Three hours after leaving Casablanca, I was in Tangier. This city was at the northern part of Morocco. Close to the Mediterranean Sea, this city has such a strong Spanish influence. Some of the buildings have Spanish architecture. This area’s history with Spain goes back several hundreds to thousands of years. It almost looked like I was in Latin America.
Got to my Airbnb apartment, it was near the beach. This looks a like an awesome place to visit during the summer time. The cold breeze with the beautiful beaches confused me. I felt I like running downstairs to jump into the water. What stopped me was the need to have my winter coat with me. It was like a very cold Miami without the heat.
Some of the people here speak Spanish. You can tell where someone is from originally because of how they speak Spanish. The history this place has with Spain is interesting. When the Spanish Jews and Moors got kicked out of Spain, they had to settle in different parts of North Africa. Others converted to Christianity and left for the Spanish colonies in the Americas. So, the Spanish Moors and Jews that went back to Morocco settled in this region of the country. The Jews settled more in the “Blue city” or Chefchaouen that’s about an hour away by car.
Went to a mall near my accommodation. I wanted to eat out and try some Moroccan food. To my disappointment, all the food was American globalization flavored. I did have a conversation with a local that spoke Spanish. He couldn’t speak English and my skills towards this country’s governmental languages are horrible. Spanish was our common language. My new friend let me know that he learned Spanish from his parents. He even spoke Spanish with a Spaniard accent but he looked Latin American. It was surreal to experience this. I felt like the biggest history nerd knowing this guy has roots to the Moors and/or the sephardic jew. Spanish is taught at home by being passed down generationally. Same goes with judaism.
Came back near the apartment I rented, I was a little annoyed. I went to Morocco to eat hamburgers and french fries. There’s a French joke here, but I’m not going to touch it. Anyways, I wanted to eat Moroccan food. Sadly, I started to noticed that local food is hard to come by when you are staying in the touristy areas.
Stay safe everyone and remember to wash your hands!
Sorry for posting on Thursday. Had a wild day yesterday.
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Twas the night before Christmas, somewhere there was a kid secretly opening their presents without the adults knowing. When I was a toddler, that kid opening presents early was me. The Christmas spirit filled me with so much nostalgia. At one point in my life, it was my favorite time of the year.
Seeing families with their children running home put a smile on my face. Everybody looked happy and relaxed. The Puerta Del Sol was packed with people. All eyes fixed on the neon lighted Christmas tree. I was in lost for words. This tree lived up to the hype.
The texture and patterns of the lights were so interesting. It felt like Times Square when the ball drop for new year’s. The Spanish public square was completely packed. Everywhere you turned, there was a person with a camera. Had to get out the main part of Puerta Del Sol to take a photo. It was almost impossible to get close to the tree.
Still with all these people, I was loving the moment. People were all together celebrating something positive. Not sure, why that stood out to me. Maybe because I feared someone or something would make a negative out this celebration. Luckily, everything was relaxed. You didn’t even see police with guns imposing like you do in the USA. There was no sense of intensity here. Just smilingly faces with joyful expressions.
Started walking back to my Airbnb apartment. The thought about of my family came to my mind. I wonder how they were doing. I spoke with my parents and everything was fine. What made me pounder, were my cousins. We used to be so close. Yearly, I used to celebrate Christmas with them. Around this time as kids, my brother and I used to travel to New York City to visit. Sadly as you get older, sometimes family bonds fade away. Who you considered your love ones, don’t always want to show you love back. Please, treasure the good moments with your love ones. You never know what the future has in store! Regradless of how I was feeling, loved my time in Madrid.
Hey everyone we got nominated for the sunshine award!!
I Want to say thank you to chocoviv. She is someone who is always positive! I really recommend reading her blog! Here is the link! Even when everything is not going her way, she alway looks at the bright side of things. Her blog is for people who love positivity. Truly honoured that she reads my blog post 🙂
The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules :
Thank the blogger (s) who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
List the rules and display an award logo on your blog.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger (s) asked you.
Nominate 11 other bloggers to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
Ask the nominees 11 new questions.
1) Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, do you celebrate any special day in December?
Yes, I celebrate Christmas. However, the way My family and I celebrate it is different than the main stream. It’s more about eating food than exchanging presents. Our meals are the presents.
2) What book are you reading right now?
Currently reading the 48 laws of power.
3) Netflix or YouTube?
Youtube all the way. Since most of it is free.
4) Favourite movie?
The movie Hugo. It’s crazy how it has my name as the movie’s title and I could relate it to struggle of the main character.
5) Favourite artist?
Don’t really have a favorite. For some reason Bob Marley is the first to come to mind.
6) Dream vacation location?
Antarctica! Currently planning on going there soon!
7) When did you start blogging?
About 4 years ago
8) Why did you start blogging?
My friend recommended me to start blogging. Sadly he just wanted to use me.
9) Do you like using gift bags or are you a wrap-expert?
