Posts Tagged With: bridge

A Day Late of the Day of Thanks

P1400031 (1)I am grateful for, as Violeta Parra’s song “Gracias a La Vida” says: Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto. Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco. (Thanks to life, which has given me so much. It gave me two beams of light, that when opened, can perfectly distinguish black from white). P1090656

20171123_113241   I am grateful for my legs with which I have walked, gotten lost, discovered and have found my way again.

I am grateful to have led a life that has been enriched by many cultures.

I am fortunate to have traveled to many corners of our globe and been able to immerse myself in other people’s worlds.P1170385

So fortunate to have never lost that child in me that marvels at everything she encounters.   20170608_083434

P1000255To have the ability to link words to relay what I feel and see, has given me such joy, for it creates an avenue in which others can share in my experiences. I wish that with them I’ve been able to weave a shawl in which my readers can cocoon themselves, if only for a brief time, from anything that may ail them.

I am grateful that with the passage of time I have learned to accept myself with all flaws and that though I don’t always like them -seldom in fact- I have learned that if you wish me to be better or different, you should not accompany me in this journey called life. That if you cannot accept my dark days you then don’t deserve to share my good ones. Guess that means that I have learned to love myself and am extremely fortunate, that when I did not, I have had friends that have loved me more than I was capable of at the time.

I so very much treasure that hug, that call, that post, the shared coffee/drink/meal which has saved me in more ways than one. LoveHence I am grateful for your presence in my life, no matter how brief. It has left a mark and taught me much. No real way to thank those who lent me their hand, their ear, their warmth on a more permanent way.

I am grateful to have accepted and dealt with the storms along the way and to have been able to enjoy the clarity that inevitably follows.  P1260629 (2)

I am grateful that I am having a hard time condensing the list of that which I am grateful for and that they far outweigh the bad.

I am grateful to be. I hope that I have, even in the slightest of ways, graced your list of what you are thankful for.20171123_112505

What are you grateful for?

 

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Categories: Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Te Amo”: Graffiti That Just About Sums it Up!

Today will be an art day.   Our feet will take us to the Musée Rodin.  7th arrondissement, art, sculpture, Rodin, Paris, France No doubt The Thinker  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museumis pondering when we will arrive but we are in no hurry so we leave Soleil leisurely.  It is always hard to leave her.  She has pretty much everything we need.  The péniche is the epitome of a room with a view.   Even as we walk the bridge we look back at her.  There she is, the only houseboat with a weeping willow on the right bank of the River Seine.  See her?  péniche, houseboat,  7th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, heaven

We must past the Eiffel Tower to get to the museum. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower  The mass of crisscrossed steel (9,441 tons of it) fascinates me and many stops are made to photograph her up close and personal.  She welcomes us.  steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She amuses us. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She holds  our camera lens captive.   steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She serves as a background to a couple that just got married.  steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower, wedding Seems like a popular location for couples; we saw another recently.

I don’t know how these players can concentrate on the soccer at hand having that structure as background.  But soccer players are fanatical and they pay no heed to anything but the game.  I love seeing it played.   steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower. soccer

But not all is Pollyana.  A middle-aged woman goes through the trash in the park. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower. garbage picker

We continue on.  A flash of gold attracts our gaze.  9What is that?  It’s the Hotel des Invalides. The dome is quite spectacular.  7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France So is the structure. 7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France I wonder how it must felt to enter through such a grandiose door. 7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France  We sit on a bench and just enjoy the sunny day.  Museum workers are out on their lunch break.  An elderly person on a wheelchair is soaking the sun with his caretaker by his side.

We move on and not much after that arrive at the Musée Rodin.  A column has many stickers on it giving it a festive look.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museum, column Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museum, column People that leave the museum get rid of the sticker (proof of ticket purchase) there.  After a bit of a line we enter.  I immediately feel the same thing I did when I visited first, which is a sense – in spite of the crowd – of calmness.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,  Out of the bushes comes a new age type of music, an installation by Erik Samakh.  Not everybody’s cup of tea as is noted when a Brooklyn couple that is sitting in front of  The Gates of Hell, Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,  expresses in a not so soft voice.: F#!x music is morbid!”  I focus on a detail of the door.

This sculpture, Monument to the Burghers of Calais, Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell, always draws me in.  Faces in despair. Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,  

We go towards the garden Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,  where on the wall is a scene of the artist at work.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, garden On a very irreverent note, I am still collecting butt images for a bathroom collection, so since getting real ones to pose is quite difficult and frankly unappealing to me I content myself in taking shots of those that can’t say no.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,

A class is in session and I am hoping no one saw me zooming in on the butt of the sculpture!  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, art class  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, art class

A gelato break before we enter the museum itself. Musée Rodin, Paris, France

Not much commentary from me for a while, just follow along, will ya?

 Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The Kiss Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The sculptures are certainly the central point but the ceiling captivates me almost as much as the view from those beautiful windows.       Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Back to the sculptures.

 Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin Balzac  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The Cathedral  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

And the artist Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin immortalized by others. Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin, painting,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

As I leave, a sculpture made me feel great sadness.  I was going to continue but I came back took a photo and a second look.  Misery  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

We leave and I’m back to noticing what is unusual and cute to me.  A gas station on the side of the road.  Paris, France, scooter

Paris’ doors.  Paris, France, blue door Paris’ windows. Paris, France, window, flowers  Another wedding and is that Air France’s headquarters? wedding, Air France, Paris, France  A last look at Hotel des Invalides.  Paris, France

A chance encounter with my favorite bridge in Paris, Pont Alexander III.  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France

Yep, Paris je t’aime! graffiti

I have mentioned I like this bridge, right?

bridge, Paris, France

But I tear myself away and back into the metro we go.  Paris, France, subway, metro  Meeting with a production assistant for the short.  I wait at a café,chandeliers and capture the “frenchness” of it all.

Parisian café, noisette, bistro, Paris, France

Parisian café, noisette, bistro, Paris, France   If I wasn’t sure where I was, I look out to this monument and a waving French flag.

Paris, France, monument, flag, French flag  I get picked up and as we cross the street I love seeing this couple on a bicycle.  She in the highest of heels.  Paris, France, bicycles, high heels  Paris, France, bicycles, high heels  Instead of going into the subway my stomach starts grumbling and we dive into a Thai restaurant that was actually really good!  Thai Food  Thai Food  After this we cannot avoid the metro but I oh, so don’t mind, because on our walk home this is the sight that awaits.

Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement

We hang around the terrace.  It’s a mild night and Parisians and tourist alike are out in full force.  There’s tango at one of the terraces that reminds me of a few friends back home.  They would love to perform/dance here.    Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers  Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers  A photo shoot is being shot.  P1180218 race car  This time the Eiffel Tower takes a secondary part.  It’s the car that is the star.  race car, photo shoot

I feel so content that this is our route to return to our houseboat.  Don’t think I would ever tire of it. carousel, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France carousel We cross the street and the United Nations road reminds me of my dad who worked there for over 25 years.  Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, Ave. des Nations Unies  Back on the quay a little boat at the foot of Eiffel Tower.

Port Debilly, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, boat,

And before we go into Soleil a last look at Eiffel and our weeping willow tree for the night.Soleil, Port Debilly, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, boat,

I will sleep with the biggest smile ever.

Categories: 7th Arrondissement, France, Hotel des Invalides, Musée Rodin, Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Scouting Locations in Rainy Paris

Today is more location scouting.   Work, work, work…  🙂  Well, not really work when it’s in one of my favorite cities in the world.  It’s rainy but rain in Paris just makes it shine.

We are headed to Pere Lachaise. Pere Lachaise map Over 1 million people have been buried here.  Many unknown to most, many very well-known to the French, and some famous around the world.  panoramic, cemetery, Paris, France

Oscar Wilde is buried here.  “A kiss may ruin a human life,” Oscar Wilde once wrote.  His tomb, defaced by women kissing it (no one can quite trace the origin of this tradition – complicated as the man himself) may be the proof that it may ruin it in death as well.  Now it is surrounded by plexiglass, a plea in writing to respect his grave, and a fence around it just in case someone disregards it.    Pere Lachaise, Paris, France  Pere Lachaise, Paris, France

Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P.

 

The cemetery has cobblestone streets, trees and pathways where the trees meet in the middle.  Some tombs are in decay.   Others give you a burst of color.     tomb   Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P., tombs, graves

Then there’s Edith Piaf’s tomb, surprisingly sedate and unassuming.  A tourist came up to us and asked us where it was when he had just passed it.

Pere Lachaise        Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P., Edith Piaf

 

And speaking of unassuming there is Pere Lachaise, Jim Morrison, grave, R.I.P., tomb, The Doors, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) grave.  Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P., tombs, graves, Jim Morrison  Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P. tombs, graves, Jim Morrison, The Doors,

People cross the fences to place flowers, photos, notes in all languages, and just to get close to him.  Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P., tombs, graves  Pierre Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, cemetery, R.I.P., tombs, graves, Jim Morrison

Dean did a documentary on the 40th anniversary of his death in Paris in 2011.  Really good documentary even for those that aren’t fans.

The Doors – Not to Touch the Earth – 40th Anniversary Celebrations at Père Lachaise

Pere Lachaise is closing.  It is close to 6:00 pm.  An attendant with a bell rings it incessantly herding people out.  Time to head over to where “our” houseboat will be.  Dean is filming tomorrow so he wants me to know the area where the boat is so I can tell the taxi driver.  Plus, we still need a bridge for the shoot.

