Tuesday, November 30, 2010

London Day 3

It's the start of my 3rd full day here and it's cold and snowy! Something's wrong when Toronto's forecasted to be 10 C and the UK is in a "deep freeze" with "arctic conditions." I'm going to have to shop for warm jumpers today because I packed for temps in the high single digits.
My first purchase here was a wool/cashmere jacket Sunday from Reiss in a biscuit colour. I knew I had to have it as soon as I put it on.
Yesterday was all about shoes and boots - 3 of which were from Clarks which is so different in the UK! The heels and boots are stylish AND comfortable! I bought the middle pair below in black and the bottom pair as shown, along with a pair of boots. I've always thought of myself as more of a bag lady then a shoe girl but it seems my shoe addiction only manifests in London. No more shoes though!
My mission today is to find an outfit for the "From Russia with Love" theme party I'm going to on Friday. What that means I'm not quite sure but I figure I'll know it when I see it.
Apart from the shopping which has been great, I've been very impressed with the decor in the cafe/restos here. I'm sitting in a high-style juice and sandwich bar(!) called Joe and the Juice taking advantage of the free wifi and wishing there was a cool space like this back home.

Isn't this just so inviting? I don't want to leave but I've been here 1.5hrs and should probably get a move on...

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

In London

My flight arrived 30 min early from Casablanca via Madrid yesterday and by the time I cleared passport control, my checked bag had arrived and was set aside off the carousel - no waiting!
I made my way to the trains and took the Paddington Express and then the tube to my cousin's flat in the East end of the city. Here's the view from her balcony this cool and bright Sunday:

We stayed up until 3am catching up and watching videos before I had to turn in and though we got up at 9am (which is sleeping in for me since I was awoken everyday in Morocco by the first call to prayer) I'm feeling very chill and well-rested.
We had scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast and have been lazing around listening to Noddy Holder's Best Christmas Songs Ever! Top 50. There's a tube strike tonight so if we're to head out, we've got to do so and return before the tube stops running at 7pm. So maybe a movie...I'll brave the shops tomorrow when people are back at work.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The food stalls in Djemaa el-Fna

Just came back from a quick jaunt to the square - time enough to try some snails, 5 dirhams for a small bowl...

...and to pick up a sweetener in the freshest dried apricots I've ever had. Ever. I'm going to go back tomorrow night with my ziplock bags so I can bring them home...assuming they last the week in London.

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In Marrakech....

Wow. It's Day 12(?) of my 2 week Gap Adventure in Morocco and this trip has exceeded my expectations, though I didn't know what really to expect. Highlight so far has been doing cartwheels in the Sahara and sleeping under the starry desert skies (despite the cold!!)
Pics to come once I've had a chance to upload them to a computer and edit them.
This is the first hotel with free wi-fi so I'm sitting in the lobby with football on the tv taking advantage after my long internet drought. We're steps from the Djemaa el-Fna, the main square where the snack charmers have since packed up for the day and the food stalls, belly dancers and storytellers have set up, and literally across the street
from the Koutoubia with its iconic minaret. (Apologies for the crap photo.)

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

One more sleep....

I've spent the last 3 hours packing for my 3 weeks away and I'm mostly done.  There's the usual last minute packing of the toiletries and various sundry items the day of but my clothes - pseudo-planned outfits(!) - flats and comfy birks for walking are tucked away in my suitcase.

I spent some time stressing about what book(s) to bring on this trip...in the end I settled on a new read - Jen Sookfong Lee's The End of East (gotta support the CBC sista!), and 2 titles I'd consider among my all-time favorites which I've already re-read in the past: John Armstrong's Conditions of Love and Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. All 3 titles are fairly slim - the last thing I want is to be lugging heavy books from Canada to Europe to North Africa and back again. Been there, done that, except for the North Africa part. A girl's got to leave room for the shopping, right?

In about 17 hours, I'll be sitting on a plane for a well-deserved break.  My Gap Adventure doesn't start until Saturday so I'll have 1.5 days alone in Casablanca, a prospect which makes me rather nervous.  I'm sure I'll be fine but I've never been completely alone like that in a foreign country.  I like to consider myself fairly well-travelled but despite often flying solo, I'm usually meeting someone on the other end so this will certainly be a novel experience.

The tour doesn't cover Casablanca at all so I've got my trusty Rough Guide to keep me company as I explore the city's Art Deco architecture and visit the Hassan II Mosque with its 689' minaret, the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world.

It'll be good and I'll be fine.  I just have to keep repeating that to myself.

Now, to sleep.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Went to West Elm before the gym tonight and picked up the owl and the paper mache bird with my 20% off Friends & Family Card:

Cute right?? 

I also saw these Alphabet Mugs but didn't need any more mugs of my own.  While I was doing my requisite post-training cardio, I had a brainstorm and rushed back to West Elm just as they were closing the doors for the evening but they let me in since I knew exactly what I wanted and managed to cash out before customers that were there before I arrived finished their purchases. 

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