Posts Tagged With: Post a Week

Misty Threshold of Inspiration

What is a misty threshold of inspiration? For me it is a combination of 3 photo challenges ūüėČ Ailsa has asked for something MISTY while Word Press asked for a THRESHOLD and Bastet asked for INSPIRATION.

Going through my pics from our recent short trip to Hong Kong I thought this photo fit the bill for all 3. Our short trip was saturated by heavy down pours. Luckily we got in before the storm, so our flight was not diverted, delayed¬† or cancelled. Each day we would arrive inside JUST before the skies really opened up. Umbrella’s and rain coats were unfashionable, but kept us mostly dry. The day we left heavy rains left everything misty over the hills. As Ailsa says fog and mist are mysterious and I thought this was be good inspiration for someone to write a short story or poem. Bastet wanted a photo to help inspire someone to write and hopefully this will get some creative juices flowing.

Misty Hong Kong

Misty Hong Kong

WP’s theme of threshold was described as something that can show change or a beginning. Travel is just that for me. Stepping away from the comforts of home and going somewhere new is exciting. I love the opportunity that travel provides… allowing you to see and do new things, meet new people, experience new foods, sites, smells and learn about different ways of life. My first solo trip opened so many doors for me and without that opportunity I may not have ever taken the chance to move half way around the world. It was a big step… challenging, exciting and scary. Crossing over that threshold has been many fantastic adventures.

The Ultimate threshold -flight

The Ultimate threshold – flight

What big step have you taken in life?

Stay tuned…

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

Pixelventures Mood

This week Bastet’s Pixleventures asked us to show our mood. Spring always lifts my mood as the fragrance from flowers fill the air and the sun feels warm on my face. In Shanghai spring is slowly drifting in. What better example of spring than these beautiful tulips we bought last weekend from our local flower guy on the street.

We Drink Because We Are Poets hosts this weekly challenge and encourages us at verse as well as pics. This week I tried my hand at both.

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I posted another Tourist in My Town look at SKYLINE earlier today. If you missed it you can check it out here.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | 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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cambodia -More Awe & Wonder

In December we took our first trip to Cambodia. We spent 10 days in the Siem Reap area which is known for the famous ancient temples and ruins at Angkor Wat. There are a lot of other things to see and do besides temples. A few museums, a waterfall and silk ‘farms’ are available to visit for a change of pace. The one that sounded the most interesting was out on Tonle Sap Lake; a floating village. We decided to visit the floating village¬† which¬† is also quite popular with tourists. The idea intrigued me and I was curious what it would be like. I pictured houses floating similarly to boats, but somehow anchored in place. We decided this would be worth seeing, something different and more unusual than anything we have ever visited before.

Only mode of transportation that works here

Only mode of transportation that works here

There are a few places where you can go and see some of the floating villages. The place our tour driver, Rak, recommended was a little further from the city. He felt it was less touristy and crowded. It was $25/person for the trip which included the price of our driver and the entrance/boat for about 1 hour. It was a short drive on main roads through the city . Next we drove through more open country that reminded me of the wide open spaces back home. Once we turned off the main road it slowly turned into a dirt road, sometimes littered with potholes. Seeing Tuk Tuks bump along in the dust made us very happy we had a comfortable car. The road here isn’t paved since the lake floods each year and the road is under water for a long period of time. The dry season runs from November to May and the lake will be as small as 2,700KM2 and it can swell as large as 16,000KM2. Due to this natural phenomenon the inhabitants have constructed their houses on tall poles made from tree trunks. This would be something to see.

