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Archive for August, 2005

Moroccan strange places



At first sight, Zagora is a dusty, single street town. However, its location and festivals save it from being just another dust-filled desert town. In many ways Zagora is the end of the line.If you follow the road from Ouarzazate through the gorgeous Draa Valley until the road ends, this is where you wind up. Zagora also used to be the beginning of another line. It is not far from this town that the famous sign ” Timbouctou: 52 days” can be found. If the border were open, and you traveled by camel, this may be true as it was a caravan route in the past. The biggest festival in the Draa – the Moussem of Moulay Abdelkader Jilali- is celebrated here. Zagora is a pleasant place to stay and explore the palm groves and kasbah. There are also some very nice hotels in the area. There is however, a lot of persistent children who will want to guide you or sell you a craft. As it is extremely hot, take it easy, don’t lose your temper and just expect the following. This is a place where you might even see real Tuaregs, and not just normal Moroccan posing as blue men. There is a Wednesday souk, make sure to try the different types of dates-this place is known for their delicious and diverse dates. The palm groves of Amazrou are across the bridge and are a wonderful place to wander or stay an evening. The hotel la Fibule is a great place to stay in grove itself.



Watching the sun rise or set over the sand dunes of Merzouga may be the most spectacular experience you have on your trip to Morocco. The Erg Chebbi, the name of these sand dunes, is said to have some of the highest dunes in Morocco. Indeed, the dunes and the desert wildlife are impressive. Merzouga is an excellent base from which to explore the desert and bird-watchers will be enthralled with what they see. In spring, a lake forms near Merzouga which attracts pink flamingos. Other rare birds stop here during spring migration. The desert is also the year round environment for many desert reptiles and mammals. A camel trip, for a couple hours, is a great way to see the dunes. For those who are used to getting saddle-sore, or are up for the ultimate adventure, there are two to three day desert tours on camel. You won’t have to look hard for a guide, it’s better to ask the management at your hotel for a reliable one. Guides are much more agressive in this part of Morocco. Seeing the sun set over the dunes is worth it though. Taking an overnight excursion over the dunes is even better. You see waves and waves of sand dunes at sunset as you ride your camel.. In the morning, you watch the sunrise from Algeria as it catches the dunes…..



Erfoud is much like Er-Rachidia a French-built administrative town built in the thirties. The town, with its dusty red buildings, has a ghost town atmosphere but is surrounded by some of the best scenery in Morocco. The road from Er-Rachidia has some of the most spectacular scenery, with ancient Berber fortress set in palm groves as far as the eye can see. Tourists usually come to Erfoud on the way to the most beautiful dunes in Morocco, or to explore the last oasis village with an interesting palace. You may be lucky enough to experience a sandstorm, a totally surreal experience.



Chefchaouen (literally “look at the peaks” in Arabic) is an enchanting town sitting at the foot of the Rif Mountains. It is a unique place to visit for various reasons: it is small and manageable yet friendly to tourists; the mountain air and atmosphere are relaxing; and one can catch a glimpse of rural life while hiking in the surrounding mountains. The well-preserved medina is a 15th century relic from the Muslim civilization of Andulusia. Narrow streets wind through blue-white walls where children greet you in Spanish. On the northern side, you’ll find ground-room floors crowded with weaving looms. Many of the artisans are friendly and will invite you in for a chat. (They may also invite you for a smoke; the town is filled with kif and hashish because of its location). The main square in the center of the medina (Plaza Uta el-Hammam) is a delightful place to sip fresh orange juice and look at the mountain peaks, the Grand Mosque and the Kasbah walls. The 17th century ruins of the Kasbah runs along one side of the square. The red-hued walls of the Kasbah enclose a beautiful garden and a small folk museum. Try to have a meal at Casa Hassan in the medina.



Known as the “Red City” Marrakesh is the capital of the south. The atmosphere is distinctly more African than that of the other Imperial cities, Fez, Rabat and Meknes. The setting of the city is stunning with ochre stucco buildings surrounded by the snow-peaked Atlas mountains. If you have the time, Marrakesh is definitely worth a stay of several days. The Jma-l-Fna is an unbelievable experience. It is a market scene straight out of the movies with snake charmers, musicians, dancing bears, acrobats and storytellers. Around the square there are numbered stalls that sell very cheap freshly-squeezed orange juice in the morning and afternoon. At night there are tables set up that you can eat at for a very reasonable price. Other sights include the impressive Koutoubia minaret and the Ben Youssef Medersa and the Saadian Dynasty tombs, the ruined 16th-century El Badi Palace the Dar Si Said Museum. Adjacent to Jma-l-Fna square, is the Le Souk, or the famous market with winding streets that offers an amazing collection of traditional handicrafts, leather crafted goods,  carpets, clothes, spices, marinated olives and many other items native to the city. To roam in these streets is to discover what makes Marrakesh special.  In contrast to the Medina (the old town) in Fez, which seems to be connected seemlessly to the past, Le Souk in Marrakesh transitions to the modernity, while still remaining true to its rich tradition and history. Do not hesitate to haggle with the merchants here, as it is more or less expected.The artistic colors of the museum and beautiful gardens donated by Yves St. Laurent are a refreshing break from the heat of the city. Spring is a good time to visit.



