After working in Fes for a week I caught a bus to Chefchaouen way up north in the Rif Mountains. It’s one of the prettiest towns I have ever visited: all the buildings are whitewashed and painted various shades of blue, and its medina is full of narrow winding streets that are fun to explore.
One of the things I was most looking forward to about visiting Morocco was the chance to get some really cool landscape pictures in the desert. So after spending a day working in Rissani I went back to Merzouga to spend some more time wandering around the sand dunes.
Erg Chebbi are a set of sand dunes at the northern tip of the Sahara desert, 30km long and up to 250m high. We did a sunset camel trek to a camp set up in the dunes and spent the night in Berber tents before trekking back out in the morning.
After Marrakesh I planned to visit Essaouira on the coast but with nothing but rain in the forecast I decided to head for the desert instead, and joined a 4-day sightseeing trip that was leaving from my riad the next day. Our first couple days took us through Ourika Valley, up and over the High Atlas mountains, through Dades Valley and Todra Gorge.
Marrakesh is a pretty intense place to start my first trip to Morocco. In addition to the basic culture shock, it always takes me a few days to get used to a new country’s language, currency, food, etc. Marrakesh’s confusing maze of markets and non-stop fake guides trying to take you places you don’t want to go make this process even more tiring than usual.
Whistler isn’t much fun in October and November — too cold and wet to mountain bike, and too warm and dry to ski. I had a week of meetings in Boston in early November so I decided to make a few stops on the way there, and it turned into a month-long trip.
The Gibbon Experience is an innovative forest conservation project in northwestern Laos, where visitors spend three days living in treehouses built 40 meters above the ground, reachable only by a network of ziplines and a few short hikes. The lucky ones get to catch glimpses of Black Gibbon apes who live in the forest.
After Luang Prabang I spent 10 days travelling around Northern Laos by slow boat and bus. I took a scenic boat ride up to Nong Khiaw, another to Muang Ngoi and back, then a series of buses to Huay Xai on the Thai border with a stop in Luang Nam Tha.