Snake handler with his charges on Jemaa el Fnaa
My trip to Marrakech was my first with my new iPhone 5s and I wanted to check out the slow motion video feature everyone was raving about. Unfortunately, I discovered the slo-mo only works if you send the video from your iPhone to another iDevice. The video plays normal speed when you upload to YouTube. It’s still pretty cool and the sounds give you a good feeling of the craziness that is Jemaa El Fna.
Snake charmer on Jemaa el Fnaa
Water Carriers on Jemaa El Fnaa (shot using Hipstamatic)
Henna Painting on Jemaa el Fnaa
Henna is a popular souvenir to take home from Marrakech. You can find henna painters like this one on Jemaa El Fna.
Figs, dates, and dried fruits for sale on Jemaa El Fnaa
In addition to snake handlers, musicians and acrobats, Jemaa El Fnaa also is one huge food court selling everything from fresh and dried fruit to roast meat on skewers.
Looking down at Jemaa El Fnaa
For the best view at Sunset, head to the Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier on the Square. There is no web site, no phone, and address is simple: Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech, Morocco. Grab a mint tea and watch the sunset over the square and the night action begin. I set up my iPhone on a tripod and sipped mint tea while I shot this timelapse video.
Time Lapse of Sunset Over Jemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech
Laterns after dark on Jemaa El Fnaa
The square stays busy after dark. Sellers sill peddle their wares and the food stalls smell exotic and delicious.
Nightscape of Jemaa El Fnaa
Travel Tip: Never trust the signs around the medina pointing you to Jemaa El Fnaa. The local kids are known to move them around and confuse you so they can earn a few Dirhams showing you the correct direction to the big square.
The fireman at work stoking the flames of a hammam
Here in Los Angeles it’s pretty common for most musicians to have a day job. On my recent trip to Marrakech, I learned this is also true in Morocco. I had a fabulous guide, Khadija Benbourahel, who showed me around the medina. One of the highlights of my tour of the old city was when she introduced me to the fireman in the medina. The fireman’s day job is keeping the fire burning at a neighborhood hammam. But he’s also a Gnawa musician who plays this mystical Moroccan folk music.
The fireman slash musician rocks his tasseled Gnawa hat
Not only was it fascinating to see the fireman’s “office” behind-the-scenes at the hammam, but it was such a treat to be able to have such a genuine Moroccan experience and little private concert. Here’s a little video I captured on my iPhone 5s:
Khadija played rhythm with the fireman of the medina
Khadija runs a company called Morocco Private Experience that specializes in tailor-made authentic tours of Morocco. She’s smart and gave me such a special experience I highly recommend using her as a tour guide.
GIF of the Gnawa Musician slash fireman twirling Gnawa hat
Morocco Private Experience
USA tel: +1 201 977 1232
Tel: +212 661 21 16 15
Nomadic chic is the vibe at La Pause
Marrakech is one of my favorite cities to visit, but the madness of the medina can often be overwhelming. On my recent trip to Morocco, I took a day trip to check out La Pause Eco-Resort, which is only 30 kilometers outside of town in the Agafay desert, but an entire world away. There is no electricity or wifi, but there is an organic garden and olive trees. I only came for a few hours for a camel trek and lunch, but I liked it so much that next time I plan on staying the night… or three.
Left: Outdoor seating areas at La Pause Right: Shady dining table under a Berber style tent
La Pause has a variety of activities beyond camel treks. You ride horses, donkeys and bicycles and take a visit to nearby Berber village. There is also some thing called “cross golf”, a new form of cross country golf. Guests who stay overnight can sleep in one of the six restored traditional Berber pisé huts made with mud and straw or sleep under the stars in one of the nomadic tents.
Drinking mint tea in the arbor at La Pause
Upon arrival we were shown to a shady olive grove near the pool and served traditional mint tea. Then came our rather pleasant camel trek. The camels were rather charming and scent free compared to those I met in Jordan. Lunch was served under one of the nomadic chic tents around the property.
Camels at La Pause
Produce from La Pause’s own garden and olive oil pressed from their own trees are part of the menu. It was fresh, light and delicious and paired well with both white and red Moroccan wine. It was rather nice to visit this desert oasis and enjoy some gorgeous desert scenery so close to central Marrakech.
