Again, I was able to nail a front row seat, this time for a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Chamber Music Concert in the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art. Performing Mozart's "Divertimenti K. 136, K 137 and K 138" were Pablo Rapado and Aniko Kovacs on violin, Victor Sumenkov on viola and Ruslan Umarov on cello.
*Music from the second half of the 18th century was usually meant to be diverting and thus considered "trivial". But today Mozart's "Divertimento" pieces are believed to be more substantial than the supposedly more serious chamber music of that time.
*Thank you, Google.
During my last week in Thailand, I walked an Inner Walk Meditation hosted by monks in the countryside. It took place in an open-air shelter where I walked back and forth 15 meters (a very small space) for 4 hours, 4 days in a row. I thought I was going to go batty. Then I fell into the zone where time stands still. I found there was something very comforting about walking with other people and not talking. We had our imaginary lanes and we passed without making eye contact. It’s all about shutting down the mind and freeing oneself from thought.
There's so much to see at Gardens in the Bay in the harbor district... from diverse plant life in the conservatories to towering vertical gardens that extend into the sky. But that's not all! There are gardens from around the world, massive sculptures, a cloud forest, ponds, waterfalls, skyways, lakes and an array of fine restaurants conveniently located throughout. The 3 vertical Super Trees that you see in the distance of this video, light up at night, creating yet another reason to stay longer.
Echo Beach is sought after by surfers because it's waves are...surfable? (Can you tell I know nothing about surfing? ). So early one morning I arrived at the beach hoping to learn a thing or two.
And later that same day, I ended up back at Echo Beach. For the sunset.
Hanoi’s buildings are a reflection of it's history: centuries of Chinese domination, French occupation and the Vietnam War. As a result it's a very unique combination of Chinese, French and Communist Brutalist architectural styles.
While making a "visa run" to Laos from Thailand, I discovered a textile workshop in the heart of, Vientiane, its capital city. I am always touched by the experience of watching women working together as they laugh, share stories and bond in the ways that only women can.
It was open mic night at the North Gate Jazz Club in Chiang Mai and my friend, Lui, and I nabbed a front row seat (again)! Having given up alcohol recently (not that I ever drank that much), I was amazed at how much fun being in a bar can be even without it! I've also recently come to love the saxophone. Who knew? Nothing in life ever stays the same....and that's a good thing.
I was lucky to be in Chiang Mai during the Thai festival called Loy Krathong. It takes place every November at the time of the full moon. As part of the celebration, we made small boats to sail down the Ping River, upon which we placed something symbolic from our pasts that we wanted to release from our lives. This was the colorful parade that followed.
After the parade, the lanterns were lit and released into the sky, symbolizing all that we desire for our futures. Although these look like stars, they are actually the lit lanterns rising. It was a powerful exercise in the "art of manifestation”.
While visiting one of the hill towns north of Chiang Mai, a guide explained how the vegetable garden we were about to see was once the site of an opium farm.
I made a beautiful new friend today from Germany who shared a quiet spot with me on a bamboo pier in the Old City. It was a day of going with the flow, just like the boats on the river.
I had the most exhilarating experience spending the day with elephants at an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. I took this video of the group I was with as they bathed the elephants. It wasn't until I got home and watched the video that I realized something very funny! As you watch, ask yourself who was enjoying the bath more, the elephants or the humans? At the end of the video you will have your answer. Silly humans.
I was able to watch and listen to the rain fall from the front porch of my cottage in Pai, and it may very well be my favorite moment of a year abroad.
Enjoy the ride. And the music.
Chiang Mai's most exciting mode of transportation. And unbelievably cheap for the thrills.
Although that's Mt. Fuji in the background, I was more mesmerized by the changing fences and walls in the foreground as I left Tokyo for a week in Kyoto.
My beautiful new friend, Makiko, paid her respect outside a Shinto Shrine. She bowed to express her appreciation. She clapped her hands twice to ward off evil spirits. Then she said a prayer. I found it to be so beautiful.
I'm not sure.
I came upon two brothers singing outside of Yoyogi Park just in time to nail a front row seat. Love them.