between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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THE CALL–a movie as promised0

Posted by Andrew in EGYPT, MOROCCO, TUNISIA, SYRIA, TURKEY (October 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm)

weve made alot of promises on this blog that we havent kept, about stories photos and such that we simply never got around to posting. But in honor of our 1 year anniversary of leaving the states(tomorrow–Ocotber 3rd) we will turn over a new leaf.

click here to watch a video featuring the infamous call or prayer from all over the arab world—for those who dont know, 5 times a day, all the mosques have a real(or sometimes recorded—boooo!) voice singing on a loudspeaker, letting people know that its about time to pray. It can be haunting at times, echoing down lonely streets, or startling in the middle of the night, depending on where your hotel window room is. But most of all its just a part of life, and after a while I didnt notice it half the time. Enjoy the movie…

JESSICA SEZ: there was only one place where anyone told us the call to prayer was recorded. the vast majority of the time, some dude gets himself to the mosque, 5 times a day, and sings his heart out. sometimes he’s a great singer, othertimes it’s all about heart. but it’s always cool. except if it’s pre-recorded. that’s just lame.

ANDREW RETURNZ: We are in Sarajevo today, coming from the beautiful Dalmatian coast of Croatia. of course, pictures will hopefully be posted about 3 weeks after weve been there(not everything is gonna change).

Ma-ah salama—Leaving the Arab world2

Posted by Andrew in MOROCCO, TUNISIA, SYRIA, LEBANON (September 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm)

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We’ll be writing more about Turkey soon—it’s a huge country, and in 3 weeks we only saw a few small bits of it. (we are in Greece now) You’ve probably heard the debate about whether turkey should be part of Europe (the EU at least) or is it really a part of Asia, or the Middle East. For my cent and a half, I’ll just say that once we crossed the Syrian border and left the south of Turkey behind, it was clear that something had changed, starting with the language.
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The people were speaking Turkish, leaving the 20 or so Arabic phrases we had picked up virtually useless, and suddenly, we had left the Arab world after 5 months of immersion.

Fortunately, our last stop was one of the best. In Haleb (Aleppo to the non-Syrian), we were guests of Jamal, our favorite couchsurfing host so far (no offense to many other great hosts—you guys rocked as well). Jamal’s family treated us like we were relatives, and his mom cooked us some really great food.
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We hung out with Jamal, his best friend Jamal, 20070812269 a 2 jamalls in grass.jpg

…and their gang of friends, and we got to have lots of good discussions about life, politics and everything in between.CIMG4384 shoe shine jamal.jpgCIMG7806 2 jamals at home.jpgCIMG7684 da haleb gang over cityscape.jpgCIMG7736 3 js and mosque.jpg

JESSICA SEZ: We also went to Aleppo’s new (and maybe Syria’s first?) waterpark. Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture, but they had a waterslide that was totally new to both of us. It shot you down a long enclosed tube, then dropped you into a giant open-top funnel, where you went round and round and then finally dropped out the bottom into a pool. Just like being flushed down a toilet!
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ANDREW RETURNZ: Like Damascus, Aleppo is also a very old city with lots of history, and a huge covered market.(they say 30 kilometers worth of shops)

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I’m defintely sad to be leaving the arab word, and missing many things about the culture already. To try and give yall a little taste, click here to watch a video I put together with some clips from various countries we’ve visited since March —it includes a carpet auction in Tunisia, a 1-day-old baby goat in the Moroccan Saraha, election day on the streets of Beiruit, and several views of the Mediterranean. (some of the clips were ones I wanted to post when we were in Tunisia but had no real internet access.)

If you sat through that video and are wondering about the call to prayer and why it wasn’t included, we just have to much video and Im skeptical that many people are willing to watch even the 7 minute long movie above. Coming soon is a short video “The Call”. any day now, I promise.
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Looking forward, we have sketched out the next (and last) leg of our trip—and we only have about 6 weeks to go. Rome is on the horizon and the Balkans await!!
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SAHARA–west to east0

Posted by Andrew in EGYPT, MOROCCO (May 11, 2007 at 2:05 pm)

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ok, so we are still seeing too much stuff to go through all our pictures. to our new portugese friends we promise to give you props soon… or else!!
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One hour before we take an all-night bus, a quick update and some hastily chosen shots.

