Friday, April 25, 2014


A memory map of our stay in Marrakesh, showing my morning run with Louis into the walled city.

We traveled from Casablanca to Marrakesh by coach which took 4 hours. But time passed quickly as we alternated between gently dozing after our Moroccan breakfast and savouring the views of green fields and farmhouses. We passed several small towns; clusters of buildings leading up to a castle or a mosque at the top of a hill - I imagined myself living here for a year, working with my hands, in the open fields harvesting lavender or olives.

I took some photos knowing that they will not convey what I saw with my eyes and in my mind.

Sketches from our two days in Marrakesh

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Here's looking at you, kid.

These are details from our excursion into the Habous (old town) of Casablanca - parts of the town has been gentified but the back lanes appear to be the gritty original in the raking evening light.  I noticed a familiar name on a street sign - a memory from my high school history books; Ibn Battuta, Moroccan explorer and scholar in the 1300's. ( I remembered him as Persian, Abdul was quick to correct me) You can see the French influence in the naming of the street.

I saw many modern day Bogies and Bacalls
The weather was turning cooler so we headed back to our bus. People on the street are keen to find out where we are from, some hazarded a guess "Ja-pan?, Sin-ga-poor?" many were delighted to find out that we are from Malaysia especially when we returned their "Assalamualaikum" with a fluent "Wa alaikum assalaam".

at the Habous
Morocco has a special relationship with the colour blue; her skies, Majorelle, cobalt, blue men

It is the end of the work day and people are meeting friends for a drink or a meal, waiting for a lift home or having a chat at the Place des Nations Unite. I spied on them from the bus.

at the terrace of the American Embassy (as Abdul calls the Mcdonald's Fast Food restaurant)
I think she likes him, don't you?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


After paying the price of a small car, Sam, Sara and I joined the Architect's Institute study trip to Morocco and Spain. Casablanca was our first stop, we arrived at mid afternoon and were met by our local guide. Abdul Rahim - a cheerful and knowledgeable man in his forties who was thoughtful enough to present each of us with a baguette sandwich (with tahini dressing) for our bus trip into Casablanca.

Morocco is greener than I thought - but I should have remembered my geography lessons better, it is a Mediterranean  country after all. We spent only one day day in Casablanca which for me was memorable for the Hassan II Mosque by the sea and the very friendly hotel manager who drew a map for my ten K run - " follow the tram tracks and you shouldn't get lost and run west - it is safer that side"
At 5 a.m. the next morning, Louis and I went for our ten K - it was cold but fast, dark but safe - we got many 'salaams' from the devout coming out of mosques along the way.

The Hassan II Mosque by the sea

Map of our run - along the tram lines so we do not get lost

Early morning

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


On the way to Casablanca, we stopped over in Doha, Qatar. The main airport was under construction and the present disembarkation system involved 15-minute bus-rides and different drop off points; colour coded with your boarding passes - blue for final destination, yellow for transit and purple for long transfer.
The transit lounge was abuzz with people looking for toilets, departure gates and duty free goods. (or for me; free wifi) The only highlight during my 4 hour layover was a pack of dates where someone had replaced their seeds with almonds - combining two of my favourite things.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My mind is in the gutter

Thinking through the details of our latest project has kept me away from my sketch book - so I am showing here the drawings from my other sketch book which I have for projects. I try and work things out  and then pass them on to my colleagues to CAD into construction drawings - it is a good habit to keep so that you have your ideas with you in one place.
Having said that, nothing beats sketching out design  solutions on the back of old blueprints with a colleague - I do better work in a team.