House on stilts

House on stilts

We parked the car and Rak hired us a boat and we were led away. We had the boat to ourselves which was a nice surprise. We started off slowly going along a narrow passage for what seemed like a long time. There wasn’t a lot to see other than some trees that were partly under water. Eventually we started to see some of the houses on stilts. As we rounded a corner the village came into view. Houses varied from those in bright colours, to pale peeling paint, to simpler ones in plain wood or what looked like woven palm leaves or reeds. The locals went about their daily business in small boats. We saw some children going off to school while others stayed home and helped pick small fish out of fishing nets. We continued on passing more and more, which was hard to take it all in.

floating villiage

After about 30 minutes we docked and were asked to get off our boat. Another tour through the mangrove was offered for an additional $5 in smaller boats. We decided against this part and continued on our journey. After this stop there was another place to stop and eat and a large temple, but our driver pushed on. We eventually reached the open lake and our driver stopped our boat. We weren’t sure of the purpose since there was nothing to see. We were like sitting ducks and soon women in small boats approached us, With limited English they tried to sell us unappealing snacks and other items. When we said no thank you they said to buy some to give to the villagers. Again we declined and our driver returned us the way we came.

Houses up close

Houses up close

Back on shore we watched some of the locals in temporary houses, simple shacks, where they sold some food to passing tourists and other local workers.  Nearby there were a lot of rice patties and in small shallow sections of the river men wade chest deep and cast large nets to catch small fish. After watching a few minutes we returned to the car and back to the city.

I took a lot of photos, but it was hard to get the best shots as we were always moving. Sometimes I wish we could have also got up closer to have a better look.

a tourist boat with approaching sellers out on Tonle Sap Lake

a tourist boat with approaching sellers out on Tonle Sap Lake

This is a part of a series on our trip to Siem Reap. Missed the other posts about Cambodia? Check them out by following the links below:

Stay tuned …

Categories: Culture, Photography, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Juxtaposition & Surprise :Weekly Photo Challenges

What is Juxtaposition? According to Word Press it is a pairing of things to show comparison and contrast. Basetet’s photo challenge is to show something that surprised you. Living in Shanghai, China just walk out the door and see examples of these themes. Such a shame that after nearly 4 years¬† here less things surprise us and have become part of the everyday.

Last spring we went to Beijing to see the Great Wall. As we wandered the market area selling souvenirs to tourists we came upon this unusual pairing. Seeing someone in ancient warrior garb and another fellow in a modern suit playing a Chinese style chess game was a little surprising . A true juxtaposition… had we gone back in time or was it still 2013?

 

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What have you seen that surprised you or was a juxtaposition? Comment on it below or follow the links to find out how to post your own photos.

Stay tuned… more on our recent Cambodia trip later this weekend.

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Photography, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Awe & Wonder: Angkor Thom

Our recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia brought us to the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat. The best preserved and well-known is Angkor Wat, but there are many temples within the area. According to some research, I read after our return, there are hundreds of temples in Cambodia. One of the largest complexes is a short drive past Angkor Wat called Angkor Thom. Within its grounds are many structures and temples hence the Khmer meaning of its name Big City.

Angkor Thom is unique with many of the gates and some of the temple structures not only having the intricate carvings, but faces pointing to the four cardinal directions. Another of the temples have a large sleeping Buddha camouflaged in the wall. A path and signs pointed us through the grounds where things were spread out amongst trees, small ponds, long walkways and open spaces. Walls and tree roots snaked around the temples adding to the atmosphere. In other areas rubble littered the grounds where parts of buildings lay in ruins. Much of this complex has had some restoration to allow tourists a view back in time to a great empire.

We tried to avoid some of the crowds and had an early start. Our driver, Rak, dropped us at a small temple outside the main gate and told us he would meet us on the other side. John climbed the steep staircase as I took pictures. Next we made our way to the gate and happened to see a naughty monkey knocking over bikes and trying to run off with guide books. As we walked through the picturesque gate we noticed an elephant coming along down the road. We went back outside the gate and snapped a few photos.

an unexpected surprise

an unexpected surprise

On the other side of the gate we got back into the car and drove down a long stretch of road to the first temple complex. I was surprised that cars were allowed inside, but soon understood when we drove fairly deep inside before we saw the first structure. I started to understand the size of this complex in comparison to Angkor Wat.

