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Showing posts with label Travels / Tours. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travels / Tours. Show all posts

08 December 2014

Villa de Oro

V is for Villa de Oro, a beachfront accommodation in Boracay. Come on in!

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and how's this for a view while dining on seafood?

The shirt is right - life's a beach. I mean I cherish the nice moments in life.

Water World
Mrs Nesbitt & the ABC Team
Our World
Sally's Blues
Mellow Yellows

10 November 2014

Packing up pronto

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This was a weekend work trip with colleagues to the province. I love the sumptuous meals in the hall above the floating cottages by the river and the houses among the trees where we slept at night. But the best part was going home. I'm not a fan of packing up but if it's to go home, then I happily pack pronto! 

07 November 2014

Sweet November

Reflections: celebratory tea

Skywatch: a bougainvillea roof

And then it's time to acknowledge the good of the week. Here are my high fives:

1. Progressive, transition lenses. After two years of neglecting, avoiding and hesitating, I finally set foot in an optical clinic and came to terms with a 'perk' of aging. My traditional books, here I come! Back.

2. BBC modern adaptation of Cinderella. That bit on university research was very appealing. It's fun when a fairy tale sounds intelligent and not just all charm and romance.

3. Free expert knowledge. Last week when I mentioned my Mom successfully battling pneumonia and enlargement of aorta, I meant she was already breathing on her own. But she's not totally out of the woods yet as she's having difficulty swallowing food. A friend in the medical profession shared keywords of possible causes. That helped me form my own questions to ask the physicians.  It's comforting when you have at least an idea of what's going on and what to do next. 

4. Cousin time. As an only child and now as an adult I realize how daunting it can be to make pivotal decisions alone when an elderly parent is sick. I appreciate this cousin's availability to talk things out with me. 

5. Celebratory tea. Hope is a good thing. Optimism helps. Celebrating them lifts the spirit.


03 November 2014

The Red Temple

Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir

Popularly known as Lal Mandir or Red Temple, and originally built in 1656, it is the 'oldest and best-known Jain temple in Delhi, India.'

Too hot that day, I only stayed a few minutes to take a couple of photos and ran back to the car. But then I did not need too long to be impressed by such structure. I loved the moment I took in the sight.


Sharing with - Rubbish Tuesday / Our World / Ruby Tuesday 

31 October 2014

Walking by

Skywatch: west side of Taj Mahal

Sally's BluesReflections: by the blue lotus pond

Fave Five: Living to  Tell the Story  /  Shine the Divine

October has been very eventful. Stress and joys, adventures and challenges, you name it. It's wonderful to have the chance to express gratefulness for making it through this final week of a beautiful month.

i. Surviving a task at work on finance/statistics: not my expertise but I did it.
ii. Another world landmark off the bucket list. Taj Mahal is quite a love monument.
iii. Angel friends: geographically distant (Canada) but willing to stick it out in their iphones the whole night to give emotional support.
iv.  Kiddo in church with minimal adult supervision. The singing ministry does him good.  
v. Mom's back at home after fighting off inflammation of the lungs and heart successfully. Now I can breathe.
  

21 October 2014

No wifi

Opened in 1648, "the Taj displays its different moods through its varied shades... as any beauty can ever have." ~ tajmahal.gov.in


Wall of the Taj up close.


This is my world recently. A two-hour drive from Bangkok, it's all charming and nestled in a river jungle. No wifi. Did you just hear something shut down with a bang? But since I didn't have to cook and maids were around to fix the bed, I say it was still a nice life for a couple of days.



Sharing with - Rubbish Tuesday / Our World / Ruby Tuesday 

07 October 2014

Mumtaz Mahal

(The rest of the photos are mine)

It must be a many-splendored thing to be a Mughal emperor's favorite wife.... You get to rest in peace in a marble mausoleum.

Some quick facts about Mumtaz: she had a 'deep and loving marriage' to Shah Jahan, was given an imperial seat, Muhr Uzah,  mothered fourteen children and died at the birth of the fourteenth.


Mumtaz Mahal is enshrined in magnificent structure.  The tombs inside are empty, cameras are not allowed, but I had what I call an archaeology moment - staring awed at the hole that leads to her actual body 21 meters below.


Now I can say I have really been to India!


29 August 2014

I will be entertaining...

Skywatch: on an expressway to Pratunam, that area in Bangkok where everything is cheap.