first–the western Sahara..Morocco:
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A couple nights livin berber style:
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Then, here in Egypt, we spent a week in the white desert. it was a special environmental clean up, where volunteers pick up tourists trash from the past year.
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Ill be reporting on it somewhere soon.–check back here for details.
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Weve spent the last several days exploring Cairo–an awesome city that I never expected. it has more than twice the number of people as NYC. Its huge, dirty, crowded, crazy and a mix of old, new and everything inbetween.
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Oh yeah…we checked out those big triangular things too.
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Were now on our way to Aswan and the South…we promised those Morocco pics as well, and they will come..when weve got a little time to spare. It was fast and furious. those Moroccans really know how to hustle
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See yall on the banks of the nile…
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howdy ya’ll - we’re in EGYPT!0

Posted by Jessica in EGYPT, MOROCCO (April 29, 2007 at 3:22 pm)

no time for a real update right now. we just arrived in Cairo Egypt this morning, and tomorrow we embark for a week in the White Desert. we’re on cleanup duty. folks leave A LOT of trash in the desert! (especially toilet paper, i’m told)

anyway, just wanted to say we spent 10 days in MOROCCO - passing thru several major attractions at the speed of light, and now will see some EGYPT.

MOROCCO: Fes, Meknes, Marakesh (all 3 - hammams & souks, souks, souks!), Merzouga (camels, desert, dunes). Wow! amazing pics online next week!

The Snows Down In Africa3

Posted by Andrew in MOROCCO, SPAIN (February 7, 2007 at 6:02 pm)

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The title is true. Our first evening ever in Africa,(Morocco to be exact) and it was snowing. I guess it shouldnt be such a surprise(it snowed Granada the day before), but its just not what I expected.

What is there to do except make the best of it? After meeting up with my boy Rob,CIMG9311 rob looks up.jpg we hiked up a mountain and had a snowball fight with some local kids.
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The snowfall in Granada the day earlier was the first ever in jessicas life,(FLA. represent!!) but she demonstrated much skills in snowball packing and guerilla warfare tactics. [JESSICA SEZ: i had seen snow before but not while it was falling. and the truth is i got clocked in the head many more times than i made a hit of my own]
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Oh yeah..Morocco. We spent a few days in a Town called Chefchaouen. Its nestled in the Rif mountains a couple hours south of the coast.
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The entire town is painted White and Electric Blue.
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There are lots of artisans in Chefchaouen, and it also happens to be the kif production capital of the world.(as biggie said: if you dont know…..) Muy tranquila, si?
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Through our cultural ignorance, we also were not expecting to encounter the Djellaba (pronounced-like ‘Jalabi’)–a cool Star Wars looking tunic, which is a traditional outfit in Morrocco, and clearly keeps people warm in the winter.(although they have thin ones for the summer too.)
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Unfortunately, most of the young people in Morocco seem to be moving away from wearing the Djellaba.
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We stayed warm thanks to Rob, who buit a nice fire in our sweet guest house(using electric blue wood of course).
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Much love also goes out to Jaime, Nancy, and Hisham. Unfortunately, Jessicas Camera was sucked into the Moroccan vortex and we lost our only pictures of them.(if you guys are reading this, email us some pics!!). ***And if you are the person that took Jessicas camera–could you at least send us the pictures on the chip? And do you realize how stupid you are now that the proprietary battery has run out and the camera doesn’t work???***

I digress…So after a few relaxing days Chefchaouen, we had to check out Tangier for a night.
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According to our guide book, the fleabag hotel we stayed at is where William Burroughs stayed when he wrote Naked Lunch.. problem is, our book says he stayed in room number 9, and the rooms only go up to 8. While there is a chance that this bano used to be a bedroom, we cant be sure.
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But Im relatively positive that Burroughs chilled out on this patio at one time or another. you can just feel the history…
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Besides being a good cheap place to buy a new camera, one of the coolest things about Tangier, and Ceuta (a Spanish city on the African mainland where we crossed into Morocco) was how people are speaking, sometimes in the same sentence, French, Arabic, Spanish, and English. [JESSICA SEZ:It ‘broke our heads’ as the locals would say. I suffered from a wierd travelers aphasia - i’d open my mouth to speak in one language and some other language would come out, or it would be an unintentional mixture. Then my brain would just shut down and I could only laugh at myself.]
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After a boat ride back to Spain, where we gazed at the rock of gibraltar, we made it back to Granada after missing only 2 days of school.CIMG9892 gibraltar.jpg

Pero, en el barco, estudiamos muchos, por supuesto.
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A few days later, we finally made it to the Alhambra, but you will have to wait for those pictures and blog entry coming soon..suffice it to say–that thing is totally incredible. Stay tuned!!!
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