Interesting cultural history and museum visits.
Incredible traffic flow and joining in on the rickshaws.
Watching life on the streets, amazing scenery all around.
Staying in country areas, relaxed traditional homestay, green and lush.
People are friendly and have a beautiful calm energy, whether in the city or country, wealthy or poor are all mixed together with only some newer developments seeming more separate.
The hoards of bikes on the streets are like giant school of fish that gracefully part and swarm in different directions as needed. I saw no agression,impatience or anger on the roads. It appears crazy and all over the place, though there is obviously calm method to the madness.
Crossing the street is an art to be developed and even when doing as the locals do, should not be attempted lightly or without full attention.
With high levels of humidity, the days begin early with a midday lunch break followed by a siesta. Hammocks are popular or you can just recline on your bike in the street! I loved all the hammock cafes along the highway.
Total sensory immersion; sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures - like a surround sound experience!
Riding bicycles in laneways around the Mekong Delta, visiting local produce workshops - the diversity of lifestyles and livelihoods.
Boat and canoe rides on the Mekong River and the floating markets.
Saigon’s night markets were more enjoyable than the day markets. Outside, more space, less overwhelming and still plenty to see.
Reflexology and ginger essence massage. A little indulgence in a spa near the hotel with tea, sorbet and ginger treats included!
Philosophy. So much thought, healthy energy and symbolism behind daily life. Simple living, high thinking and much less stress. The Vietnamese do not seem stressed at all. I imagine that 70-80% of the population being Buddhist contributes largely to the flow of life and general well-being of the people.
History demonstrates plenty of political unrest, upheaval, war, invasions and human atrocities, yet also incredible human spirit and a quiet steadfastness.
There is philosophy behind everything from family life, building and architecture, ancestor worship, food, protest, tradition, names of people and places, health...
No one looks or seems sad, unhappy or unsatisfied.
1st camping trip in a year, with our new camper trailer.
With friendly company, we drove off into drought ridden landscapes, battled the dust and rain, mourned the roadkill, enjoyed limitless horizons, sunsets, quirky towns, outback hospitality and soaked in hot artesian bore baths.
Nature is époustouflante!
People are fascinating, living curious and interesting lives.
I’m not exactly sure what it is about the open road and arid landscapes that attracts me so much...the vastness has something to do with it. Everything falls into perspective under such wide open expanses.
It is a humbling sensation and incredibly freeing...
Apart from that, everyone knows that creative, magical and logistical skills are required to successfully pack, unpack, set up and pack up for any camping trip and keeping everyone happy is an art unto itself that, apparently, I haven’t quite mastered yet!
Challenges aside, the call of the open road is a constant temptation and I await new adventures with anticipation and itchy feet!
From Latin semitarius
* Chemin étroit dans la nature, qui ne laisse passage qu'aux piétons.
* Littéraire. Voie que l'on suit pour atteindre un but : Les sentiers de la gloire.
My boots aren't magic
But my feet feel the call of earths energy
There are traces of those who have walked before me.
places, paths, trails, tracks.
There is movement.
What lies just beneath the surface?
Passage for pilgrims
The via domitia
endings and beginnings
Thousands of kilometres
Stretching over time and space
My boots aren't magic
my feet simply follow
their own gypsy path
Finding their mythology
Testing their song lines
Creating their Personal legend
Carving a mud map
Over this ancient land.
It's already 6 months since we left!
Instead of kooky Christmas pics, you'll have to make do with quirky new year shots. Only 18 days into 2017 and I'm already behind!
Before 2016 becomes a total blur, this is roughly some of what we achieved:
And for the in between stuff...
Not yet being able to work enables me to hone my budgeting skills and gives me lots of time for reflexion, mmmmm.
What to do with all this time?
Walk, read, ponder, take photos, read, explore, visit libraries, museums, villages, roam, write, read, learn, appreciate, watch life float along and I can do housework all day! Haha. As if. I am currently a true flâneur. (Loosely translated, I'm doing a whole lot of nothing in particular!)
Artemis and Armand have slinked into the moody and difficult teenager mode with the greatest of ease, while I've been wondering what planet I was on when I decided to bring two 13/now 14 year olds to France for a year.
I'm not sure if they totally grasp the wonder and possibilities of this adventure...and the different struggles related to adjusting to a new life are enough to get us all down on some days!
Am going for a record in the longest delay to open a bank account, 5 months and counting! I think I finally got it!
Surely the most frustrating thing is it takes ages to get anything done here, administrative tasks in particular, so I feel like I'm in a permanent state of limbo.
Have already had a few car hiccups.
Secondary School blues - college here is somewhat more demanding than the relatively laid back day of high school in Australia. It seems less human, with long days, strict teaching methods and teachers, no replacement teachers! Students just get free/study/home time? Is there such a thing as too long a lunch break? Surprisingly, yes. So far Artemis and Armand don't like it, not sure if I do either!
Missing friends and family, our heartstrings are getting a good work out.
Regardless, we continue to enjoy the simple pleasures and wish the same for our beloved friends and family.
You add sparkle to our days and wellness to our being!
love Tina Artemis Armand
After much planning and preparation we finally arrived in the northern hemisphere.
Our first week in Paris has been a combination of busy and relaxed. Catching up with old friends has been the highlight and making new ones too! The relaxed ambiance staying with friends helps overcome the jet lag and getting ones head around day to day practicalities from braving the Paris metro, buying a SIM card and finding your way around.
Our first adventure was not finding our taxi driver at the airport. Our lovely friends had reserved one for us but it took maybe an hour before we found him! No one had heard of the company and I ran around looking for an atm = money = feed the kids = get change and try to call someone...if you can figure out how to use the public telephones!
Once we found him all was good. He was a lovely young man who attacked the express way and le périphérique with true Parisian driving skills, all the while managing to bite his nails and check his texts! How could I have forgotten those crazy French drivers?!
Since, my thighs have had a good workout. We have roamed around the streets of Paris, just 3 of thousands of tourists out and about with their selfie sticks, (I've never seen so many!).
Pre-booking tickets online can be helpful but sometimes you have to stand in line no matter what. I don't remember there being so many people during my last visits. Some Americans had a go at me when I cheekily merged into line near them, pretending not to understand what they were talking about, comme une vraie francaise! Still had to wait at least half an hour. Paris is immense and full of surprises, not all good of course. Armand commented on rubbish everywhere and there are plenty of soldiers with big guns but despite the crowds it is amazing. We have had only a small taste, concentrating on famous sites. We had a great day with a lady from Newcastle, whom I met during the last 15 minutes of the flight via the book she was reading! We roamed around the quartier de Notre Dame, tested the Metro, picnicked near Sacre Coeur after climbing many stairs and discovered the little streets of Montmartre, before climbing to the top of l'arc de triomphe!
Comment je trouve la France?
C'est comme une collection de sensations et de souvenirs dans le fil du temps, interminable.
I was recently asked to write a list of what I like/dislike about France. It should be simple but so much of my being is linked to this place that I can't manage to unthink it and be subjective...like all memorable relationships it's an interesting mix of bittersweet and love/hate.
For me, it seems there is not much difference between wondering and wandering. It has always helped me find inspiration. Creative dabbling is good for the soul, I couldn't imagine life without it and often surprise myself by what I come up with.