Posts Tagged With: beach

Cayman Landscapes -Photo Challenge

I promised I would post more and get back to my weekly schedule, but then I came to the Cayman Islands. Aaaahhhh… My day is filled with sunshine, blue skies and swimming in the pool.

Hubby is at work, but somehow my days are still full. Weekends we head out and explore the island that will soon be my home too. The island is flat and most buildings are not more than 3-4 stories. Talk about culture shock from home and Shanghai. However, the beach landscape is something not to be missed. Crystal turquoise seas, soft powdery white sands and endless blue skies. I couldn’t pass up on the weekly photo challenge from WP – Landscape.

 

7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

My days are numbered and soon I will be heading back to Ontario to spend a few days with family before returning out west. BUT… Only 3 short months before I return and start a new expat life.

Enjoy and stay tuned.

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Categories: Expat Life, Holidays, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

My Happy Place -WP Photo Challenge

Last week the theme for WP was “Happy Place. I had an idea right away, but due to travelling home for a few days I hadn’t the chance to post until now. Even though a new theme has been posted I couldn’t let My Happy Place go.

The question was where do you go to unwind, escape and get away from it all? I couldn’t pick just one so I have included a few of my happy places below.

  1. The sky…

In Shanghai we didn’t get clear blue skies often, but when we did I would stare at the clouds and blue sky. Evenings I loved to take in the colourful sunsets with the Shanghai skyline silhouetted.  Back home I enjoy the clear skies, fluffy clouds and colourful sunsets too. Even though they are a regular occurrence I never tire of them.The other night a colourful and unusual cloud pattern danced across the sky. I couldn’t resist.

Patterns and sunsets in the sky

Patterns and sunsets in the sky

2. The beach…

The warm sun and sand beneath my feet with the soft surf relaxing every cell in my body…ahhhh. Need I say more? As a child we went to the Atlantic Ocean and walking on the sand looking for shells or throwing stones into the surf was fun. As an adult I have been lucky enough to visit beaches all over the world. The best was the little cabins we stayed in the Philippines where the sound of the waves lulled me to sleep. The powdery beaches in Cuba are phenomenal as well. Whenever stressed I enjoy looking at a beach pic on my computer desk top.

The waves, soft sands and warm sun

The waves, soft sands and warm sun

3. The mountains…

Since I have been out in Calgary the mountains are a short drive away. The fresh air and smell of pine is so relaxing. The view of the snow capped mountains from the city are spectacular, but up close even better. The surreal blue of Lake Louise is something to see.

The mountains, blue lakes and smell of pine.

The mountains, blue lakes and smell of pine.

4. Books…

Escape with a good book

Escape with a good book

The absolute best is a book. After a long day it is nice to curl up with a book to help you de-stress and fall asleep. A good book is great to lose yourself in and shut off the busy day.

 

What is your happy place?

 

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Serenity Now -Photo Challenge

“Serenity now…. serenity now !” – Frank Costanza, Seinfeld

When times get stressful what do you imagine, or wish for?

I feel most relaxed and at peace with the whisper of the winds in the trees, a warm breeze to tickle my toes and a view like this:

The perfect view to relax

The perfect view to relax. The view from my beach chair, Cuba 2012.

Thanks to WP for this theme.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time Temptation

With a view like this doesn’t it tempt you to jump on the next plane and say forget work… ? The beach is a place where time stands still. I don’t need a watch or worry about where to be. I can just soak up the sun, swim  in the sea and revel and relax.

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I wish I could go back in time and enjoy the sunny carefree days when we were in the Philippines just a month ago. As we enter our busy season at work I long for more time

This is my response to Where’s My Backback theme Temptation and Baset’s Pixleventures Time. Click on their links to see more.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return to Coco Beach

February 2011 Chinese New Year holiday we went on our first Asian adventure. I had just been teaching a few months in Shanghai and we wanted to escape the noise and cold damp for the 10 day holiday. Booking late we found high prices and limited availability. We searched and found a very cool little resort that was different from your typical hotel room. We were delighted by its rustic charm and felt like we had landed on Gilligan’s Island. Most people we met there were on their second and third visit to this little gem. We vowed to return and this Chinese New Year holiday we did.