Reflections: history wings and things


I Heart Macro: floral tribute


Friday's Fave Five: Anticipation mode. My entrails are somersaulting. Come, September, come!

1 Teacher's day. It's that time of year when I'm so in love with my profession.

2 New apartment, new furniture. In the move I found a photo which I thought I had lost forever. It's of my parents, the last and only one with my rarely-seen-in-photos father in it a few years before he died. I was just thrilled with the discovery.

3 A change I don't mind. It was originally Bali in three weeks. Thanks to an unexpected problem with the travel agency, it's now New Delhi.  Hello Taj Mahal!

4 Re-entry permit and visa report sorted. Always a relief to get immigration stuff out of the way.

5 I will be entertaining. A friend from high school I haven't seen in 26 years is coming to visit September 18th. And then we're going to India.

26 August 2014

There's something in history...

Museums, ruins, historical sites, mostly anything old - they are what make me go on trips for. I love those ohs and ahs I get as I behold them. Like on this one inside a World War II train in a war museum. This is what I call my Jonah moment. I was inside the train. 

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But there's something in history that is depressing. At least in these finds I call train entrails or it could be due to having no idea what they are really. So while waiting for the rest of the tour group to assemble for the next stop I loitered in a nearby orchid shop for some cheer.

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29 July 2014

Old ladies

Wrinkly and rusty, how she must have been paraded around by World War II officers during the day!

 

This is a display inside Jeath War Museum. Further down the tour, here's Old Miss Thin and Saggy. She must be given credit for hanging in there all these years.


Thanks to our hosts:

19 June 2014

Spiraling


"Year after year beheld the silent toil
"That spread his lustrous coil;
"Still, as the spiral grew,
"He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
"Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
"Built up its idle door,
"Stretched in his last found home, and knew the old no more." 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered Nautilus


Hello my bloggity friends. I celebrate the week remembering a few favorites:

At the Temple of Literature, National University Hanoi... in that American Literature class our teacher made us 'chant' The Chambered Nautilus. She spent a few minutes on the beauty of the words and 'preached' the message into our heads.

It was either the heat outside or the memories that made me linger in the souvenir shop. Both maybe. I quietly enjoyed the moment: viewing the beautiful shell as fond memories of college buddies and a teacher that I liked so much came spiraling back.

One of my friends is reflected on the glass. That's how I made sure I did not lose them.

Coming back, a few minutes before landing in Bangkok, I glimpsed the Martial Law sky. The nice thing is curfew has been lifted, thanks to the World Cup...err... whatever reason the Thai military might have had.

Rain! a real break from all the unrelentingly high temps in the past few months.

Applause in the boardroom. Addressing my colleagues, the vice president said it mainly in Thai. I made out 'research,' 'financial report' and my own name. Then all eyes on me, (I was going red; oh dear what have I done?!) they cheered. It really was just a simple case of getting the job done but guess I survived to share some tale of Once upon a time, just when I thought I was going to resign....

Maleficent. I will happily never get over the fairy tales!

Thanks to our host: Weekend Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Skywatch * Share the Joy

09 June 2014

Viva Vietnam

Inside the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, built in 1070, pavilions have a screaming, fighting red ceiling. Or at least that's what came to my mind as I looked up with my ear to the guide emphasizing Vietnam's independence from Imperial China.


So I was in Vietnam last week. With friends who took charge of everything (as I had been busy at work and had no time to search), i.e. hotel and airline bookings, deciding where to go, what to see, where and what to eat... and that is why I thought I had a grand time. Thanks to friends who gave me the luxury of not having to think of such holiday details. 

Here's Chris, our guide. We're at National University, Hanoi. He also guided us around Hoan Kiem Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. The stop at an ice cream shop was just as interesting.


They say you have never really been to Vietnam if you didn't go on a cruise in Ha long Bay, so we made it the highlight of our trip. I took this shot from Hang Sung Sot cave up one of these limestone karsts.


And then at sunset we partied on the deck of our cruise liner. So let Martial Law rage on in Thailand. We're having wine with the gentlest ocean breeze, worry-free chat over Vietnamese spring roll and the thought of being wave-lulled to sleep while helping ourselves to the reddest water melon in the bay.  Viva Vietnam! 


Thanks to our hosts: Mrs Nesbitt and the ABC Team * Our World * Rubbish Tuesday * Ruby Tuesday Too

14 May 2014

Ineffable

"The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods." ~ Elbert Hubbard
It's been somewhat a long week for me here in the Big Chili. But I'm glad that toward Thursday things got a bit hyped up and suddenly it's Friday; time to conclude the week by recalling what's great in it:

Coffee table books, a vintage flower vase and a Guess purse among the rest of the many bags, some still on the floor. Not exactly a spree but I did shop and it was fun.

