A dear friend was married in Hua Hin, Thailand and I was so lucky to get an invite to the event. Hua Hin is located about three hours south of Bangkok by car and is located on the Gulf of Thailand. The place we stayed at was amazing with comfortable rooms and a beautiful pool area that overlooked the gulf. On one side was the king's summer palace... and on the other side was this Golden Buddha and a temple (out of frame at the top of the mountain).
So my friend and I took a walk to explore. We walked up past the Golden Buddha to the white building where a monk was sitting. As we started to walk by he waved us over. He said some words and asked us to make a wish as he tied a piece of string with a knot around each of our wrists.
Later that night, my string fell off my wrist while we were eating dinner; my wish was already true. The string around my friend's wrist was still secure. He finally cut it off after returning from a trip traveling around Southeast Asia for more than a year.
Sometimes it is important to remember that those things you wish for are often things you already have.
labels: buddha, hua hin, thailand
location: hua hin, prachuap khiri khan, thailand
Crossing the Andes via a chain of lakes was one of those items on my must do list. When I was in college, a friend had passed from Chile into Argentina using this passage -- although she was smart enough to do it in the summer.
While there are a series of ferries to cross the lakes, there are times when one must hop on a bus and cross a section of land. I crossed over in September 2011 with 15 fresh inches of snow covering the Andes. It was beautiful! And cold.
Having grown up in the midwest, I was accustomed to snow for 4 - 5 months every year. But I didn't realize that the majority of the people on my bus had never been in snow before. (!!!) So imagine my surprise when the bus stopped to put chains on the tires and the bus emptied in seconds and a huge snowball fight erupted.
See the woman in the tan jacket in the upper right corner of the photo? She must have been in her 70s. But she was a ferocious snowball fighter. That large chunk of snow did not stay in her hands for long. After 10-15 minutes, everyone was back on the bus filling the air with the scent of wet wool and we carried on to the next lake in the chain.
labels: chile, national park, puerto varas
location: parque nacional vicente pérez rosales
Walking down the back streets of old towns in Europe is one of my favorite things. This one is near Calle de las Sierpes (Serpent Steet -- named for its shape) in Sevilla. Calle Sierpes is the commercial street and it is filled with stores, cafes and action at all hours. Try to walk down Calle Sierpes after dinner and expect your short walk to take at least a half hour as people window shop and chat with neighbors.
So imagine my surprise to see this street nearby which was relatively quiet. I was attracted to it for the ornate work on the buildings including the tile, the ironwork on the balcony and stone streets. When seeing a street like this, I always think about the people who have walked those very steps and the secrets the street is keeping from the past.
Affected by jet lag, I woke up early one morning. I realized the majority of my time was to be spent in meetings and decided to get up early and take a quick walk down to the Bund. I had been there the day before and the place was packed with locals and tourists alike. There were vendors selling their tchotchkes.
But around 5:00 in the morning and this is another place. It was quiet and serene. There were some people walking along the waterfront, but most people were cleaning and sweeping and preparing for the busy day ahead.
The sun had already risen, and the air made for a beautiful sunrise.