Thursday, December 31, 2009
Right now, 9:43 pm, Michael and Carolynn are flipping through the overflow of Wii games we have managed to collect, Mark and Elle are bringing in the new year with sweet dreams, and I too am going to bed before the clock strikes 12 because this is usually (not always) my tradition: bringing in the year with peaceful sleep. Good night, 2009.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I stocked up on books, medication, and ginger tea from the night market to ease the pain. Thankfully, Michael brought me street food and goodies from JoMa. I was so thankful he took care of me and was able to have an adventure of his own. Thanks, Michael. I always think you're the best, but on this trip, you outdid yourself.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
- -Aldous Huxley, Vedanta for the Western World, 1945
Th Sisavangvong street life in Luang Prabang. I loved moving down the street and hearing at least six different languages.
Pak Ou caves--Buddhist statues line the walls of the dimly lit caves. We needed a flashlight, kindly sold to us for a small price, to explore the dark corners, but there were only more statues and a few spiders to be found.
The boat trip to Pak Ou was enjoyable for the first hour, the four remaining hours were a like a slow death or a fist to the head, your choice.
Ban Xan Hai or "Whiskey Village" is a tourist stop on the way to the caves of Pak Ou. Rice wine, lao-lao, is served once you step off the boat--warms the cockles of my heart.
This picture captures my love for Luang Prabang: cafe's and monks! Orange is also one of my favorite colors. Whenever I wear orange, I feel powerful. I wonder if the monks feel the same way?
We like to have at least at least three or more drinks on the table in one sitting. I was on a soda water and lemon juice kick.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The best part of traveling in Luang Prabang is walking the streets, up and down staircases, and finding yourself in the middle of an alley way lined with bookstores and cafes. There are beautiful villas, French restaurants lit by the natural sunlight peaking through the doorway and candles on every table. I was only able to enjoy a few adventures until I was instructed to "stay in bed and not move," of course; I'm very bad at following rules. I danced around the room a little bit, but by dancing I mean shuffling my feet back and forth with my new slippers and jewelry on. You see, there's an enchanting night market where you can buy beautiful quilt coverings, bags, t-shirts, lanterns, and my greatest weakness, silver jewelry for cheap cheap.
We shopped and walked for three days: eating, talking, and playing cards. On the fourth day of our vacation, Michael and I took a boat trip to visit a cave, which took about ten minutes, and the freezing boat trip where your nose and fingers are about to be severed from your hands, was about four hours long. I think this is what caused my back injury, or maybe it's my age. I'm not sure, but when I woke up the next day I couldn't move and could barely breathe. Laughing and sneezing were the worst feelings in the world rather than the quasi-orgasmic experiences they're supposed to be. As a result, I remained in bed listening to four podcasts of This American Life and reading The Gunslinger. I've never read a Stephen King book before because embarrassingly, I've been one of those people in the, "Oh, I would never read Stephen King" camp even though I have read Dan Brown on a plane trip before. For Shame! The Gunslinger: thrilling, thoughtful, great for teenage readers (I wanted my students to read it right away), and you can tell that Stephen King loves his story as much as you, the reader, do. My back was in intense pain, but at least my mind was happy.
I have much more to say about the beautiful land of Luang Prabang: the people, the food, the sights, the sounds...and many pictures to share. This really was, oddly enough, one of my favorite trips for many reasons but the one thing that I'm miss the most right now is the candy cane mocha from Jo Ma's. I love this bakery/eatery, and I'm sure anyone who has visited Luang Prabang has praise to shower on Jo Ma's. If I could only remove the cranky, waddling, gray-bouffant-haired westerner who manages the place (more on her later), Jo Ma's would be a slice of paradise.
Michael's parents arrive tomorrow night, so we're on a polish and organize mission in between nap and Wii breaks. Enjoy your break, if you are lucky enough to have one, and if not, make sure you waste a great deal of time on Facebook at the office. You deserve it.
