Author: Pam Holland

Traveling to the Cape of Good Hope.

Notes from Yesterday. It’s early morning here in Cape town and the day is going to be busy. The mountain is grey still and when I finish this, it will be in bright sunshine. We drive on a very narrow road where hills rise to huge heights on the left. The ground drops hundreds of feet on the other side of the road to meet the foaming  turquoise ocean. Along the way we come upon beaches fringed with white houses, they  present a universal affluence. Ocean views give way to lush green pastures and small towns are nestled in tree lined valleys. Many of the houses in the more remote areas are very modest.  Towns with interesting names like Fish Hoek and Noordhoek. This area is unique, the mountains and prevailing ocean winds cause cloud vacuums and clouds burst through  the mountain cuttings like grey rolling blankets. Sometimes when we stop at a stop light, women approach the bus with white paper in the hand. I’m led to believe that it has their name and address …

Morocco tour – No 4.

Hope this is not getting boring, but with a little down time and fast internet. I am able to finish the images I promised. Doors and windows. All of these images were photographed at the Kasbah of the Udayas. You go through a Massive gate way and the roads wind down to the sea front. It’s an ancient walled town that sits on a small peninsular at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of those places that you need to play with light to get the best effect for your images. The narrow alleys create strong shadows and the sun hits the tip of the white walls creating reflections that you can use to your advantage. We had just a 15 minute walk where we could compose images so I think I ended up with more walls than street scapes. Cats are everywhere, they are well fed and very comfortable with strangers.

Morocco No 3.

Photographs of the things I viewed in the Souks. I finally sat and had a mint tea, grabbing the sun as much as I could. The last place I visited was the Museum and Gallery. I walked on tiles magnificent, trying to ignore my painful foot. On to the photography Museum, a delicious late lunch fo Tanging Chicken And then I got totally lost, wandering and asking. Close to tears, I finally recognised my front gate and I was just in time to finish packing and leave for the airport. It was one heck of a day, over 10 kms of walking. But it was inspiring.

Morocco No 2.

Three countries later, and I have only just found time to add images of my Moroccan visit to the souks of Marrakech.  The photos in this blog were taken the day I left for Nairobi, but I didn’t have time to edit them. Now, 2 countries later and situated in Cape Town I now have 4 days free of work so I can finish the process. I had injured my foot and the pain was terrible as I walked over the cobblestones,  it was also freezing cold but I was determined not to miss the experience. My tour had left and I was in a Riad in the Medina. I enjoyed it, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable for me. I had no desk to work on, lots of stairs and no heating to speak of. Le Orangerie Riad So left to my own devices I found my way around (sort of) First to the Secret Garden. There is an entrance that you could easily miss, but fortunately I found it. I sat in the Gazebo …

Textile styles in the making.

It’s taken me a while to write this story. Most of you on my blog, are quilters or love the art of Textiles. We have a textile advantage that we take for granted so today I share a story of art and experimental reinvention. Dena Crain a quilter from Kenya, taught the local ladies a technique called “Siddi” quilting. “What on earth is Siddi Quilting” you say? Basically its a style of quilt known as a Kawandi and it is made by the generations of Siddi people taken to India some 400 years ago as indentured workers… possibly slaves. Based on DNA information it would appear that about 50% of the Indian Siddi population are descendants of Bantus from East Africa, while many others are descendants of Ethiopians. Although the Siddis have adopted many Indian characteristics, there are still some cultural elements that are regarded as their own and of African origin. These include the making and use of patchwork quilts known locally as kawandi. These are made by women and used as covers, mattresses and …

Walk the Souks in Marrakech. – 1

  Take a walk with me through the Souk in Marrakech, a photographic tour.  We’ve been exposed to so many breathtaking things. Souks, that wind under huge sand coloured buildings lined with colourful things. It’s a maze of brilliant object d’art. But you share the confined spaces with motorbikes, donkeys, horses and hand pushed carts. It’s noisy, the smells are foreign and exotically sweet. During the day it is almost predominately men present and the stalls appear to be run by men rather than women. I’ve been chastised very loudly for photographing a fruit stall and yet invited to take photos in other places. Its quite cold, You have to layer and I would dearly love to be here in Summer. Marrakech has the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco and the image of the city is closely associated with its souks. Paul Sullivan cites the souks as the principal shopping attraction in the city, describing it as “a honeycomb of intricately connected alleyways, this fundamental section of the old city is a micro-medina in …

Great things.

No, indeed they didn’t. So with that quote in mind I find myself here in Marrakech Morocco, a place I have wanted to visit for a long time. I’m here with 60 other like minded people, husbands, wives and friends to experience the magic of Morocco. The group arrived yesterday and today we formally begin to sight see. I will be teaching two classes this afternoon. I took these images just across the street from our hotel in the  Gueliz. This part of the city was laid out in the twentieth century and shows a fusion of French and Moroccan architecture. There are modern buildings, wide boulevards, traffic circles, upscale hotels. The shopping looks fascinating but I enjoyed watching the street vendors making juice from bright red pomegranates, admiring the bread coated with something unknown and sitting on the pavement and tucking into a delicious meal of kababs cooked in front of you. The weather is cool and refreshing. Actually as I speak it’s 4 degrees Celsius  and despite being 6.38 am, dawn is still …

A few hours in Narita.

  Yesterday, we had a short one day stop over in Japan en route  to Bangkok. We were supposed to have a day and a half, but leaving ones passport in a hire car put paid to that unfortunately and rescheduling gave us less time to explore. Traveling from the USA to Bangkok, our fare was booked as a one world round the world fare and this leg was with JAL Japan airlines. So we took the opportunity to visit a very special person we hadn’t seen for 23 year. Short but sweet. everything eventually fell into place. As I mentioned we stayed at the Hilton Narita. A large hotel born of the Hilton standard of excellence. They offered a shuttle to and from the airport and also shuttles to local train and bus stations and we took advantage of that. It’s a great service. Our shuttle took us to the bus station in the city of Narita where we met Rimi our host student of several decades back.  Then a short walk to a …

Spaghetti for Breakfast.

  One of the things about travel… specially in the USA is that I can make one purchased meal last for three meals. Lunch at Olive Garden yesterday provided dinner and breakfast this morning. Yes, spaghetti for breakfast this morning. I stay in hotels for a large part of the year and I like to have a microwave and a fridge in my room… that means I can be self contained. I can’t come at eggs and sausages that taste like plastic. I can also make a toasted cheese sandwich in my room… just bring a little aluminium foil in your case.