Lunch under a shady tent at La Pause
Lunch at La Pause cost 35 Euros per person and a one hour camel trek cost 50 Euros.
Left: Produce is from La Pause’s own Garden Right: Moroccan wine was rather delightful
One of the friendly locals joined us for lunch at La Pause
The interior of one of the traditional pisé huts with mud & straw walls
Since there is no electricity, there are candles galore.
Windowsill still life in a traditional Berber hut
Here’s a bit of video from my camel ride:
Rates at La Pause run from 1,000 – 1,500 dhm ($122- $184 USD) including full board.
Douar Lmih Laroussiere, Commune Agafay
phone 06 61 30 64 94
The lovely bellydancer at Dar Marjana is just one of the restaurant’s many charms
On my recent trip to Marrakech I returned to Dar Marjana, which is one of the most atmospheric restaurants I’ve ever experienced. Located in a renovated riad that once belonged to a Pasha, it’s a great choice for a night out on the town.
Dar Marjana is one of Morocco’s Palace-style restaurants. This is the place to go for the full-on traditional Moroccan feast (and they cater to vegetarians, too) and entertainment. It’s always a win always a win for both the food and experience. Every night feels like a party, and this visit was even more so, since I had friends who happened to be in Marrakech at the same time who joined me.
Musician at Dar Marjana
The evening begins lounging on low slung couches in the romantic courtyard sipping Moroccan wine and being entertained by local muscians. It’s all kinds of Arabian nights awesome. And who knew wine from a Muslim country would be so drinkable?
Left: Dar Marjana Courtyard Right: The fountain
After your pre-dinner drinks and snacks, you head into one of the exquisitely tiled salons to begin your feast. The names of the ladies in our group decorated our table in sequins. Servers arrive to wash your hands at the table.
Hand washing at Dar Marjana.
Huge slatters of food including variety of Moroccan salads are served. followed by traditional dishes like chicken tangine and pigeon pastille (pigeon pie). Wine flows endlessly. Lamb dishes can be ordered ahead of time.
Endless varieties of Moroccan salads at Dar Majana
Left: dessert was delicious Right: tea pouring ceremony
You’ll eat a ton, but it’s all very tasty and delicious. Dessert and tea are served and then the music gets turned to 11 and the party really starts.
Yummy vegetables at Dar Marjana
A local Gnawa musician getting the party started at Dar Marjana
Hips shaking at Dar Marjana
Then the bellydancer swivels into the salon to entertain and work the crowd. Many diners wind up on their feet and a good time is had by all.
Severin and the Bellydancer
Set menus (including drinks) at Dar Marjana run about 650 dh (or $80 USD) per person. Reservations are suggested. You can check out some video of Dar Marjana I shot on my last visit here.
15 Derb Sidi Ali Tair
Bab Doukkala, Medina
telephone +212 44 38 51 10
The Sydney Opera House at Sunrise as seen from room 114 of the Park Hyatt Sydney
I didn’t get a lot of sleep on my recent trip to Sydney. Between trying to work remotely (with an 18 hour time difference), jet lag, and trying to enjoy my time in Sydney, sleep didn’t wind up being much of priority.
The view from my Opera Deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Sydney was hella distracting. I was just starting to doze off around 5 am when my husband said to me, “I know you want to sleep, but I think you should set up a camera to do a time lapse for sunrise. It’s going to be beautiful.”
He was right. Seeing the sunrise behind the Opera house and watching Sydney Harbour wake up for the day was totally worth forgoing sleep. I ordered a Flat White from room service and watched this happen. I shot a few stills using my Fuji X100 since my iPhone 5 was shooting this time-lapse with the TimeLapse app.
Sunrise Time Lapse Video of Sydney Opera House and Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
My favorite part is at the 53 second mark in the video, when you suddenly notice the Carnival Spirit cruise ship pulling into the Harbour. The music is the acoustic version of Colin Hay’s Overkill (Yes, he’s lead singer of Men at Work).
This video is my favorite thing I’ve made using mobile photography this year. I hope you enjoy it.
If you get sick of the view (or just need sleep), the Park Hyatt has awesome black out curtains.