credit: www.poricany.cz

We started at Bayon, the temple with the faces. We wandered around the grounds where nothing was off-limits. Little piles of stones reminding me of the Inuit inukshuks littered the piles of rubble. We made our way higher and IMG_6442got some close up views of the large stone faces standing watch. From there we went to Baphuon where Buddha lay hidden. The sun was getting hot and this was the first day where the usual high temperatures made an appearance, so we stuck to the shade and didn’t climb the upper levels of the next few temples we saw. My shoulders were not covered enough, so a guard showing me a sign with the universal no symbol, had me sweating under my long sleeves and now double layers. Without a map and a loss of direction we continued to follow the path and people who lead us to a long stone walkway. It was surprisingly massive. I realised we had made our way through the complex, but we had missed the one thing I had hoped to see, the elephant terrace. From what I understood it was a small rectangular structure. After a few more steps I saw the elephant carvings and realised we were in fact on the terrace. People crowded and snapped photos of the elephants. We found a hidden staircase that led below the terrace to a narrow passage. I am not sure the purpose other than the many carvings that graced the walls. We led our way down the staircase to see more carvings. Our driver was waiting for us and as we drove along the road I could see just how immense the terrace was with carvings from top to bottom and along the entire length; it certainly wasn’t what I had imagined. Again Angkor left me in awe and wonder.

This is my fourth post about our recent trip to Cambodia. Two posts are about the site itself and the third is a response to a photo challenge. Want to read more check these out:

Stay tuned for more…

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

Awe and Wonder: Ta Prohm

Have you ever watched the movie Laura Croft: Tomb Raider? If you have then a must stop is the Tomb Raider Temple, as it is often referred to, within the Angkor Wat area in Cambodia. Its official name is Ta Phohm, but due to the movie’s success and popularity rarely is it referred to in that way. I think I had seen the movie years ago and all memories and expectations from it were lost. Others come because it is one of the temples where the large trees still cover the walls and give it a lost/explorer type atmosphere as you wander through the combination of recently preserved walkways and parts that still lay in ruins.

Just inside the main entrance our first glimpse of the incredible man vs nature in Ta Prohm

Just inside the main entrance our first glimpse of the incredible man vs nature in Ta Prohm

This was the one temple I was most looking forward to. The photos and stories I had seen and heard made it sound mystical and magical. As we approached the temple along a wide sandy path I wasn’t disappointed. The small stone temple complex with some crumbling stone masonry around gave it an incredible atmosphere. Unfortunately it was under restoration and over run by tourists, so the atmosphere was quickly lost.

Close up of the massive trees that have over taken and caused some of distruction to the ancient temples

Close up of the massive trees that have over taken and caused some of destruction to the ancient temples

Soon as you enter the main area a large cloud of dust greets you. A main temple is surrounded by scaffolds and small cranes as workers reconstruct the fallen. Stone masons carve and add designs into the stone by hand to recover the lost motifs and images. Restoration is important since the large trees that reach up high have taken their toll on the delicate stones balanced to form walls, paths and pillars. The tongue and grove and indents that fit each piece together like a puzzle is no match for the large roots that snake under the foundations, over walls and through roof tops. Ta Prohm has many areas that have collapsed and fallen over time. I found it surprising how piles of stone were casually strewn about and covered with mosses. The fallen walls, arches and columns a result of time and nature.

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We came here after a morning of the elusive sunrise at Angkor Wat. It is a short drive around the Angkor complex. It was getting close to noon, so the sun was bright and high in the sky. It is recommended, to make the most of your photos, as the best time to visit due to the thick foliage that causes darkness and shadow at other times of the day. Numerous tourists and tour groups swarmed the most photogenic areas.  I patiently had to wait to get a photo in numerous areas only to be frustrated as I was jostled by the crowds or someone would walk into your shot without as much as an apology when it was finally my turn. The crowds made the temple less enjoyable and it certainly lost its mystique.

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I wandered the many passages and paths that were like a maze within the complex itself. Many passages were narrow and shallow making me wonder how small the former Khmer people were. I got lost as I went inside and out from darkness to light, only to find my way when I encountered the small Buddha statues dressed in a variety of ways. Each Buddha was decorated slightly different helping me recall my route. The smell of intense in the air would tell me I was getting close to such a small altar with a local person passing you incense sticks for good luck, but then requesting a donation after doing so.

