Category Archives: World Culture

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with TheArtofBeer 2015

Plans are taking shape for the mother of all Craft Beer Team Expeditions to summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2015!  My goal is to get 10 fellow craft beer evangelists on my team.  These people must be committed and dedicated.  I would like also like to make this a fundraiser for a Craft Beer charity.  Kili is not a big technical climb – it is a trek with the most technical part being the summit day.

This will be a professionally managed climb using a professional and respected operator like the one found in the link below.  The company must respect and properly compensate the native porters for their hard work and must also respect and protect the fragile ecosystem.  There are several companies that I have researched.  This is one possibility.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with The African Walking Company | the Best Guides on the Best Routes.

For budget purposes plan on about $3k for the actual expedition.  We will research airfare deals for best options but use $1k for a budget number.  It will be best to have a day or two there to get over jet lag before expedition begins.  It would also be great to spend a few days after to relax and explore Tanzania before returning home.  All told I will say that $5k is the budget figure to shoot for with savings goal.  If you start putting aside $40 per week you will save $5200 in 130 weeks – put it in a savings account and you will gain a bit of intrest as well.  You can also start your own fundraising efforts to help supplement your expenses.  Think of cheerleading camp fundraising in high school LOL!  Get your friends behind you so that you have support and a source of shame if you get lazy and quit!

While I am calling this TeamCraftBeerKiliClimb2015 — please know that during the climb, it is ill advised to drink alcohol because of altitude sickness and dehydration risk.  In other words, we are not doing this to drink beer every night.  We will however toast with a few sips of some highly “overrated” but highly loved CRAFT beer at the summit.  When we get back to lower ground, that’s when we will cut loose & CELEBRATE!!!!!

If you are truly interested in doing this then follow this blog and email me with you contact info and details about why you want to go.

More info soon my adventuresome friends!

Love and Respect


“The World is run by those who show up!”

Occupy Morocco

Occupy Morocco

If I Could Change the World- I would Start Here

The Real 99%

“The Harsh Reality of a Constitutional monarchy

A Dictatorship by any other name….

This post is the opinion of an independent, western woman based on perceptions resulting from travel in Morocco.  The country and the majority (99%) of the people are beautiful and kind.  There is poverty in Morocco beyond the average American’s ability to conceive.  This post is for those American’s who mock Capitalism.  It is meant to remind them of the freedom and the rights that we enjoy . We live in a country that allows any man/woman to work hard and achieve success; something far too many take for granted.

"Off Limits When Mohamed VI Visits the Hotel"

  1. The King“Mohammed VI”*** – “King of the Poor” – I think not.  Please create more jobs for your people so that more than 1 in 3 have employment and use your extreme wealth to improve the living conditions for the poor people of Morocco.  Oppression as it exists in Morocco opens the door for Fundamentalism.  Turning these peace-loving moderates into extremist haters would be a travesty.  King Mohammed…you have taken stands in the past against Fundamentalist Muslims.  Please do more…
  2. Corrupt Police – Again “Mohammed VI” – You and you alone can stop the tyranny of the corrupt Moroccan Police force.  I saw the bribes taking place outside of Fes, Rabat and Marrakech.  Why do tour bus drivers need to pass you policemen money behind the engine cover in the rear of the bus????  End this… Please support your people.  You are allowing these men to rob your hard working citizens.  People live in fear of the Police.  This is wrong…
  3. The Kings Guards – Really “Mohammed VI”?  If your people love you so much, why do you need so many guards, police and military staff members guarding you?  I did not hear one bad word about you from any of your citizens.  Use the military to distribute food to the poor please.  Have them teach old people to read…
  4. The King’s Palaces & Properties“Mohammed VI” – Why do you need so many “Royal” properties King Mohammed?  Please sell some of them and establish better education for women & all children.  This and only this will protect your country from extremists who prey on oppressed people.  Educated people do not succumb to the myth’s of Fundamentalism.  I know you can change this by raising the literacy level in your country.
  5. Medical Care“Mohammed VI” – Establish legitimate medical facilities where fees are fair and corruption outlawed.  Healthy people will secure the future of Morocco.  Prices should not be negotiated by Doctors at the cafe.
  6. Poverty – “Mohamed VI”Morocco is wealthy in natural resources.  Bountiful soil, sunshine and water are a powerful formula for successful food growth. Use the wealth of your land to put an end to the extreme poverty in your country.  Make sure all of your citizens have full bellies.
  7. Oppression of Women – “Mohammed VI”You have taken some good steps in giving rights to women in Morocco.  Keep up the momentum King Mohammed!  Create a stronger path to education and support job creation for women.  Create programs to care for the women cast aside by society after divorce.
  8. Arranged Marriage – Raise the minimum age for legal marriage in Morocco and protect your children.  Create programs for older women that do not have family to support them should they become widowed or divorced.  Support “choice” for women.
  9. Animal Cruelty (camels, monkey’s and even snakes) – It is wrong to allow people to give Camel rides on asphalt roads.  This is not the natural sand surface a Camel is meant to walk on.  Stop “Monkey’s in Chains” from being pimped in Jamaa el Fna (Arabic: ساحة جامع الفناءjâmiʻ al-fanâʼ) for cheap tourist photographs.  Eliminate Snake Charmers.
  10. Smoking – How can alcohol be banned by Islam but tobacco accepted?  Nicotine is just as addictive as alcohol.  Men seem to be the biggest smokers in Morocco.  You are poisoning your children.

