Monday, March 8, 2010


Saturday, Bouziguads celebrated Carnaval - in a big way! Last year's Carnaval celebration was fun, but this year's was even more elaborate.

The parade had lovely floats . . .

And sexy nuns . . .

And there was a band . . .

And there were girls on ponies (although I can't say I enjoyed the "treats" the ponies left in their wake!) . . .

And there were hundreds of Bouziguads - both in and out of costumes . . . Here are some of my favorites, including Josey's friend Mathilde.

And there was the burning effigy . . . Remember, this is supposed to signify a cleansing of all the year's sins as a precursor to Lent.

Check out the action shots. No problem lighting him this year!

Max and Josey made great use of their new Moroccan attire! Alize (the kids' best friend) joined us for the day.
And there was a ton of confetti & silly string! Here are Max and Marie in a confetti war. Marie is one of our other favorite Bouziguad children.

Love to all!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Better Late than Never

Last weekend, poor little Max Man had a 24-hour flu. While he was laying miserably upon the couch, I asked him if he wanted to look at some pictures to cheer himself up. He said yes, and he wanted to see happy pictures of himself with Grandma & Dude.

That's when I realized: Oh no! I never blogged about our last day in Paris with my parents. Quelle horreur!

Our last day in Paris was almost a bust! Why? Well, Dado had done quite a bit of research before our arrival, to ensure that the entertainment level was high. In his research, he learned about Chinatown in Paris. Our little family had so much fun in San Francisco's Chinatown that we decided it would be a fun thing to visit in Paris, too. Alas, that last morning in Paris, which was a Monday, while doing further research, Dado learned that Monday is the only day that is not a good choice for a visit to Chinatown because most stores are closed. Oops.

We went for it anyway! We plotted out our Metro trip, boarded, and traveled on. When we arrived in Chinatown, it was indeed shut up for the day. However, all was not lost. We found a terrific Vietnamese restaurant, and we enjoyed a fabulous lunch.

Thus fortified, we decided that we would try to visit the famous catacombs in Paris. Again, we plotted our Metro trip, boarded, and traveled on. Unfortunately, many of Paris' touristy sights are also closed on Monday. Darn! No catacombs.

Now it was about 2:00 in the afternoon, and we still wanted to find something fun to do on our last day! Grandma to the rescue. On the train, on their way into Paris, she told the kids that she really wanted to see Sacre Couer, the famous church on the hill overlooking the city. Mike and I had visited Sacre Couer on our first day in Paris, but now it was time for us all to go together.

Again with the Metro . . . and we arrived (very successfully, I might add) at Sacre Couer! Here are some great pictures from outside.

When we were finished touring Sacre Couer, we started our walk back down the hill to the Metro station. Along the way, we all wanted a rest and something warm to drink. Check out the hot chocolate at the cafe Dude selected!

And Grom was also successful because she found the hat she had been looking for since arriving in France! Of course, this is Josey wearing it, not my mom.

Sidebar: There is an awesome iPhone app for the Metro! I think it was 2.99 US, and it was well worth the cost.

We took the Metro home, tired from the day. We arrived gratefully back at Debb & Reed's apartment, and Dado whipped up our last meal in Paris.

Then, I had one more store I wanted to visit. I simply had to go to Fauchon, where they sell small tins of chocolate (and an amazing selection of gourmet foods and wines of all sorts!). I wanted one of those little tins to use as a knitting notions box. What a perfect souvenir, right? I wanted to get one for Sharlene, too.

We plugged the address into Dado's iPhone, and it looked to be about a 30 minute walk. Ha! We were gone about 90 minutes. However, I was successful.

The next day, Grom & Dude left around 6:30am. I thought they were overestimating the time it would take to go through security at CDG airport. However, due to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, they are lucky to have left that early! After lots of extra security lines and delays, they made it home safely.

We had a quick hop on the Metro to get to our train station. Then, the train ride back to Bouzigues was simple - with hardly anyone on the train. Our friend Sabrina picked us up in Montpellier, and thus ended our Parisian adventure.

Love to all!

Tarragona & The Pyrenees

When we returned from Marrakesh, we flew into Reus, Spain - the airport from which we were able to catch the 24 euro roundtrip/each plane to Morocco. We arrived around 10:00pm, so we spent the night in Reus. And, since we were already so far from home, we decided to profit from our location and spend a day in Spain and some time skiing in the Pyrenees (which were on our way home from Reus).

Tarragona is a city about 15 minutes from Reus, and it has an amazing number of Roman ruins. That is where we spent our day in Spain.

Tarragona is right on the coast of the Med, which is probably why the Romans built a city there. Here is a view of the coast from atop the Roman Circus ruins.

The Roman city was immense! There was a Circus (home of chariot races), a Colosseum, and a Forum.

The Circus was so massive during it's era (based on the descriptions we read) that it would outsize an American football stadium. Now, the ruins are but a mere portion of that size. That's where we started our tour of Tarragona, and it was fascinating.

A lot of the Circus ruins are below ground now. It was unclear to us if they always were underground, or if they were buried over time. There were over 50 enormous arches that supported some of the structure (the entryway, I believe), and we walked through the remaining part of this section of the building. The scale is incredible, especially considering that this was built over 2000 years ago!

This underground portion was used for many purposes once the Romans were toppled from power. It was a dump, and then it was a munitions storage facility. Now, the Spanish are trying to preserve what is left.

In the picture above, you can see one of the arches from the entryway. I took this picture standing atop the circus building. Unfortunately, we were never in a place where I could take a complete picture of the Circus (because it is enormous).

Below are several photos of the Colosseum. The first picture is a view of the Colosseum from the Circus.

This is a picture of the center of the Colosseum, where you can see a bit of the underground area, which is where the animals and gladiators were often raised from below the stage via pulleys & trapdoors.

And here is a closeup of the underground portion of the Colosseum stage.

Below is a picture of remaining columns in the Forum. The Forum was quite spread out. Now it is completely surrounded by huge (and not pretty) Spanish buildings. You can see an apartment building in the background. The unattractive background scenery did not encourage me to take additional pictures.

Tarragona's city centre is on a hill, which overlooks the ocean and many of the Roman ruins. Here is a view of the city centre from atop the Roman Circus ruins.

There is also a very nice pedestrian area from the Roman ruins, along the coast a bit, and through the commercial part of the city - much like the pedestrian area in Barcelona. There were even interesting & slightly bizarre statues along the pedestrian area here (as in Barcelona). The only things missing were the humans posing as statues. Of course, it was rainy, and that may have kept the human statues indoors.

As for our time in the Pyrenees, I do not have any photos to share. We were so busy skiing that the camera remained in our little hotel/apartment. However, we had an excellent time! The kids are quite the accomplished skiers already.

Love to all!!