The debate about how a woman from the western world is to clothe herself while traveling in the Moslem Kingdom of Morocco continues. I want to be respectful and also comfortable as the temperatures hover close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover your elbows, advises one friend. Another says, elbows are okay, just don’t show forearms or cleavage. Another tells me to wear a long skirt or dress and cover your ankles. Don’t worry, ankles are okay, says one more, it’s not Saudi Arabia, you just don’t want to wear short shorts. At my stage of maturity, that would not be my thing. Today, I am in the serious pre-packing thinking stage of open suitcase and clothes on the bed.
Sunday, September 15 is departure day. I am traveling with my friend Judith Reitman-Texier who has been to Morocco many times for her company La Bedouine argan oil skin care and lifestyle. Her wise counsel is priceless and her planning even more so. Jude, also a published journalist, invited me to come with her as she writes reviews of 5-star Marrakech riads for travel magazines and sources product for her business. My role is to photograph and document all. Of course, the textiles are what draws me there!
Morocco Packing Notes
- wide-brimmed hat
- no open-toe shoes
- long linen dress
- shawls that can drape and wrap to cover
- 2 long linen skirts
- 1 pair loose linen pants
- loose linen tops (3-4)
- long sleeve linen top
- 3-4 changes of underwear
- sleep shirt
- comfortable walking shoes
- closed toe dress shoes
The list sounds like what I recommend for Oaxaca, except the arm-leg cover-up part. Always, no short shorts!
Plus these essentials:
- Contact your bank to let them know travel plans so they don’t block ATM money withdrawal.
- Contact your wireless mobile service if you want data, text and voice coverage while traveling.
- Important Note: Especially for a woman, it is essential to carry a cell phone wherever you are that connects you to home in an emergency. Don’t skimp. It is part of travel safety and security.
And comments from friends on my Facebook page keep coming in, like this one:
Covered up but cool because it sure was hot when I was there. And although they do not drink they serve local beer to the tourist – just do not try to take the lovely bottle as I did. The waiter went nuts and thought I was stealing (which could have cost me a hand) but the owner graciously insisted I keep the bottle after my husband came to my rescue. On the street my husband was offered two camels for me.
Road Trip: North Carolina to Austin, TX to Oaxaca, Mexico
Destination Austin, Texas. I’m packing up La Tuga (short for La Tortuga or turtle in Spanish), the 2004 Honda Element EX manual transmission I just bought that will be the car I drive in Mexico. Well, I’m not exactly packing yet. I’m thinking about it. In three days, on December 12, 2013, I will set out to begin the 1,306 mile, almost 22-hour road trip from North Carolina’s Piedmont to south-central Texas, about half-way across the country. Mapquest tells me I will spend a little over $700 in gasoline and at least $49 a night in lodging. Food doesn’t calculate, I guess.
Do you have any suggestions for the route? I’m planning I-85 South past Atlanta, then connecting to I-20 West, through Vicksburg and Shreveport, to Waco, then dropping down to north Austin, where I’ll be staying for a few nights with my cousin Norm, who left his hometown of Chicago years ago, but is loyal still to the Cubs. Then, flying off to Oaxaca.
I’m making a list of what I need to take that I can’t fit in a suitcase.
Anyone have an older model, small bowl Cuisinart food processor in good working condition you’d like to sell and get to me be Wednesday this week? This might come in handy in Oaxaca, I think, for making salsa and chopping lots of onions! Or, if I decide to make a fresh fruit tart and need to whip up a crust, I have a proven Cuisinart crust recipe.
The list also includes:
I can’t think of anything else, can you?
I’m living more simply there. No television! No CD player! I do have a basic kitchen with a good set of knives, blender, plates, utensils, Master Chef cookware, cloth napkins and dishtowels from Camino de los Altos, and Studio Xaquixe recycled drinking glasses! Never mind that the kitchen sink water drains into a large paint bucket that I carry outside each time it fills up so I don’t waste water and have enough to give to thirsty trees and flowers. Jajajajaja.
In Austin, I turn the car over to my agent, Justo, who will drive it the rest of the way to Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. But, first, we will buy Mexican insurance in Austin, then he will legalize the car for Mexico. In fact, that process has already begun.
Admittedly, making this road trip on my own is both exciting and somewhat daunting — a new experience for me — although I fly everywhere independently. I’m open to sharing the driver’s seat with the right person, if anyone dares go with me. I would need to know you or have a great recommendation.
Stay tuned for the next installment. Of course, I won’t have commentary on the Austin to Oaxaca leg. I’ll be at the other end waiting for delivery.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Travel & Tourism
Tagged Austin, driving, Honda Element, Interstate, Mexico, Oaxaca, packing, route, Texas, what to take