A snapshot of a few places I have been to.
A unique culture
Bustling and vivacious. Arriving at night, Hanoi glistened from the recent rain. Red, Green and Yellow lights glowed through the raindrops on the taxi window. As I alighted motorcycles whizzed past spraying rainbows of petrol scented water while the aroma of local delicacies of pho and bang chuo wafted to my nose. I inhaled deeply, smiled and knew I was going to like this wild and charming place.
Magical and lovely. Passing through immigration into the not-quite-finished-sort-of-state-of-the-art airport I was struck by the dense humidity of the night air and a tumult of activity. It was only the beginning of a magical and heart opening experience from the mountains to the cliffs and the endless beaches, vast seas and wonderful and welcoming people. I was enchanted right from the start. And the daily spectacle of astounding sunsets made me feel lucky to be alive.
A Place Unto Itself
I heard that Japan was unlike anywhere else in the world. But the quiet old world charm and sense of ingrained calm of the people enveloped me in the quiet neighborhoods of Tokyo and the temples of Kyoto. I became steeped in a time long gone by but still very much alive and happening in this wondrous country. That with the juxtaposition of the modern fantasy life of the young Japanese, it truly is a world unto itself.
A joyful place
Surprising and jawdropping. What an incredible place. Of course one goes for the safaris but what I will go back for is the wonderful people that love their land and are happy to share it with you. The vast numbers of wildlife is unsurpassed. The landscape is utterly beautiful and all makes for the most delightful experience. They say Africa gets under your skin - and I most certainly do agree.
A feast for the senses
From the sounds of the hawkers touting their wares to the scents of hundreds of intriguing spices, and the sights of beautiful tile work and intricate carvings, Morocco fills your soul at every turn along the ancient alleyways of the Medina. The adventure began as I was swept up into the bustle of the market and back to another century where you could still trade your camel for a bride and all just beyond the threshold of my riad.
And so many more places...India, Cambodia, Laos, Borneo, Malaysia, Portugal, South Africa, Italy, Malawi, Spain, Zimbabwe, Greece, Denmark, United Kingdom, Panama, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, the Channel Islands, and the United States...where would you go?
A watery world
Glowing like a cozy fire, Stockholm warms your soul. The ochre and burnt siena washed buildings reflected upon the waters that wend their way through the city are incandescent. And yet, it is stark and unknowable behind these facades. Much like the waters that link the many islands to each other, there is a depth here that I failed to fully grasp. I want to go back for more.
There will always be Paris...or St. Malo...or even Toulouse...Toulouse was meant to be a stopover on my way north, but she so surprised and delighted me with her beautiful architecture, delicious food and welcoming vibe that I stayed a bit longer. More youthful than other french cities, there was an optimism here that I had not seen in Paris. I walked along the canals, ate cassoulet, visited exciting museums and indulged in warm croissants. A bientot Toulouse, I will be back!
Wild at heart
Green and red. The mountains and the skinny red clay road co-exist as you traverse across this untamed region of Africa. Life takes place along the narrow road that runs through the country. Townspeople, schoolchildren, thatched homes, goats, cows, bicycles, and copper mining trucks share the roadside. And the Zambezi woos you like a siren beckoning you to stay just a little bit longer.
A teardrop in the middle of the ocean
Seeing old family friends was just the start of a magical trip around this small but mighty country. Days began with egg hoppers and coconut sambal and the feast continued from there. The magical Dambulla caves amazed and the tea plantations swathed in misty fog were picturesque. But the food, it delighted my tastebuds from the varied curries to the giant prawns and the chili crab. I shed tears when it was time to leave and made a prayer to return one day.