Recent movies. There was The Lunchbox, Noah, Transcendence, The Amazing Spider Man 2, all entertaining and all gave me some time off too much stress at work. I appreciate being reminded of what forgiveness is like from the Railway Man - for both Eric Lomax and Takashi Nagase.


This is Kanchanaburi where much of the story took place and some scenes in the film were shot.

 

Leave approved without much ado. I am Vietnam-bound in eleven days.

Surviving a day of complete communication breakdown. Wrong event, wrong venue, wrong assignment. Last time I checked I was an English major. But Thursday I was talking finances in front of university deans. Then just as I thought I could finally go home I was called back to judge seven stage productions. Late that afternoon the real fun began. I found myself laughing so hard at what unfolded on stage it was like getting rid of five years' worth of toxic off the lungs.

Something new (to me) on the luncheon table. A colleague says it's Vietnamese. Chunks of sausage, sour mango, garlic, raw banana and sweet white bean sauce wrapped in paper noodle. It will be nice to try it again in Hanoi.


01 April 2014

Lake Sebu

Lake Sebu is a municipality.  It is also a natural lake which helps other bodies of water provide irrigation to Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato, two provinces in the southern Philippines. The place is recognized by the Philippine government as a prime eco-tourism destination and an important watershed.

This is Punta Isla, one of several resorts around the lake.  I hear it is popular. Most tourists flock here to have brunch and relax after visiting other sightseeing spots like the seven waterfalls or riding a zip line.


You descend on stone steps to reach the cottages below


I saw this huge bloom along the way


My kiddos watch some lake activity while lunch is prepared


We then took a boat trip around the lake.

26 March 2014

Fancy a splash?

The Big Chili continues to behave like an oven. As I type this, I am chatting on the phone with a friend who is speeding on an Arabian expressway. She reports it's pouring around Abu Dhabi. I tell her I'm going island-hopping. In my dream, that is. For now I am grateful for faves of the week::

Life-saving AC. Since walking around in rising temps this invention has become my best friend. And as for the board room thingy with an amusing laptop reflection that's bluer than the blue above it, that's where I was officially informed about 

Remuneration. I thought it went with the normal salary but it seems the university is happy to pay researchers extra.


Imagination. It does help when there is something to look forward to.


Tax sorted. A colleague fixed a little problem in it for me. Until next year Mr Tax. For now I'm celebrating with some
 
Cold Stone delight. A yummy antidote to the notorious Bangkok heat.


I may still fancy a splash. It's seriously hot in here. When things at work calm down, it's going to be a cool splash. Here's wishing us all a great week.

Visit: Blue Monday * Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Skywatch * Share the Joy * Water World

25 March 2014

The Killing Fields

I love touring and sightseeing. I don't hesitate to visit an interesting place twice if there's a chance. But I am not visiting this place again even if you paid me to do it.

Cheong Ek Genocidal Center in a distance

After many whispers of wows at the splendor of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, my companions and I proceeded to Phnom Pehn. I was kicking to finally see the Killing Fields. "This is it," I mused as my 12-year old self: "those rows of 'cabbages' (skulls) in a documentary with John Lennon singing Imagine, now the Killing Fields for real." We then started exploring.

At first I thought this was an old pigsty. What we saw were...
 
  bones

And that was when we fell silent -


especially when we realized that much of the ground is still strewn with clothes of victims.

 more clothes

'Truck Stop:' "place where trucks transporting victims to be exterminated from Toul Sleng Prison, stopped."

Truly depressing. I wanted to get out as much as I was in a hurry to get in at the beginning of the tour. 

"'Killing Tree' (left) against which executioners beat children.  'Magic Tree' (right) where a loudspeaker was hung to muffle victims' screams."

Did they say children?!? I fought back tears while reading the signs. 


Some skulls showed signs of bashing. They have forensic shots of those in the Center (top photo). Our quiet chat branched out to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's cousins - butchers Idi Amin, Milosevic, Saddam, Hitler... ethnic cleansing :(

While trying to be brave in front of these skulls, I wondered about the kind of tour I got myself into. Did I just pay to be subjected to something so raw as hell on earth?

I like to think I learned something out of such an experience.

'shelves' of skulls at the stupa

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