Welcome to Travel Raw

the people of Koh Phangan, Thailand

Koh Phangan Beach Babes

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I love a woman who feels totally comfortable in a bathing suit...

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                       ...especially if it's....

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                      ...a bikini.


the people of bali

Balinese Beaches

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From an entrepreneur....

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..to a fishermen....

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...to a man and his dog, it appears everyone in Bali loves a beach.

The Hindu Culture

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The Balinese people are hard not to love.  They laugh easily, they share generously and they live with the simplest of desires...to be happy. I wandered upon these two happy girls during their school recess and they kindly...and joyfully...posed for me. Bali is predominantly a Hindu country. Perhaps that is why the Balinese people are so big-hearted.  There is a temple on almost every block of every town, I kid you not.  And each community has its own, where they meet regularly to talk about their communities, what is working, what is not and what needs a fixin'.   

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I met Kadek at the yoga clothing store she owns in Ubud.  She is a graphic designer who designs, not only the fabrics for her clothing, but the clothing as well, employing many local women in the process.  The print behind her is one of her many designs.  I bought the yoga pants she is holding (in the same design) and I love them!  You can find Kadek at Yoga Shanty, Jl. Hanoman No.30, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali.

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Dharma is the manager of The Beach Garden, my favorite restaurant in Canggu. Their produce is sourced  from local organic farmers, and they visit the farms personally to make certain that everything IS being grown organically.  I was thrilled to see raw vegan choices on their menu and had my first raw Pad Thai there...which was absolutely delicious. You can find Dharma at The Beach Garden, Canggu, North Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali.

The People of Vietnam

The Black Hmong Hilltribe Women

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"Mong" in the Hmong language means "bootie", so at one point the "H" was added to the name to avoid that particular association.  The "Black" refers to the black clothing they have worn for many generations.  But in more recent times, the women have added beautiful touches of colorful embroidery to their clothing.  As well as fanciful umbrellas...

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...and red coats...

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...and red jackets for their babies.

The Hmong Hilltribe Children

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On a rainy day in the village of Ta Giang Phinh, we came upon these two girls on their way home from school.  I loved their matching strides in the muddy waters.

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While visiting another Hmong hilltribe in the village of O Quy Ho, we saw these two little ones.  My guide, Linh Giagmng, who is also from an Hmong tribe, told me that they were playing a game that she played as a child.  The one in front is playing the "mother" while rewarding her "daughter" for good behavior with some sugar cane.

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I was tempted to buy what this entrepreneurial  little girl was selling, but Linh told me it only encourages the parents to send their children "begging" instead of sending them off to school.

On the Streets of Hanoi

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I love the street vendors selling everything from textile goods to pineapples on sticks.  The weather had been cold in Hanoi, and I was not prepared!  (You may recall that I planned my trip around warm weather destinations...)  But I did find a vendor who had almost everything I needed.  A hat.  A pair of gloves.  Some warm socks.  And a hot cup of tea.

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They block off a street in Hanoi where children can safely ride small cars or scooters.  These two friends are working on their scooter skills so they can hit the streets one day... hopefully not too soon though.

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Everywhere I went I saw people cooking meals on the sidewalks!  It didn't look that appetizing (probably because it was mostly meat), but it did look convenient.  

The people of Laos

Carol Cassidy's Textile Workshop

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Carol moved from the United States to Laos thirty years ago to open a textile studio in the heart of Vientiane. Having studied in Norway and South Africa, she brought a wide range of knowledge and skills to a country already known for its beautiful textiles.  Located in a French colonial mansion with a gallery and atelier, it has become a vibrant workplace for many of Laos's talented weavers.

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Carol was kind enough to take me on a tour of her studio where I was able to watch the weavers at work.  

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Many of the women have been with Carol since her start, over thirty years ago! It says so much about these talented, lovely women!

people of Thailand

Around and About Chiang Mai

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I love the security guard at my apartment building.  When I first met him, I was struck by his warm, friendly smile. Everyone smiles here, but his smile was really big.  He works 7 days a week, 13 hours a day.  He doesn't speak English and I don't speak Thai, so we communicate through body language and silly faces (if you can imagine that). One night I brought him back a package of papaya from the market because he works so hard. The next day he showed up with a straw hat from the market for me! I was so touched. The hat is a whole lot cooler than I am though.

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Most of what you find at the many markets are handmade.  This woman made beautiful tote bags out of heavy cotton and leather.  I loved the labels she had sewn onto the bags, which was also the name of her company, "Yoursmine".  

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When I came upon this gentleman, he was playing a beautiful piece of music on a flute.  I soon realized he had made the flute as well as the variety of flutes displayed on his table.  Each one was carved from a different wood into a unique shape and size.  

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

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One of the many gentle giants enjoying his visitors.

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           EJS staff member keeping an eye on his charges.

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                                  Everything looks A-OK!

Around and About Pai

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They're hanging out near the Bamboo Bridge just being kids.

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I came upon this boy riveted by the appearance of a dog with an old mangled leg (most likely hit by a car on a narrow road).  I could feel the compassion that had welled up inside of him.  His mother was calling for him to come, but he just wouldn't move.

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I was amazed that the abundance of beautifully designed women's clothing in this small shop had all been made by this one woman.  

School Girls on a Mission

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I was flattered to be interviewed by these charming young girls for a school project.  They wanted to know what I thought of Thailand.  Easiest interview ever.  I love Thailand!

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I was a bit lost one day in the Old City of Chiang Mai but not for long as an Angel came to my rescue.

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I bought this exquisitely crafted purple linen top from the designer herself at a Friday night market in Niemman.  

Women Supporting Women

Women Supporting Women

This lovely woman sold me 3 dozen pink roses for 200 baht, which worked out to $6.07.

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Thai women are incredibly nurturing.  This woman gave me a foot massage, and when she was done, she gave me a big hug!  It was so comforting, I didn't want to let her go. That's my foot there.

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An artist on the street today painted my picture!  I'm usually not so vain, but I thought it was a pretty good likeness.  My friends might recognize the hat.

People of Tokyo

The Many Mysteries of Men

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This gentleman looked as though he was enjoying his book. I wonder what he was reading? And are they together? 

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These men were sitting at a counter facing the wall eating their lunches. They didn't appear to know one another.

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Most men wear white shirts and black pants in Tokyo. It's a good look. I like it.

Geishas Galore

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Geishas still exist today and can be spotted in the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo.

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Like the geishas of old, they perform tea ceremonies, sing and dance and play the shamisen.  

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            A few things have changed though.

Sweet Moment Memories

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Takeshita Street, in the Harakuju neighborhood, is where an offbeat Japanese fashion style, called Harakuju, blossomed back in the 1980's. Although it's on it's way out now, you can still see an occasional Gothic Lolita or a cutie pie like this one  dressed from head to toe in pink.  There's no one look for Harajuku fashion. That's what makes it so interesting!

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Makiko is an airbnb tour guide who shared her passion for Japanese history and culture with me one beautiful morning in Asakusa.I loved it so much, I signed up for two more of her tours. https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/129363050

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I had a dozen postcards to mail and this postal worker carefully put 2 stamps on each one for me. That's 24 stamps.