***Mohammed VI is the present King of Morocco and Amir al-Mu’minin (commander of the faithful)

One of Hundreds of Guards Surrounding La Momounia when the King Visits


The Best of Morocco 2011

This gallery contains 38 photos.

My Favorite Images of Morocco… Continue reading


Welcome to Marrakech!

This gallery contains 10 photos.

I touched down in Marrakech last Friday after a trek down the coast from Fes to Casablanca.  When I walked into the main terminal through Customs, there were at least 100 men with signs for Riad’s and Hotels.  Chaos is … Continue reading

The High Atlas Mountains

Today (December 26) I hit the road to the Atlas Mountains about an hour outside of Marrakech.  On the way there we drove through the suburbs and there is construction everywhere; everything from hotels to shanty towns.  Much of it stopped midway because funding dried up and demand dropped as economies around the world fell apart.  Climbing into the hills, small villages pop up.

The High Atlas is home to the Berber People.  Farmers and craftsmen, they are amazingly gracious hosts.  I got to share Mint Tea in the home of a Berber Family.  It was a remarkable experience to say the least…

The Donkey's Bedroom! All the animals have a space in the lower level of the home.

The Hammam

Summer Living Room

In the Berber Kitchen

The Toilet

The Berber Home as viewed from the living room looking out to the outdoor living space.

The typical Berber house can best be described as “spartan” and there is little in the United States that can compare to this level of poverty.  The people here are poor but their homes show pride, importance of family and a total respect for order.  This is more than I can say for many middle class American homes, much less those of our poor people  in the United States.

Homes are usually passed down through families and it is not unusual to find multiple generations living under one roof.  The structures are simple and lack modern conveniences like plumbing, heating and weather protection.  Seasonal rains can bring misery to the families living in these homes.  They must climb the roof during the rains to patch the holes

Moving further up the mountain I visited a women’s coop where they process the Argon nut to make various Moroccan-Exclusive products.  The women working here are divorced, widowed or without financial support.  Moroccan culture does not lend many rights to women and many of them are left with no means of support after marriages fail or spouses die unexpectedly.

Processing the Argon Nut is cold and difficult work.  The women sit for hours in a cold damp room shelling and grinding the seed of the nut to produce the precious oil and paste.  Arthritis is a common ailment here. Co-ops such as the one seen to the left give women shelter, income and value.  The proceeds of products sold go to the cost of operation and the wages for the women working there.  Compared to our standards in the US; this is a very hard life.  But keeping things in perspective; these co-ops present a path for women to achieve independence and security.  There was little pressure to buy the products produced here but you would need to be devoid of compassion to not to want to support this very important community.  As a business person, it was hard not to think of ways to increase sales and productivity.  Resources are very limited here.  There are no phone lines to run credit card machines that would allow for higher sales volume.  The cost of wood and fuel is very high.

No matter where you turn in Morocco you will find people selling local (and sometimes not so local) wares to tourists.  With 1 in 3 people unemployed; it is hard not to appreciate the survival instincts of these people.  the Berber people farm,  herd sheep and raise some cattle.  They also make rugs that range in price from $10 to thousands of dollars based on the process used for making them.

Berber rugs

In the hot summer months, people from Marrakech flock to the Atlas Mountains, seeking relief from temperatures as high as 120 degrees.  There are outdoor cafe’s lining the banks of the mountain river along the road.  I could easily pictures hundreds of families enjoying the cool water, shade and a delicious tagine.

Riverside Restaurant

20-30 degrees cooler in the summer

Berber Village

Another Village nestled against the mountains

Snow Capped Peaks of the High Atlas

I hope that I can make it back to the Atlas Mountains on a future trip to Morocco.   I would like do some trekking through this region and  experience the culture in a more personal way.  There is a big difference between staying in the luxury Riad’s of Marrakech and staying in some of the modest hotels lining the Atlas Mountains.  One thing I am however certain of, is that hospitality level of the hosts will be equal, regardless of the place I stay there.  The Moroccan people are the most gracious hosts imaginable  and they want visitors to feel welcome and safe.  My deepest respect goes to the people here.

My journey continues but part of my heart remains…