Potter and my Moroccan host moms check on me, making sure I’m not still vomiting up my internal organs and bringing me soup. At least people love me and I can brag about myself on the Internet.

Love you all. Stay cool. Peace out.

EDIT/UPDATE: 114 after an episode of Pushing Daisies and more soup. I’ve never felt so popular in my life.

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The Fellowship of the Robz, Part II: THE ASCENT.

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Or,

#CramponMushkils

“Crampon” is an unfortunate word. It sounds like a combination of the words “cramp” and “tampon,” which are hardly encouraging and bring to mind an altogether disagreeable set of ideas and images.

However, crampons are not some kind of alternative form of female sanitary product, nor are they any kind of torture device. They are, in fact, SPIKES THAT YOU STRAP ONTO YOUR OLD, TREADLESS RUNNING SHOES SO YOU CAN CLIMB IN SNOW AND ICE. I should mention that I left my hiking boots in the States, and decided to tackle the mountain in my old, gray running shoes. This information will be important later.

We awoke at around 5:15 in the morning, stumbled outside to strap on our crampons after a quick breakfast of robz and jam, and saw this:

I mean, nbd. Whatever.

Then, we cramponed ourselves (no, actually, it doesn’t sound better as a verb),

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

and set off up the mountain!

The highest peak I’d hiked before this was Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness, California: the highest peak around Lake Tahoe. From the trailhead to the summit is a 3,250 foot elevation gain, culminating in a killer view of Lake Tahoe at 9,739 feet. The U.S. Forest Service has rated that particular hike “difficult.”

Our hike from Imlil to base camp, with an elevation gain of 4,813 feet, far surpassed my hike up Mount Tallac, and that wasn’t even the hardest bit! I’d only been as high as 10,522 feet in airplanes, which is even higher than you are now permitted to turn on any approved electronic devices. Whoa. So our night in the refuge, apart from allowing us to rest up for the next day’s adventure, also served the practical and necessary purpose of allowing us to acclimate to our rapid altitude shift.

So, to get from the refuge to the summit, we climbed another 3,149 feet, exclusively through snow and ice. I’m telling you all of this because I have time to sit around and figure it all out, and also so I sound like a badass. I’m no mountaineer, folks, I’m a recreational hiker at best, and this was by far the most strenuous hike/climb I’ve ever done. On a whim! No plans! Whoopee!

Real mountaineers, I’ve learned, have got to be really solid people. Climbing that mountain took some serious physical and mental stamina, much more than we thought it would. I sang halfway up the mountain to pass the time as, step by step, breath by breath, we slowly scrambled up the snowy passes to the peak. And you know what? To real mountaineers, perhaps Toubkal isn’t that big of a deal. Mount Everest is 29,029 feet, so if we’d climbed another 1,687 feet, we’d have scaled half its height. Mountains. Are. Big. We are badass.

And so we climbed! This is what I saw when I turned back to look at how far I’d come, about an hour in:

See the clouds? We climbed from below those. WUT.

It’s hard to capture how steep, long, and vast these expanses of snow were, but here’s an attempt or two:

Lookit how small the people are! We are small people. We are small, people. Mountain: You are small, people.

Eventually, we made it to the top of the pass, with about a half-hour, 45-minute climb left along the ridge to the summit. Catey and I stopped to take pictures.

Oh. Further information on my footwear: one of my crampons, the one on my right foot, broke about 4 meters from the refuge. We stopped periodically to makeshift-lash it together so it’d stay on my foot, and stay mildly functional:

I’m not sure if you can see it, but it’s tied firmly to itself in a valiant attempt to keep it from coming apart. My triumph thus far despite crampon mushkils and steeeeeeep inclines and snow and ice led to an exhilarated and victorious feeling on my part:

And then…well, we bagged a peak, as Seattle Guy put it! During this last stretch, I’d stop every so-many steps to breathe and snap a picture. Here are some of them.

A path leading off the edge of the world.

See the snowy pass in the middle? That’s where we hiked up.

YES.

Whoa.

THIS CANNOT BE REAL LIFE BUT IT IS.

And then, a valley of clouds.

AND THEN SUMMIT WOOOOOOOOOOOOO

VICTORIOUS! Unfortunately, Samewise Gamgee took ill halfway up the mountain and went back to the refuge to rest. We missed him. He probably had to go back through Moria and fight off a buttload of Orcs, because he’s awesome that way.

And then, Lord of the Rings sing-along.

This post took FOREVER. I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF FOR FINISHING IT.

PAX, Y’ALLZ.

NO, IT ISN’T!!!

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Yesterday, in a quick cab from the Hassan II Mosque to the Casablanca train station to catch a train home, the driver pointed this out to us as we drove by:

…Let me blow that up a bit for you.

You muusssst remember thiiiiis, a kiss is still a kiiiisssssss,

A SIGH IS JUST A SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH!!!!!

“It’s the original Rick’s,” he said earnestly, “the original. Vous avez vu le film?”

Beezy, pleasy, I thought. DUH HAVE I SEEN THE FILM PSHAW BUT I ALSO KNOW THAT THE entire film was shot in the studio in L.A. I’ll believe you, though, snap a photo out the window, and say I’ve been to (driven by) Rick’s!

Or,

I rather dumbly sprayed chocolate milk all over myself with a straw this morning, but it was worth it because MOSQUE.

WeeeEEEeee (by we I mean a few girls in our cohort and our Moroccan pal Qaiss) went to Casablanca today! Sadly, I must inform you all that Casablanca is neither romantic nor well-liked among Moroccans; it’s not a cultural hotspot, it’s all business and is considered just a big, stinky city. Still, it’s Casa-friggin-blanca, which I insist is awesome no matter what you say. We went to a book fair (trilingual book fair, cool! I got a free Islamic sex-ed book, and bought a cookbook), and visited the largest mosque in Africa, the third largest mosque in the world: the breathtaking Hassan II mosque. It’s…big. And art. It’s big art.

This is what it looks like on the outside:

Look at how small the people are. This place is HUGE!

After a strange pizza and questionable Maghribian ketchup that tasted like a cross between Cholula and Sriracha, we ran to catch a tour of the mosque that we quickly abandoned and that nobody listened to anyway.

We were encouraged to take photos, but were also called Japanese tourists once or twice, so I’m not sure what their deal was with cameras. After an attempt or two at photographing the cavernous, beautiful interior…

And many jaws dropped that day.

…I concluded that the wings upon wings, the pillars, the alcoves, the carpets, the floors, the doors, the chandeliers, the ceilings, such an overwhelming amount of beauty all in one huge place—was all too much to attempt to capture in a photo, or twelve, or thirty-six.  Relaxing the pressure to prove I was here and felt emotions while here made the experience much less stressful, and I found myself instead wandering around the enormous mosque, clutching the plastic bag containing my shoes, mouth open and eyes cast upward.

I thenceforth relegated myself to preserving bits and pieces of the intricate details and patterns inlaid everywhere throughout the mosque, which I hope you enjoy!

Slightly blurry, enormous hammam in basement of mosque. Yes, that’s a giant bathtub.

Whoa.

After a lot of staring at things, we finally stepped back into the bright Moroccan sun, and the overload of art-beauty-awesome-big caused some kind of blip in my excitable system. I proceeded to skip around, yelling stuff like “PRETTY THINGSSSSS!!!!” and “THIS IS BIIIIIIIIIIG!!!” and taking pictures with wild abandon.

…And that’s all I have to say about that.