We don’t do normal gifts. Our meals are the gifts. So i guess plastic bags.
10) Favourite childhood toy?
A teddy bear i called Pacheco. I losted it somewhere.
11) Go to friend’s house or host the party at your own place?
Probably go to a friend’s house. I hate when people are at my home. Things tend to go missing.
Alright! Time for my questions!!
1) what are your plans for next year?
2) How are you going to make sure those goals are accomplished for next year?
3) What is the favorite place you traveled to?
4) Do you like to travel alone or with friends?
5) what is the funniest travel story you experienced?
6) Does it snow this time of the year where you live?
7) When did you start blogging?
8) Do you enjoying blogging?
9) What is the best thing that has happened to you this year?
Landed in Madrid on December 23 , two days before Christmas. The flight from Tangier to Madrid was about an hour long and costed me 25 dollars. I never been to Spain, so I was super excited to see what this city had to offer.
Took a taxi from Madrid’s international airport to my Airbnb apartment. Got into a conversation with the taxi driver about the current affairs in Spain. Barcelona really wants independence. They been fighting for it recently and it’s had become more intense. I was told to not speak Spanish to locals in Barcelona. It might cause a fight.
Once settled, I had to eat. I haven’t eaten since being in Morocco. There was no food given out on that flight. Maybe, that’s why it was so cheap.
Found a place near the apartment I rented out. It was owned by a Chinese couple. It was interesting to see Chinese people speak Spanish with Spaniard accent. It was kind of mind blowing to be honest.
Of course, I ordered rice with beans. For desert, it was flan with a glass of sangria. These are so common in Latin American countries that I almost felt at home. Speaking Spanish was so simple and natural to me. Coming from Morocco, having people around that spoke Spanish felt like 10 tons of weight left my shoulders. Compared to my time in Morocco, they only spoke french and arabic. Few spoke English or Spanish.
People were surprised to hear me speak Spanish with a non-Spaniard accent. They couldn’t believe I was from the USA. Americans really don’t have a good reputation around the world. I’m constantly reminded of it. PS. We are known as culturally ignorant. Please, make sure we change their views.
Once my meal was done, I walked around little bit. Didn’t want to go too far because getting lost was not my ideal situation at the moment. I usually wait for the second day. Got back to my apartment and was ready for the next morning.
Growing up in California, the Mexican influence is very strong. From having Mexican restaurants in nearly very city in the state, Mexican folklore is very familiar to Californians. One story that we are constantly told as kids is the one of this crying woman. Our Mexican friends usually told us about the story of La llorona.
There is a lot variants of this story’s origins. This is a horror story that has been passed down for about 500 years. So, there will always be some details that were changed. For the most commonly told, it’s starts with a beautiful woman named Maria. In reference, I will be sharing the version my friends told me as a kid.
Maria was said to be so beautiful. Her beauty attracted a wealthy rancher. Maria was a very vain woman. She loved attention and being the center of it. This flaw would come back and haunt her.
Eventually, the wealthy rancher and Maria had three children. She loved those kids. After some time, her husband stop paying Maria attention. His focus was more on the ranch and his three children. Maria slowly grew to envy her children.
One day, Maria saw her husband with his mistress. Lost in rage, she went to her children. Seeing her husband in her children, she took out her anger on them. With her kids, she went to a local river. Drowned each of them, slowly and with cruelty.
After killing her kids, she came back to reality. Maria started to regret what she just did. In guilt, she drowned herself. Now Legend states, her ghost walks rivers of the American Southwest and Mexico looking for children to kill.
This myth brings so much nostalgia to me. It reminds me of the times I spent camping with my friends as a kid. Their parents used to tell us the story of La Llorona so we wouldn’t wander too faraway. Of course, now I do not believe in this story. I just think it was a kid’s horror story. However, as a kid I was truly scared. With all that, still wanted to share this with you all. Next time you are in the southwest usa or mexico, you will be informed in case you hear a woman crying by the river.
Thank you so much for reading! Much love and safe travels! Since it’s October, I will be sharing some American and Latin American folklore.
Been reading a lot of misconceptions on this topic. Would to like spread some light on this part of the Cuban culture. It is always good to know about cultures and religions around the world. First of all, I do not practice this culture rich religion nor am I promoting it. I’m just sharing what I know about santería being a Latino of African heritage. Can’t speak about everything in this post because that would take a few books. So bare with me to those who know a lot about this topic. I’m just summarizing it.
Santería in Latin America is actually very common. A lot of people who practice it now aren’t even hispanic nor of African heritage. This religion is a mixture of Roman Catholicism and Yoruban religions. It’s main language is Lucumí. Native to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto rico. This language is like Latin to the Catholics and Arabic to Muslims. Lucumí is a langague mixed with west African words and Spanish. It has too many words and grammatical differences to be called a Spanish Creole. It’s a completely different tongue.
