Ourika Valley

The last day in Marrakech, we did a day excursion and hired a driver to take us to the Ourika Valley, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains (as seen from Marrakech in the image directly below). It rained on and off for most of the day that day, so it turned out to be a good time to spend riding in the car. Those who know the desert, know that it completely changes when rain falls. Most notably, all of the green comes out. I wouldn’t really recommend this excursion to anyone because honestly, it turned out to be super touristy. But seeing the desert in bloom from the rain was worthwhile. The fast moving clouds also provided for some dramatic lighting at times.

Marrakech

I had the occasion to spend some in Morocco recently with B. Actually, she put together the whole trip, and I was just along for the ride. As Morocco is a very visually stimulating place, I put on my shutterbug hat and went wild. During the span of our 10 days there, I snapped well over 1000 frames. And judging by the length of this post, one would think that I put them all on here, haha. The images in this post are from the five days that we spent in Marrakech. I’m have organized them into three groups:

  • Places and People
  • Things
  • Details
  • Landscape/Night

A bit about Marrakech:

I wasn’t really sure what to think about it before I went. When I arrived it certainly wasn’t what I expected. We stayed inside the medina section of the city. The Medina is the old city center, a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways enclosed by a perimeter wall. To say that it is easy to get lost is an understatement. It took us a solid day just to get our bearings, using the riad we stayed in (seen in the first image above, and would highly recommend to others) as a reference point. It was a very invigorating and occasionally frustrating experience. I will say that 5 days was more than enough time to spend there. If I could do it again, I would probably have shortened it to three days.

Here is what I saw, starting with Places and People:Continue reading

Some Art, Some Running

Even though it is March and the days are getting longer, it still 100% feels like winter out there. Despite the temps, B and I forced ourselves to be out and about last week. Thursday night we hit the Retna opening at Chase Contemporary. I have been a fan of his for a while. Here is a sample of his Bowery wall mural, as I saw it in March 2012. Anyway, we saw some equally awesome stuff at the gallery opening on Thurs.

That being said, I kind of feel bad for anyone who opened an exhibition last week in NYC, because the town was all abuzz with the fact that Banksy was back in North America and had put some work in NYC. So much hype that even the local news covered it, hahahaha. Lordy, it was like listening to a couple of elderly ladies talking about “the grime raps” or something. Speaking of the Bowery Mural, B*nksy has turned it into his latest propaganda piece.

I haven’t made it over to see that one yet. But we did wander into Chelsea to look at the rat. Here are a couple of snaps, along with a couple of my faves from the Retna opening.

Aaaaand finally, B and I both ran the NYC half on Sunday. It was a new course, starting in Prospect Park, ending in Central Park. The course went over the Manhattan Bridge, which was awesome for me since I mix that bridge into most of my longer runs anyway. The difference being that I usually have it to myself instead of sharing it with 20k other runners. Back to the weather…. this was probably the coldest race I have ever run. It was fine, once I finally got going and the sun came up. But man, waiting for it to start was brutal! New course is amazing. B got a PR. Overall, a really decent day. Here is a crappy pic from my celly of my fellow runners freezing their booties off in Prospect Park.

Happy Valentine’s Day – A Love Letter to New York

Happy Valentine’s Day, New York! I have been with you now for the vast majority of my adult life. Like any relationship, we have been through our ups and downs. We have known each other through various of our phases. You put up with me when I was an annoying student who thought I knew everything. I put up with you when I had to push past the protestors in Zuccotti park for all of those weeks, every morning on my way to work.

Over the years, I’ve tried to do my part to be there for you. I can say that you have definitely really come through for me on more than one occasion, as well. I owe you the credit for introducing me to all of my closest friends, including my lovely, B. There was that time when my daughter was born. I’m pretty sure that she wouldn’t have survived birth had it not been for the deep bench of skilled professionals you seem to attract.

Your beauty constantly inspires me, often when I’m not expecting it. For every photo of you that I have taken with a camera or my phone, I have 100 more that were only recorded by the camera in my heart. I have been with you in all seasons, and have shared with you every emotion under the sun. You have taught me what it is like to be broke, and what it is like to have excess.

Despite all of the highs and lows, despite the MTA (I’m looking at you, G train), and the smell of hot trash in August, I still love you. I hope that we can spend many, many more years together.

Love, Jake

Rainy Weekend

Same Brooklyn, different weather. Some of these are from walking around doing errands on Saturday, shot with real camera. Some are cell phone shots from my Sunday morning run. I normally don’t take a phone with me when I run, but I did in the rain? Go figure. Try to spot Lola. She was wearing Camo.

Good Reads: ‘We, The Drowned’

This book was a bit of a deviation from my normal fare, in that, it’s fiction. I have a hard time reading just for entertainment’s sake. I like to be able to take away bit of new practical knowledge from every book I read, even if it is just a story about someone’s life. I was able to justify reading We, the Drowned because, while fiction, it is based on the history of Marstal Denmark from the 1840s through the end of World War II. I’m fascinated by that era generally, and because of my Danish heritage, I’m specifically interested in the history of Denmark during that era. There was added entertainment in the fact that several of the characters in the book bore the same names as my ancestors.

Prior to reading this book, I knew nothing about Marstal. Having now read the book, I actually have a pretty strong desire to visit. It is a small town in the southern part of Denmark, on the island of Ærø. The book is written from third person, but not in an omniscient voice. Instead it is written from the collective voice of the town of Marstal. As the title of the book would suggest, Marstal has a history laden with sailing. Carsten Jensen does an amazing job of telling this story, creating very detailed imagery with the text. This is true to the point that I would not suggest this book for readers who shy away from a bit of gore. It spans over two world wars, and graphically depicts the ugliness that occurs at sea during wartime.

The book was a bit slow to draw me in. But once it did, I did not want it to end. Luckily it is 675 pages, so it lasted me a little while. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning about that span of history, merchant sailing, or just reading a really good story.

Michael Beerens

I came across these pieces on Ekosystem last month and was blown away. The artist’s name is Michael Beerens. Beerens is a France based artist, who I will admit that I had never heard of until I came across the aforementioned post on Eko. I looked at a bunch of his work after discovering, and a lot of it is animal-centric, similar to Roa and Nychos. Anyway, these schools of fish are what really stood out to me. The piece in the first image, especially.

[Images via Ekosystem]