It’s hard to get your grip on Fez. This may be partly because there are three towns in Fez: the two ancient walled areas — Fes-l-Bali (the old town) and Fes-l-Jdid (the new town) — and the more modern French-built Ville Nouvelle. But let this not scare you! Fez is one of the best sights in the wolrd. The walled cities are the main attraction of Fez. The whole old city of Fez has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The immense medina of Fes-l-Bali is a huge labyrinth. In order not to get lost it is best to keep in mind that when you walk down you go towards the center, when you walk up, you leave the center. The gates that are part of the walls are part of some amazing architecture. Within the walls you should at least try to find the Medersa Attarine, the Medersa Cherratine and Medersa Seffarine, three stunning old buildings near the center of the maze. The other thing you shouldn’t miss is the people at work in the median: coppersmith, tanners, dyers. Spectacular colours and lousy working conditions make for great pictures. Just outside the walls are two good museums—Borj Nord (exhibiting weapons) and Dar Batha (Moroccan arts)—and the Royal Palace.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon to Get Glass Bridge

Grand Canyon Glass Bridge

Fear of heights? This is definitely no place for you. The all-glass, balcony-like “Skywalk”–shown in an illustration released this week–will extend over the edge of the Grand Canyon, 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above the Colorado River. “The Skywalk will be an attraction unlike any other in the world,” said Sheri Yellowhawk, CEO of the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation. The company is building the bridge in the Hualapai Indian Reservation on the south rim of the canyon. The Skywalk is scheduled to open to the public in January 2006 as part of a new resort on the reservation. The resort, known as Grand Canyon West, is to include a re-created Indian village and a restaurant perched on the edge of the canyon. Tourism is the reservation’s biggest source of income. Grand Canyon West will be on the western edge of Grand Canyon National Park, about 120 miles (about 200 kilometers) from Las Vegas. But perhaps not even the Las Vegas Strip’s over-the-top attractions will be a match for this glass-bottom walkway over the world’s biggest gorge.

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2

The Biosphere 2 Campus is an icon of Metropolitan Tucson and exists unmatched in the world. Potential investors will understand the profound challenges in the successful repositioning of the Biosphere 2 Campus. The redevelopment plan should reflect the high-profile nature of this project and represent the integrity and history of the entire property.The property is unequalled, and the marketing strategy must reflect the uniqueness of the project. The Biosphere 2 Campus is one of the most unique redevelopment opportunities in the United States. The infrastructure and amenities available can meet the needs of a large range of users. This campus repositioning will have significant impact on the remaining ±1,154 acres. This impact will be considered in the selection of qualified users and intended projects.

Property Description

The ±140acre Biosphere 2 Campus is the nucleus of a larger ±1,294 acre proposed multiuse development.

The Campus Parcel Includes:

±140 acres
±130,000 SF Biosphere
Lodging units
Dining & kitchen facilities
Conference facility
Utility plant
Pristine setting
Magnificent views
Existing entitlements

Biosphere 2 Campus’ setting is an unmatched location in the Foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains just outside of Tucson, Arizona.

The Biosphere 2 Campus is located 35 minutes from central Tucson, Arizona. Metropolitan Tucson has over 950,000 residents and is home to the University of Arizona. Major employers include IBM, Raytheon and the tourism industry. Tucson is also the home of two world-renowned spas, Canyon Ranch and Miraval.

Key factors that will impact the redevelopment of the Biosphere 2 Campus:

Unique project and amenities
Spectacular location
History of world-renowned icon
Improvements needing a creative re-use
Impact on surrounding community

Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2

The project conducted two sealed missions; the first from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993 and the second for six months in 1994. During the first mission, oxygen levels began falling at a steady pace of 0.5% per month. This continued to the point where the atmosphere inside resembled that of a community at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. Eventually, oxygen levels fell to dangerously low levels, and pure oxygen was pumped in from the outside.

Many suspected the drop in oxygen was due to microbes in the soil. The agricultural, savanna and rain forest sections had all been infused with microbes in order to encourage plant growth. It was now felt that these microbes were consuming too much oxygen. A problem with this theory was that microbes breathing that much oxygen would also be creating a massive amount of carbon dioxide. Yet this jump in CO2 was unaccounted for in the atmosphere readings. Further investigation revealed that the concrete at the base of the facility had been absorbing the carbon dioxide as it cured. This effect absorbed a large portion of the carbon dioxide being produced by the microbes which in turn had been depleting the facility’s oxygen supply. Because oxygen and other supplies were provided the project lost some credibility.

Columbia University
In 1995 the Biosphere 2 owners transferred management to Columbia University. Since 1996, over 1200 graduate students have spent a year in the Biosphere 2 Center (as of 2003). The site has its own hotel and conference center. Columbia has since divested itself of all Biosphere-related responsibilities.