This year we booked early, but prices were high due to poor air quality that gripped Shanghai. We booked 5 nights since that was the cheapest option. Flights nearly doubled for extending our stay a day or two in either direction. It would be a short trip, but nice to get away to the most relaxing place we had ever been. The place is called Coco Beach and it is located in Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

Welcome to Coco Beach

Welcome to Coco Beach – View on approach by boat

The resort has been around since the 1970’s and it resembles a type of Philippine traditional home. They are simple huts made with bamboo and palm leaves. The rooms have no TV, internet or air conditioning. A simple sliding window and canvas curtain open to reveal the best views, better than any HD TV. Rooms are equipt with bathrooms with cool running water, which is fine due to the heat and humidity. You look forward to the cool water. Rooms are set along a hillside to take advantage of the view. This time our hut was set back further from the ocean, so our view of the sea was partially obscured by the towering palms. This also blocked out the soothing sounds of the sea to lull us to sleep each night and the palms blocked out the cooler sea breezes. Nights were hot, but a fan kept us comfortable. Weather forecasts called for rain or cloudy days, but we lucked out with sun, warmth and blue skies everyday. The day we were leaving a quick rain shower passed through, but it was short-lived.

To get there was quite the adventure. We had a late morning flight and got up early to head to the airport. We were met with a thick dense fog. I figured we would be slightly delayed, which was an understatement! Once in the airport we learned from other people in line the flight may be delayed until 3:30 that afternoon. It was now 9AM. It took over 2 hours to get to the counter where the delay was confirmed. The long wait was attributed to attendants trying to re-book the numerous connecting flights. Most people connect through Manila to the more popular Boracay and Cebu beaches. Once we got to the gate more rumours started to be passed around that the flight was further delayed or even cancelled. The flight was now scheduled for 8:20 PM. Since we had gone through security we were stuck waiting. The fog/smog mix remained heavy and didn’t lift. Finally late afternoon the first flights could leave. The visibility had only slightly improved. Our flight would take off, hopefully, once our plane arrived since it was still in Manila. About 4:45 it was confirmed the flight was in the air, but it was still uncertain we could leave since fog was rolling back in. Being close to the sea and 2 rivers certainly has its disadvantages.

The beach - coral reef almost touches the shore

The beach – coral reef almost touches the shore

Finally about 10:45 PM, 5 minutes shy of our morning departure time, nearly 12 hours before we were able to leave the gate. Tired and wary we arrived in Manila about 2:oo AM. The next morning came fast since we had a 6:30 AM shuttle to take us to Batangas where we would board a boat to Coco Beach. It was all worth it once we stepped off our boat and quickly porters grabbed our luggage and brought it to the main building where the staff awaited us playing guitars and singing Welcome to Coco Beach. As before each guest was presented with a shell necklace and handed a drink and shown a place to sit and relax. When we were ready the kind staff gave us our keys and gift box filled with homemade soaps, creams and shampoos made on site. 3 days here would go by quickly, so we had to make the most of every minute to soak up the sun, kind smiling faces and relaxing atmosphere. Aaahhhhh we’re back…..

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

What crazy travel delays have you encountered?

Stay tuned… and be sure to check out my previous post from today… RED #2 -Tourist in Your Own Town.

Categories: travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Hue of You: Weekly Photo Challenge

The inspiration for this post comes from Word Press this week. Immediately I thought of the colour and what to post for the theme the HUE OF YOU. It could be a HUE to show my personality or current mood. I decided to show my favourite colour Turquoise Blue. When we think of blue we often think cold… but this lovely warm sea is far from cold. The colour relaxes me and energizes me at the same time.

Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

I am always drawn to this HUE of BLUE and I have been told it looks good on me.

It was an easy choice when we got married to use TURQUOISE and Silver as our wedding colours. I was told it was the ‘man version of pink’, but it is still my favourite.

Check out word press to find out more details how to join in or see other interpretations of HUE OF YOU.

Categories: Photography, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Light on My Feet

I have enjoyed pampering myself with a pedicure on occasion. It is much more common now than it was 10 years ago and IMG_0474prices have come down. In Shanghai I can afford to do it more regularly and it is a little cheaper than home. The place I go is relaxing, but fast. The colours of the rainbow tempt you and I enjoy deciding on colours. My colour of choice is usually a bright pink or shade of purple, but I have gone for blue and turquoise on occasion.

I never thought about taking photos of these little works of art until recently. Such a shame since they are unique and so much fun.

As pedicures have become more common designs have started to emerge and get more detailed and fun. I have had simple squiggles and lines and little flowers made of carefully placed dots. Once I asked for a butterfly here at my usual salon in Shanghai and this is what they came up with.

49. Diana relaxing

This summer my friend Anita had watermelons. I thought it would be a cool idea and I had to get some too. They were a big DSC04443hit with my students. Often I feel little fingers touch them 😉 A lot of the parents have noticed and I hear “You have watermelons on your toes!”. I learned the word for watermelon in Chinese (xīguā –she gua) and I have heard people saying it while looking at my feet, so I know some locals have noticed too!

