Toole Castle on the Gulf of Finland [again, courtesy of the panorama setting on my camera]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Entry: In Which I Can't Remember the Numeral of My Last Entry, So I Will Not Include One in the Title. [there are photos in this post!]

     A view from the rooftop. If I understand my host sister correctly (and there's a good chance I don't), the building that looks like a castle is actually a hotel. Notice all the satellite dishes; they're scattered all over the Medina rooftops.

     My room. It's furnished with a big bed and several long couches, so I can practice many different techniques of reclining and lolling about. I'm not sure how old my house is exactly, but I know there are engravings in the walls that date back to the 12th century. Now, I don't know if the engravings were restored and installed in the house or what, but I'd believe it if you told me this house was about 900 years old. Something about it just feels ancient: thick stone walls, an open courtyard for a living room, high ceilings, a tiny winding staircase, etc.
The aforementioned mosque, seen from the roof.

Here I am in a Quranic school in the Medina. These little schools are for kids from about 2-5 years old. They're pretty much the same as preschools in America (snack-time, singing songs, etc.), except the children study the Quran. We stopped to visit one of these school on our tour of the Medina last weekend, and the children sang us some songs, recited the five pillars of Islam, and showed off their language skills (Fus'ha, English, Darija, and French. These kids are amazing!). The little girl sitting in front of me also gave us a lesson on pronouncing some letters of the Arabic alphabet. "Very good," she said when we had finished mucking through. [side note: I'm not sure how I ended up being the only visitor sitting in the tiny-sized desks. The little guy in the red sweatshirt seems to be wondering the same thing.]
A communal bakery in the Medina. Families from various neighborhoods bring their unbaked bread to this man, who marks the loaves of dough (using the the white stick you can see in his mouth) to indicate which family it belongs to. Then he bakes the bread in a giant stone oven the size of a living room and stacks the finished flatbread on a shelf, ready for pick-up.

That's all for now. 


  1. 1. Wow! Beautiful!

    2. Can I come over and lounge? I could show you some new moves that will blow your mind.

    3. See 1.

    4. I was totally sure the baker was smoking. So sure, in fact, that if you had told me was smoking I would have believed you.

    5. I don't see any writing on your mini chalkboard. Smarty-pants girl in front of you would not be impressed . . .


  2. Loved your last picture (and all the others too!)--my dad's dream when he built a brick oven in our backyard a few years ago was that all the families in our neighborhood would bring their dough over on Saturday mornings for baking. No such luck.