Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moroccan Maryam and Her Peacock Pavilions

Meet Maryam Montague: Human rights and democracy specialist, owner of boutique guesthouse, Peacock Pavilions in Marrakesh, interior designer, gourmet chef, photographer, author of award winning blog, "My Marrakesh," and the beautiful coffee table book you see below, Marrakesh by Design.  Maryam may be one of the most extraordinary women I have ever met.  Over a dish of Chicken Tagine in a Berber tent one night, Maryam related to our group how her grandmother took her aside when she was young and expressed that she only wanted one thing for her: to live anything but an ordinary life.  After working as a human rights specialist in 40 countries and traveling to an additional 32, then building an oasis with her husband and two children in the middle of an olive grove in Marrakesh, I think it's safe to say that Maryam has achieved the extraordinary her grandmother always wanted for her.

Does that sound familiar to you? To live anything but an ordinary life? I started out my last post by saying that "I have never wanted to live an ordinary life." This must be why I am drawn to this woman. 

        April Meeker, Maryam Montague and Me. Snag Maryam's book on Amazon. I'm loving my copy.

Below are a few montages of photos from our stay at Peacock Pavilions. This magical, eco-friendly oasis amid an olive grove in Marrakesh has been featured in the New York Times, Elle Magazine and on HGTV.  Maryam and her architect husband, Chris, designed and decorated it from scratch.  The grounds, the design, the d├ęcor and the food are all implicitly divine.

 Thanks to Whitney Ebert for the photos above.

Thanks to April Meeker for the photos above.

P.S. I should have been a peacock for Halloween! Next year?  Happy haunting tonight!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Spy Morocco

I have never wanted to live an ordinary life.  I gravitate toward anything that sounds spontaneous, adventurous, risky, or just downright crazy.  So when my friend April Meeker, asked me over Twitter if I wanted to host a creative retreat for women with her in Marrakech, Morocco, it was an easy and resounding, "Yes!"  

I think it will take me a few posts to share with you the treasure trove of things I learned there, but today, let me offer you a preliminary taste of what I saw and experienced in the style of "I Spy."

  I spy two windows and a camel caravan, a shop full of cameras and a fresh orange juice man.

I spy magic carpets and Humphrey Bogart, two men in the square selling food from their carts. A brass hand door knocker, a dreamy blue door,  marbleized papers and a mosaic floor.


I spy a woman in an emerald cloak, a man selling dates and five tree-dwelling goats. A pottery shop and a lovely old ship, two men bending over while gutting their fish.

Come back next time to read about the amazing place where we stayed and the remarkable woman who hosted us.