The colour was a bright pink with a white and green stripe along the top edge (kind of like a French manicure). To complete it little black dots were added and then the top coat.

  •  xīguā – watermelon toes

I brainstormed ideas to top the watermelon and I thought of ladybugs. I found a picture on the internet, of course it had already been done. I went to my local place and this is what they came up with.DSC04811

They didn’t have the thin nail art pens, so she painted my nails red then with a thin paint brush and some black paint she added the half circle of black for the head. The line was next and the little spots. After a minute to dry the little white dots for eyes were added. To keep it all in place a clear top coat was added. The colours are darker, so I wonder if I will have the same reaction to these little critters.

What fun designs have you seen or done on your nails?

Stay Tuned….

Categories: post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Earth, Sea & Distance: Photo Challenges

I have decided to combine the weekly photo challenges into one this week. Pixelventures has asked us to post on EARTH, while Where’s My Backpack is on a long distance trip, so she has set the theme (off in the) DISTANCE and Word Press asked about the SEA. Word Press suggested we talk about the first time we were at the sea or other feelings surrounding water. I love relaxing by the ocean and hearing the gentle waves lap at the shores. It has been just over a year since we were in Cuba for a two week glorious holiday by the sea. Last year our many return trips to Canada only left 2 short mini holidays and none of them took us to the sea. 😦 Check out the links above to participate and find out more about the themes and their meaning. See below for how I interpreted and combined the three themes into one 😉 .

Here is where the earth meets the sea… and the only thing off in the distance are the clouds.

View from my Beach Chair in Cuba

View from my Beach Chair in Cuba

A view of the sea in the distance through the trees in the Philippines. At this resort the earth is celebrated with gardens and natural building materials. No phone, or TV to distract you. Only the sounds of nature to lull you to sleep each night in your open air hut.

Nature's Rhythym -wind, waves and wonderful

Nature’s rhythm – wind, waves and wonderful

High above the earth we caught sight of the sea and some small islands in the distance.

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A new day as the sun  in the distance rises over the earth and sparkles across the sea in Vietnam.

Sunrise Sparkles on the Surf

Sunrise Sparkles on the Surf

These photos may look familiar since they all come from previous posts, but I thought they were worth sharing again 😉

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peaceful #2: Travel Theme

I posted already on peaceful this week, but I had 2 very different examples, so I thought it best I post these separate. Check out my other post here if you haven’t already.

I find the beach the most relaxing and peaceful. The beach holds many great memories as we have played in the waves, built sand castles, swam with dolphins and felt the warm sun relax and sooth our souls. I have been lucky enough to travel to many beaches all over the world. One of the most relaxing destinations that for me made me feel the most at peace wasn’t a fantastic powdery soft sand beach, but a resort nestled in the hills and amongst the palm trees. We stayed in a small hut with bamboo floors and rice paper windows. The one wall was only a thick canvas curtain that provided us with an incredible view high up on the hill. There was no need to leave our room since the view was so spectacular. We spent time on our balcony, or on the open window bench just soaking it all in, reading and enjoying the view. I slept so soundly as the wind rustled in the leaves and the waves crashed gently on the shore below. No TV, phones and hard to access internet gave us a true break from all the city noise and commotion in Shanghai. This was truly peaceful…

A room with a view

A room with a view

 

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

Check out Where’s My Backpack to see what others hav posted on PEACEFUL, or add your own.

Stay Tuned… one more post this weekend (that is 4 total!)

Categories: post a week, travel, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Escape… in a busy hectic job and with demanding schedule and chattering children all day how do I escape and turn off?

By reading a good book. Being transported into someone else’s words and world helps me forget about the daily stresses and escape for a short time. Currently I am reading Anne of Green Gables, a Canadian classic on my iPad.

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Coffee… lazy weekend mornings on our balcony with a view of an amazing city is a good way to escape, relax, chat and dream about our future endeavors. Plans are made, shared and dreams are born over good coffee and conversation. Other times just the quiet of the city as it is coming awake, the sun rising and the cool breezes in the trees regenerate the soul and get me ready for a busy day ahead.

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My favourite escape is the beach. The sound of the waves, warm breezes and in my sight the endless vision of turquoise blue is what I day-dream about on cold damp days and in hectic times. Knowing there is no schedule, place to be or endless paper work to catch up on allows me to truly relax and just be. The beach always is my ideal place to escape.

How do you like to escape? Share your ideas in the comment section below, or post your own! See Word Press for more examples, ideas and details.

Stay tuned… and don’t forget to be a “tourist in your own town”. Link back to my post or see it here.

Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,