While in Cuba, I did not want to get blessings from a Santero or santera nor wanted to film their ceremonies. I will explain my reasons later. Most people think Santería is about worshiping the devil. Which is one of the misconceptions. In santería, there’s actually no devil. It’s similar to Pre-Christian religions of the Vikings, Romans and Greeks. There are many gods, so it’s not monotheistic like Islam or Christianity.
The main figure of santería is Changó. Changó is the god of lightning, dance and manliness. The dances you see santeros practicing is to please and get blessings from this lighting god. That’s why the marital arts like capoeria and juego de maní focus mainly around dance. Since, Changó is of Yoruban origin. Which is now manly part of Nigeria. I will speak more about this in detail on another post. Since, I could write a whole book about this topic.
So, the history of Santería is very interesting. This religion was created by slaves in order to hide the preservation of thier African culture from the Spanish. They used saints from the Catholic church to trick the Spanish into thinking they were practicing Christianity. The mixture of African religions with Catholicism was very common in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies. In the Spanish colonies, Santería was born.
Being Hispanic of African heritage from the Caribbean, Santería and other African religions are commonly practiced. Some do it in hiding, others are very open about it. I don’t practice santería because I don’t want to bring spirits into my life. As you all can tell, my life is crazy already. Adding spirits will just complicate things. Also, be careful when going to santeros. You don’t always know their true intentions. They could be bringing negative spirits into your life.
Thank you so much for reading! Much love and safe travels everyone.
After arriving to Los Angeles and stopping by In and Out, it was time for me to lay on a bed. I met up with a friend from the area. He offered to drive me to my hotel. Man, this guy smoked! I appreciate the ride but wow. The air in his car was thick from cigarettes. Great guy, if you can get over the smell of something burning. He left me at my hotel, after learning more about the changes of this city. These changes were interesting.
After talking to an old friend, I went to my hotel room. The room left me speechless. The layout of the room was fit for a king, not a traveler. I had this room all to myself. Truely, a five stars experience.
The view from my window was amazing. At night, it reminded me of my time in Las Vegas with my parents as a child. The sound of the Californian freeway in the background was smoothing. I finally felt at home.
One of the many great things about Southern California, the Spanish history is still visible. Coming from Northern California, our big cities are San Jose, Sacramento and of course San Francisco. Even though the cities still have Spanish roots, it’s not as visible as in Southern California. Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, makes you feel like you are in Spain.
After taking in the view, I reunited with my travel friends. We went to a Peruvian restaurant. The food was out of this world. The rice had a strong taste of garlic. I even tried a Peruvian ice cream. When it came to meat, I only ate what I knew. I had guinea pig once, as a pet.
Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Next week, we will be exploring more of Los Angeles. Have a great week and stay healthy!
When traveling to Buenos Aires, you will land at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport. Located in the city of Ezeiza, in the province of Buenos Aires. The airport is about 22 kilometres (if you are american, 14 miles) away from the actually city of Buenos Aires. There are many shuttle buses from the airport that connect you with the city of Buenos Aires. Also, you can use city taxis that can drop you off to your destination. I always prefer taxis because it is a great to get an insight of the city from a local. Beware of shady taxis drivers!! If traveling from Newark, I do recommend traveling with United Airlines. They gave us dinner and breakfast with a great movie selection.
Before we went to the city of Buenos Aires, we stayed on a military base called Campo de Mayo. Campo de Mayo is one of Argentina’s most important military base. Located in the province of Buenos Aires. Walking down it’s halls, you do get an eerie feeling of sadness. No one ever told us it’s dark history. It wasn’t until after we came back from our trip, we found out it’s history. From 1974 to 1983, was the time of the Dirty War. The Dirty War was a time of state terrorism in Argentina. During this time, Argentina formed the right winged death squad called Argentine Anticommunist Alliance. The death squad, as stated in it’s name, fought against communism. They used the military base to hold the captured leftist guerrillas. Some locals rumors claim that the captured guerrillas were brutally experimented on. Also, the pregnant guerrillas’s newborns were taken away never able to see their mothers again. Lesson of the day, try not walk it’s halls at night.
On America’s Independence Day, we were invited by Gauchos for free steak at their ranch. This was a way of welcoming us, Americans, to their beautiful country. Probably one of the kindest forms of hospitality I ever encountered. The Gauchos are Argentine “cowboys.” They herd cattle year around, similar to the western movies. Their main form of income is earned through hunting. Our Gauchos friends put on a rodeo for us. After the rodeo was finished, they even let us ride their tamed horses. From fear, I did not even attempt to ride one. Horses are pretty tall, it looks like quite the drop to the ground.
When checking out the Province of Buenos Aires, make sure to not just go to it’s capital city, Buenos Aires. The province has a lot to offer. From the Gauchos to it’s Military bases, the province of Buenos Aires has so many hidden jewels of culture and folklore. Check it out when you get the chance. Also, make sure to bring the right plugin for the outlets. Otherwise, you might have to buy an overpriced plugin adapter. Unfortunately, talking from experience.