I found John again after getting separated in the large crowd earlier and we retraced our steps to leave. Outside the inner passages we walked along part of corridor one which was recently restored the other still crumbled and fallen. Few people ventured this way and it was much more enjoyable and serene. From here we could see the many walls that were set like mazes making me wonder what other secrets and passages we left unexplored. I wished to return to Ta Prohm again, hopefully without the crowds.

Luckily after long waits or hidden areas within the large temple maze I was able to get some incredible shots I was hoping for.

Luckily after long waits or hidden areas within the large temple maze I was able to get some incredible shots I was hoping for.

Stay tuned…. more temples from Cambodia

Categories: Photography, travel, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CTB Take Flight

Ho ho ho it is that time of year where many people travel. Living abroad it is the one holiday pretty well everyone is going somewhere. Many people travel back to their home countries to share the holidays with friends and relatives, while others go on beach holidays or other fun travel destinations. Each year thus far we have gone home for Christmas, but this year is different. We are going to Siem Reap, Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor Wat.

I love ancient history and Egyptian and Roman art and architecture are my favourite. I love exploring old temples, churches and reading about days long gone. It amazes me how such incredible structures could be built without modern technology. Angkor Wat promises to dazzle and awe in the same way.

Bags are almost packed and 1 more sleep before we get on a plane to one of my most anticipated locations and adventures in travel. Since we have been living in Shanghai we have had the chance to see many amazing places and meet fantastic people. From the Terracotta Warriors and Great Wall, and huts on a hillside where every cell relaxed and became tranquil, to a hustle and bustle of a busy city. My love of history has built this next destination up in my mind as the best yet and I just can’t wait.

We are gone for 10 days and I will have my iPad, so I can try to blog. I do not have a cord to download photos from my camera to the iPad, so you may have to wait for images :0)

All the best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Travel safe….

Stay tuned….

Categories: post a week, teaching overseas, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I am not a poet, but I sometimes have inspiration to write and scribble a few words down. Nothing to share or post since I am not happy with the rhythm or rhyme I come up with. This week I decided to give it a go and stretch and challenge myself for Pixelventures challenge. The challenge was to post a holiday inspired photo and add some text in a short story (150 words or less) or poem.

We went to see some lovely holiday lights last night and the glow and sparkle drew me in and had me feel¬† the Christmas spirit. This year not going home has left me feeling like I am missing the spirit and Christmas. I haven’t been shopping for gifts and warmer temperatures and lack of Christmas in China has left me feeling like Christmas is still a long way off. The lights last night brought the awe and wonder back and inspired me to write a few words. I hope you enjoy it.

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If you want to join in follow the link to find out more. Also if you want to see more of the lights check out my earlier post here.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, post a week, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tourist in Your Own Town: Holidays #2

Last spring I started to post on Tourist in Your Own Town and encouraged others to join in. A few months ago as a suggestion to make it more regular I started to set a theme as a monthly challenge, which I will post the first weekend of each new month. The month of December I posted on Holidays and asked you to share what celebrations look like where you live. I posted a unique crystal christmas tree at  a local hotel here in Shanghai. Last night we went out and around to see some lights along Century Avenue. A few weeks ago the twinkling bright blue and white lights caught my attention and I knew I needed to get up close. Around the JingMao Tower, World Financial Tower (or Bottle Opener as it is referred to here), and Shanghai Tower, which is still under construction, we captured these lights.

View from Above

View from Above

Today at the Kerry Parkside in Pudong I spotted this Polar Express display. A super huge mountain of ‘snow’ and train. Each season they seem to out-do themselves with some sort of seasonal splendor.

It is not too late to join in the challenge. Here are the details if you want to share a post and be a Tourist in Your Own Town.

All Aboard

All Aboard

The rules ;) …

  • post a picture(s) for this month‚Äôs theme: HOLIDAYS
  • link to my post Holidays: Tourist in Your Own Town (or this one #2)
  • add a link to your post in the comment section below (so others can find you too ;) )
  • add the tag TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN to your post
  • use TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN in the title of your post
  • have fun clicking examples of the holidays

Next weekend we are off to Cambodia for Christmas, so stayed tuned for more adventures and travels around Asia.

Categories: Photography, post a week, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,