Friday, December 18, 2009
This picture isn't as clear as I would like it to be, but if you look closely, you can see a Vietnamese flag in the background. Viet Nam played Malaysia (in soccer, of course) last night and was picked for the favorite. They lost (sad saps), but the crowds still waved the flag all night long.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The other night Michael captured a cockroach under a coffee cup with a magazine. I stood behind the balcony and shrieked until Michael made me face my fears, pick up the man-made trap, and gently usher the roach down seven stories. I did it! Goodbye, fearless roach.
The walk to school is under construction, which means there are angry, loud trucks and frustrated taxi drivers every square inch. But, my favorite sight can still be seen on the side of the roads. Today, on my way to work, I captured one of the many street sweepers who cleans and endless amount of debris from the overworked streets in Phu My Hung.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
"Let it snow" is pasted on school windows and shop windows all over the city, and if there's one thing we're not getting for Christmas, no matter how much we pray to Santa, it's snow.
I'm not sure life gets much better than this. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Big things happened on the world's fastest moving continent in 2009 -- boasting big people behind them. From art to politics to adorable military fashions, the pace and magnitude of Asia's growth and change has been dizzying, led by the men and women (and children) we've compiled below.
Vo Trong Nghia: Bamboo architect (Vietnam)
Vo Trong Nghia is building himself an enviable reputation. And he’s doing it with bamboo. A pioneer in green architecture, Vo Trong Nghia designs modern buildings with a traditional Vietnamese twist. His innovations, such as a culture centre shaped like a bird’s wing and a central pond for natural cooling, are sustainable, affordable and inspiring. In 2009, the architect took home two prizes at the prestigious International Architecture Awards in Helsinki.
There are so many cheap and wonderful places to travel in SE Asia. Last year, Michael and I walked all over the world and plan on doing the same this year. Here is our itinerary for 2009-2010.
1. September: Hong Kong(karinna)
2. September: Mui Ne, Vietnam(karinna and michael)
3. October: Bali, Indonesia (karinna and michael)
4. November: Hoi An, Vietnam(karinna, michael, kris, betsy)
5. December: Luang Prabang, Laos (karinna and michael)
6. December: Krabi, Thailand (mark, elle, carolynn, michael, karinna)
7. February: Bangkok, Thailand (megan, dan, michael,karinna)
8. March: Beijing, China (IB Training)
9. March: Spring Break—No plans yet, but maybe, India!
10. April: Siem Reap, Cambodia (ambika, karinna, michael)
11. May: Mui Ne, Vietnam(karinna and michael)
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This weekend 18 ladies from Saigon South International School will be traveling to Mui Ne by train for some much needed beach time. We have a little over three weeks left of school, so we're finishing up final projects, entering grades and writing finals. I've been to Mui Ne two times this year, this is my third, and every time I've loved walking down the white, sandy beach, getting a massage and eating the fine food. A hedonist, I am. Hedonism aside, we'll focus on yoga this trip. My yoga teacher from Saigon Yoga is coming with us to Mui Ne and teaching three classes over the two days. Here's to sand and sweat--cheers!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Most of our hours were spent walking around in the mind bending heat, shopping and visiting. Dyana and I took the ferry boat to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha where we sat in silence, reflecting on our past year and future health for our friends and selves. Joanne accomplished a great deal of her shopping goals, and Michael searched for schools to attend in Bangkok. At night, we all sat by the road side listening to live music, drinking gin and tonics. A successful adventure!
Our final destination was Bumrungrad International Hospital. Because our Insurance covers a full medical check-up, Dyana, Joanne and I made our way through the stations of a five star hotel masquerading as a hospital. Take picture, sign name, fill out form, move past the Star Bucks/bookstore, up the escalator, flat screen televisions hanging on the wall, glass windows, plush couches, wellness center… The doctors x-rayed, took blood, checked our eyes, pinched and prodded us. After four hours of experiencing medical care as a well oiled machine, a doctor sat down with me and explained that I am in very good health. She said I needed to exercise more often, which is why I’ve been doing yoga every day, but other than that, I have the heart of a horse. We all compared notes. Joanne said she had care like that of Bumrungrad in China, but Canadian Dyana and U.S.A. I agreed that we’d never seen care of this caliber. Until next time, Bangkok!
Joanne listening to music, thinking about China.
Lady Perched, waiting. Just waiting.
Patriotic sky outside Koh San Road
More Temple, Yum.