I can see why people love to photograph food! The images are lovely. I especially like this series because the colorful dishes looked spectacular against my black table.
There was a farmer's market in Split, which I loved to visit every morning. And because there was a food grater in my kitchen drawer...
... I discovered there was an alternative to spiralized zucchini! Who knew?! Now I grate everything.
I signed up for a trip to the desert not realizing it included "Dune Bashing", a harrowing, thrill-seeking (in my case, "not seeking") ride through the dunes. When all was said and done, it had been worth it, however, for this one shot of the camel.
I was so happy that we had traveled at the end of the day as the late afternoon sun was able to capture the other-worldliness of this stark desert landscape. I can't begin to do it justice in words. (Not my words anyway.) So you'll just have to go see it for yourself.
We were part of a small caravan of vehicles, and when we disembarked at the Saudi Arabian border, my driver introduced me to his uncle, who had been driving one of the other cars. Apparently he had been bashing the dunes for over 40 years and had trained his nephew, my driver, how to bash well. I wish I had known this before we left as I probably wouldn't have ridden with my eyes closed. There are grandma's out there with more courage than I.
The yoga classes were mostly focused on breathing and alignment. Each class was an hour and a half, but with space between poses for a bit of instruction and yoga philosophy. Sometimes we would hold only a few poses for the entire class! Although I learned many new techniques for breathing in meditation, I found the less complicated techniques were best for me...like simply focusing on breathing in and breathing out...something that's accessible to all of us!
My room was on the second floor of a building designed to conform with nature. I had a front porch that overlooked the swimming pool and a back porch that overlooked a jungle (as well as a family of cows I came to love).
You could be as social (or antisocial) as you liked, which I loved because, frankly, sometimes I just like to be alone. There were also many cozy spots where you could read by a waterfall or flowing stream. I read a wonderful book while I was there titled, "A Place for Us", which got me psyched for my next destination...Doha, Qatar!
Singapore has created some of the world's most magnificent gardens and "Gardens by the Bay" is certainly one of them. From its iconic Supertrees...
... to its overwhelmingly large sculptures, there are so many enticing reasons to wander the grounds! My favorite sculpture was created by Marc Quinn and was based on an image of his infant son. "Planet", as it is titled, miraculously appears to be floating above the ground and, from this angle, in front of the Singapore skyline.
The park also includes two domed conservatories... the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, which are situated in the distance to the right of the Supertrees in this photo.
The canang sari is a small handmade banana leaf basket presented by the Balinese people to the Hindu Gods in the spirit of thankfulness. It is an ancient ritual that is practiced every day. Each basket is filled with an assortment of flowers, money, a bit of food and burning incense which fills the air with sweet aroma. You will find the baskets everywhere ... sidewalks, streets, walls, temples, homes, shops and even grocery stores.
I was greeted by this array of beautiful baskets outside my apartment...
...while this one was on the grocery store checkout counter.
In Bali they have three seasons a year for the planting of rice. It takes three months from the time the rice is planted until it is ready to harvest. Then, after each harvest, they give the fields, the soil (and the people) one month's rest. This man is leveling the soil to get it ready for the next planting season.
One of the most beautiful features of the Asian landscape is its rice fields.
Each field is as unique as a snowflake.
...but young men and dogs too.
Oh, do I love the neon red color of her hair against the subtle colors found on the beach.
And who doesn't love a surfer girl?
I came upon a room in the War Remnants Museum that was dedicated solely to the paintings of young children who were born with deformities caused by the use of agent orange during the Vietnam War. I was struck by the optimistic feel of this particular painting which speaks to the resiliency of the 13-year old girl who painted it. It was titled, "Welcome Spring".
I also loved this work of art which was painted by a 15-year old boy. Two extraordinary boys enjoying an ordinary game of soccer.
This more dramatic image was painted by a 14-year old boy. His painting depicts a different response to the horrors of war.
While in Vietnam, I was able to visit two Hmong Hilltribe Villages. The first village, O Quy Ho, was at the far end of a trail that led into this valley. I'm proud to say, that I walked what looks like a great distance down, and believe me, it was.
On another afternoon, we took a rainy walk to the Hmong Hilltribe Village of Ta Giang Phinh. Although I was annoyed by the rain at first, the afternoon turned into one of my favorites, as the rain made every step through this magical setting sacred.
There were many twists and turns in the roads through these villages, leaving one to wonder, "What's around this next corner?"
The Old Quarter is just north of Hanoi's city center and is filled with commerce. I found this part of the city to be incredibly charming with it's eclectic mix of ancient structures, French architecture and buildings from the Communist era.
This dilapidated building was a men's clothing store. Yes, really.
I love the look of this hodge podge collection of structures upon structures.
I love the way the young girls of Thailand so readily strike a pose for anyone with a camera! I find them utterly charming, incredibly warm and always beautiful.
In that Thailand is a Buddhist country, they do not celebrate the holidays with the same intensity that Americans do. However, there are trees, lights and Christmas music playing everywhere... if only for us tourists...which, frankly, I greatly appreciated.
Another pose to be struck and tourist to appreciate! Thank you, reindeer girls!
Wat Doi Suthep was founded in 1383 in the mountains of Northern Thailand. Since that time, many holy shrines have been added to the grounds. But it's a 40 minute motion-sickness-nightmare of a climb up the mountain by Tuk Tuk to see it.
I like to take photos of the tops of buildings. I love the shapes, sizes and textures of them.
Gold upon gold upon gold.
Getting ready for bath time in the pond at the elephant sanctuary.
...and ready to get dirty again.
I found this beautiful Buddha in a shop in the Old City district of Si Phum in Chiang Mai. It was made from a phosphorescent crystal, and it glows in the dark on a shelf above my bed. This is exactly how he looks when I sit up and turn around.
I found these two Buddhas as well in Si Phum but on the grounds of a Buddhist temple.
This is one of many smiling Buddhas throughout Asia. Who doesn't love a happy Buddha?
Visas in many Asian countries are only good for 30 days, so at the end of November I flew to Laos to get my visa renewed and to explore the capital city of Laos. Lucky for me, it turned into an opportunity to visit The Carol Cassidy Textile Workshop in the heart of Vientiane.
Donna, my sister-in-law, would have loved poking around in this room filled with dyed wool, as she expertly dyes wool for many of her own beautiful craft projects.
Displayed in the main gallery was a small collection of traditional Lao textile pieces woven by the "women weavers in the workshop" (try saying that five times fast.)
This was the view from my little airbnb cottage in Pai.
Here it was from below....
...and from afar.
These were the views from the communal shelter...
,,,which included a mountain...
...and a river. All of this for $21 a night.
Surprisingly, there are many sites to see in the small, remote town of Pai. So on one rainy day, I set out to see all of them. This beautiful green field was a view from the "Bamboo Bridge".
And here is the super sturdy "Bamboo Bridge".
I love the simplicity. Of a mountain. And grass.
These vermilion gates symbolically mark the transformation from the mundane to the sacred.
The Fushimi Inari Shrine was dedicated to the Shinto god of rice (the patron of business). So it should come as no surprise that each gate was donated by a Japanese business man.
As messenger to the harvest god, Inari, this fox stands guard of the shrine.
My sister-in-law. Marilyn Sadler, is an accomplished plein air painter and spends many hours outdoors painting in nature. I'm hoping she'll see this and want to paint it. But then she won't be plein air painting. She'll be painting in her studio. Please visit her website if you'd like to see some of her beautiful paintings and drawings. It's quite impressive! www.marilynsadler.com
I'm pretty much speechless.
I want to be in this photo.