Well I feel better. Refreshed a bit. I needed a few days to myself and not traveling about to recover some. Last weekend we got to go camping and while I wasn't quite ready to feel uprooted again, it was nice to hike around and get out of the house a while. 

We went to the nearby Udzungwa Mountains National Park and hiked the Sonje Trail which goes to three different waterfalls and is around 6 - 7 km roundtrip through some steep terrain. It really got me excited for some future hiking in Colorado, but the scenery here was pretty amazing. I had fun taking pictures, but today I hate all of them. Le sigh, PMS maybe? Perhaps I'll like them or do something different with them later...
The night of the restaurant in Fes, we called Peace Corps John about seeing his village, Moulay Yacoub the next day. He said we were still invited and gave us directions on how to get a taxi there. So the next morning was a mission in itself trying to get a taxi at the right price, but with the Arabic word for 10 that John told us, it was done eventually.

We show up, John meets us and we're taken through a quaint town that's nothing but a maze-work of stairs and switchbacks. We're brought inside his host family's house where he spent weeks first training with Peace Corps to set our stuff down and meet some of his host brothers and sisters. They know very little English and we rely on John to do some translating, but desperately wanted to speak ourselves. Even with the huge communication barrier, it's so easy to see how much of a joy they are to be around and we loved giggling and trying to pick up on what little we could (failing miserably of course).

Then we're shown around town a bit and soon decide on lunch. I told myself small meals only, as Moroccan food seems to surprise you with how ridiculously over-filling it is, but make the mistake of ordering a full meal anyway. I actually ate more than I expected, but it turned out to be a good idea since afterward we were rewarded with two pretty healthy hikes up their somewhat steep hills. The afternoon was spent enjoying the scenery, taking pictures of the town from a good perch, and taking advantage of the good weather and new company.

The evening we were invited to stay the night and were lucky enough to have a supper with John's host-father and the few siblings that wanted to join us. We ate homemade bread that was the most delicious we had with jam and olives and of course, sweet mint tea. Conversation flowed easily enough picking up on various body language and broken English with translations from John where needed. Muhammed, John's host-father, was one of the most enjoyable people to spend time with. He's very intelligent with experience in a lot of different fields. He had a superb sense of humor with his knowledge-base, and smoked hash nonstop the entire night. John helped us with a few key words and phrases to remember for future reference and combined with the siblings few English words, we had a really great time hanging out and exchanging.

We felt so fortunate to take up John's invite and most of all I hope to have many more similar experiences along our trip.
It's late. I had a very eventful day. Actually, because I just feel like hanging out, listening to B-52's and wish I had a few people to chat with at the moment, why don't I tell you about it?

Started the day out going to Longmont to shoot guns with Jake and his dad. This is the second time we've gone (since I've moved here) and both times I had Jake truly show me how to shoot a gun (unlike the 2 times I went before and pretty much learned nothing, just had fun in the desert). Jake turned out to be the best teacher ever because I'm not half bad!! I just hoped I didn't suck monkey balls, but I really impressed myself! So yay for me, I like guns a lot now. The first time we went I just shot the two handguns we had, but this time I asked if we could rent a rifle and those bigger guns continue to be my favorite over handguns. I wish I took pictures this time, but here is a picture of my handgun lesson last time:
not bad, right?
We plan on going to the range with Jake's dad regularly when we get back from our trip. I'm excited to get better and better (I'm always so shakey!) Also we talked about getting in better shape to also increase gun skills (because shooting that rifle turned my arms into jello and even tired my legs from being so tense holding it and it was heavy).

After the range we went to Chautauqua to hike. I brought my Lowepro backpack that I'm taking to Africa to give a good trial run and see how heavy it felt walking around a while. The trail reminded me a lot of my first Yosemite hike - straight up. Stairs and switchbacks the whole way. Up and up. It was good though. I got pretty tired but it also gave me energy... that feel good tired. Lots of sweat. Man, warm today. But good practice for the Sahara, amiright?

Then we went to Pearl St which is an adorable Fußgängerzone with awesome shops and busking. We ate at a Tibetan place called Sherpa's. MMMM Tibet food is my new obsession. I ate YAK. So good. So FREAKING good. I loved it. After getting ridiculously full off dumplings, noodles, naan, and yak meat, we walked Pearl and Jake pointed everything out like a kid in a candy store (probably not dissimilar to how I showed Steve around UCSC). We got excited about the prospects of living in Boulder one day (because I'd like to do my PhD at CU there, woohoo!).

Then back home we went to find Amazon packages waiting for me (always the best feeling). I got a TABLET, I am so against tablets!! But I meant to grab my Dell Mini in Austin because I re-changed my mind on taking it to Africa. I decided that if I wanted to blog spontaneously or just keep shit organized so that when we arrive at an internet cafe, I don't have to deal with their computers and I don't have to spend time (and therefore money) writing it all out THEN. Just upload completed project and BAM. Well, forgot my mini. Found a Galaxy Tab on amazon for $167 used. I thought, what have I got to lose? Amazon is awesome about returns, so if it sucks, whatever. It's only the 7" one, and I was worried about the manageability of typing on it until I found a SWEET pleather cover for it that opens into a laptop basically: the tablet fits in slots on one side (think of a book cover) and the other side holds a small keyboard that plugs into the tablet. BAM. It'll still be tiny, but I'm pretty used to my Dell mini 9" keyboard, so I think I'll adapt okay. The keyboard doesn't come until Monday however (and hopefully before we leave for the airport!!) so I can't test it yet, but I'm charging the Tab as we speak and I'm excited to see how much I'll hate it because I still think tablets are quite useless. Kinda works for my plans though, so maybe I will grow to love them and use them exclusively on travel adventures if all goes well.

We are leaving Monday afternoon (flight at 5pm) and I'm still not feeling it, as in, it hasn't kicked in yet WHERE I'M ACTUALLY GOING TO BE. It's been so long since I've been international that it feels like all those times before was just a dream and this is the first time for reals. Whew. Excited. I'm excited to feel "home" again and wonder if it will be the same since I have discovered how "home" I feel in Santa Cruz. I mean, a lot can change in what, 10 years? I suck at life.

Okay, my Tab just got done charging, I think it's time to play now...

Moral of the story: traveling is awesome. I'm excited.