For sale
As of January 10, 2005 Decisions Investments Corporation, owners of Biosphere 2, have announced that the Biosphere 2 campus is for sale. They would prefer if a research use was found for the complex, but are looking for buyers with different intentions, such as universities, churches, resorts, spas, etc.

Science and engineering

Biosphere 2 from the inside. Seen here are the Savanna (below) and Ocean (below) sections.
The Coastal Fog Desert section of Biosphere 2. August 2005.The scientific method is difficult to apply due to the complexity of the biosphere and the absence of a control. Like Project Apollo, Biosphere 2 is an achievement of engineering rather than science. The above-ground physical structure of Biosphere 2 was made of steel tubing and high-performance glass and steel frames. The frame and glazing materials were designed and made to specification by a firm run by a one-time student of Buckminster Fuller, Peter Pearce (Peter Pearce & Associates).

Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2

Marokko in Arnhem

Arnhem Stadhuis

Van maandag 29 augustus tot en met zaterdag 10 september staat Arnhem in het teken van ‘Marokko in Arnhem’. Het programma omvat activiteiten op verschillende plaatsen in de stad en de uitgave van een boekje.

De aanleiding voor deze festiviteiten zijn de 400 jarige betrekkingen tussen Marokko en Nederland. Deze betrekkingen staan dit jaar landelijk in de schijnwerpers. Door de inzet van diverse instanties en personen vanuit de Nederlandse en de Marokkaanse gemeenschap, werd het mogelijk om een uitgebreid programma in Arnhem te organiseren.

Ter gelegenheid van Marokko in Arnhem komt ook het boekje ‘Zes Marokkanen uit Arnhem’ uit. Zo’n veertig jaar terug kwam de eerste Marokkaan in Arnhem wonen. Sindsdien maken de gastarbeiders van toen en hun families deel uit van de Arnhemse gemeenschap. Maar kennen wij eigenlijk wel de geschiedenis van deze “Marokkaanse” Arnhemmers? In het boekje vertellen zes Marokkanen uit Arnhem hun levensverhaal. Sjoerd Veensta reikt de eerste exemplaren uit op donderdagavond 1 september aan de geïnterviewden en hun familie.

Marokko in Arnhem

Maandag 29 augustus t/m
vrijdag 2 september

Eetfestijn / Marokkaans menu

10.00 – 22.00 uur (vrijdag
09.00 – 22.00 uur)

Café Brasserie Dudok
Koningstraat 40 (Centrum) Tel. 351 18 72

Donderdag 1 september

Presentatie boekje “Zes
Marokkanen uit Arnhem” Literaire avond met Samira Abbos

20.00 – 21.00 uur 21.00 –
22.00 uur

Bibliotheek Koningstraat
(Centrum) Tel. 354 31 11 Café Brasserie Dudok Koningstraat 40 (Centrum) Tel.
351 18 72

Zaterdag 3 september

Marokkaanse Catwalk
Buikdansvoorstelling Cultuurdiner Optreden Marokkaanse band

om 15.00 én 17.00 uur 17.45
uur 18.30 – 22.00 uur 22.00 – 01.00 uur

Café Brasserie Dudok
Koningstraat 40 (Centrum) Tel. 351 18 72

Zondag 4 september

Open dag El fath Moskee

14.30 – 17.15 uur

El fath Moskee Van
Oldenbarneveltstr. 58a (‘t Broek) Tel. 445 87 28

Maandag 5 september

Fototentoonstelling “Door de
ogen van…”

18.00 – 22.00 uur

Jongerencentrum De Madser
Kronenburgbusbaan 25 (Vredenburg/Kronenburg) Tel. 327 25 97

Dinsdag 6 september

Culturele ontmoetingsmiddag
voor 45+ vrouwen

14.00 – 19.00 uur

SWOA Malburgen
Akkerwindestraat 16 (Malburgen Oost) Tel. 388 49 35

Woensdag 7 september

Culturele ontmoetingsmiddag
voor ouders en kinderen

13.00 – 18.00 uur

Obs. Het Mozaïek
Zwanebloemlaan 2 (Malburgen Oost) Tel. 321 68 44

Donderdag 8 september

Culturele feestavond

19.00 – 22.00 uur

Wijkcentrum De Overkant
Bethaniënstraat 242 (Presikhaaf) Tel. 361 44 57

Vrijdag 9 september

Culturele ontmoetingsmiddag
voor vrouwen Cultureel vrouwenfeest

14.30 – 17.00 uur 19.30 –
23.00 uur

Wijkcentrum De Zuidwester
Dovenetellaan 24a (Malburgen West) Tel. 321 76 06

Zaterdag 10 september

Marokkaanse Soukh

12.00 – 17.00 uur

Jongerencentrum De Madser
Kronenburgbusbaan 25 (Vredenburg/Kronenburg) Tel. 327 25 97


Morocco in pictures II

And here as promised my last selection of our pictures from our journey to Morocco. And for a complete overview have a look on my Moroccan-travelsite… click here


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  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead."
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