It stopped raining but those are pretty dark clouds!  20th arrondissement, Paris, France, rain, cloudy day, clouds

Into the metro we go.  20th arrondissement, metro, Paris subway, subway, Paris, France  And guess where we are going first?  Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, sign

It started to rain again which doesn’t drown its beauty.  Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Carrousel, Paris, France, Eiffel Tower  There’s a lonely wet carousel as we approach.   Carrousel at the Eiffel Tower

As hard as it is to leave we must go to the boat which turns out to be only across the river.  River Seine, Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, quay, houseboat, bridge

And here she is: Soleil, the houseboat that we will call home for a bit.  houseboat, Soleil, River Seine, Paris, France  houseboat, Soleil, Paris, France, River Seine, Eiffel Tower  I want to see her from the bridge  bridge, train, architecture, River Seine, Paris, France so we go to it. houseboat, Eiffel Tower, France, Paris, quay, River Seine There we find a monument “La France Renaissante” monument, Eiffel Tower, River Seine, Paris, France  La France Renaissante, Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, River Seine

Another few glances at the Eiffel Tower…River Seine, Eiffel Tower, Paris, France  River Seine, Eiffel Tower, Paris, France and off to dinner at an Italian place Pizzeria Fiorentina(I find that Paris has pretty good Italian food.)  Seafood pasta for me.

Seafood pasta, Italian restaurant in Paris, pasta, yummy, comfort food   And then a crepe sucre (just a basic sugar crepe) that reminds me of my mom.  dessert  Though I must admit to tasting a bit of this…ice cream

And now back into the subway metro, Paris, France, subway  Just in case the map isn’t reminder enough of where you are…Eiffel Tower, subway, metro, Paris, France

subway, metro, Paris, France

As the train departs it gives me this view which almost feels like it was pasted there for the tourists but no, it’s the actual thing.   subway, metro, Paris, France

   Going to bed now.  I’m tired.

Categories: 20th arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, France, Paris, Pere Lachaise | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Scouting in Paris

Today starts late again (I will stop pointing this out or you are going to think I always wake up late).  We are here to film a short and today we are going to meet and have a table read of sorts with Dean’s lead actress, Lydie Melki.  We meet her at the 16th Arrondissement where she lives and I immediately see her as “Sophie” who she will portray.  Casting long distance has its shortcoming but it seems that she will be a perfect fit. We chat, we read, we shoot the breeze, and we make the acquaintance of Buster, her Greek mix-breed.  dog, rescue, mix-breed, cuteness  Get ready for doggie picture overload.  dog, rescue, cuteness, mix-breed  dog, mix-breed, cuteness Buster4

We need to do some scouting and she needs to walk Buster so we leave to later reunite for dinner.  It will be 7:00 pm when we do so.  She is a bit surprised at the “early” dinner time.  I smile remembering 9:00 pm dinners in South America.  Parisians are more used to eating at 8:00 or 9:00 pm.  Most restaurants don’t even open before 7:00. We are looking for a bridge that gives off a sense of romance or longing.  We don’t quite find it but I get some cool shots.  One, of the Eiffel Tower with the Statue of Liberty (in a reduced size) in front of it.  The Statue was given by the Americans around 1888.  Originally it gave its back to New York and upon request by the Americans was repositioned and now faces the same direction the one in New York does. mini Statue of Liberty, Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, bridge, River Seine  Here are some other shots.  Not many, since in the next posts you will be seeing a lot of it.  Eiffe  Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, River Seine, Paris, France  Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, River Seine, Paris, France

We go to a restaurant Terrace Mirabeau, Chef Pierre Negrevergne, Pierre Négrevergne, food, great food, Paris restaurant she recommends: The Terrace Mirabeau, manned by Chef Pierre Négrevergne which is there and comes to our table.  We are seated, after all, in the best little corner of the place.  Food is absolutely fantastic!  Everything was above average.  As a grand finale, Dean has a trio of sorbets that, at least up to now, are the very best I have ever had. The Terrace Mirabeau, sorbets, dessert, 16th arrondissement I have a desert that looks like a hot dog – Paris-Bestes – (probably spelled wrong) that achieves making me stop talking altogether so as to enjoy it to the fullest. Paris, Paris-Bestes, The Terrace Mirabeau, 16th arrondissement, dessert Silence that comes as a good break since I have been struggling with my French but managed to have Lydie understand me and manage to translate a few things to Dean.  Fortunately she speaks some English too.

It started to pour so when we part we decide to go straight into the subway and home.

Tomorrow more scouting at Pere Lachaise, going to check out the houseboat we are moving to, more of the Eiffel Tower and just walking the streets of Paris.

Come with me.  I promise we will have fun!

Categories: 16th Arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Return of Sorts…

Today I had taro frozen yogurt in my neighborhood parlor.  So what does that have to do with my blog?  Simply, the taste took me back to a journey through seven countries I remember with great nostalgia and fondness.  So it seemed so very right to get back to this blog to relive and share the second half of it even when it has been three months since I returned from it.

Last I left you was in Cambodia with a visit to the Killing Fields.   Less somber areas to cover from now on.

We leave Phnom Penh today and head over to Siem Reap.  Thaly –our only female guide- is there to see us off.  People are well into their day.    The road awaits us and it will be an all day trek.  We will go through Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom provinces.   Stupas along the way…  

Of course we must stop at a “happy house” (aka: as bathroom).  I don’t need any more “happiness” so I roam.  There is such peace in this place.  Wish we could just eat here.  

Orchids hang from the balcony.    Reminds me of all the orchids my mother grew in her backyard.  There you go again Asia, a million miles and time period away and you are bringing me closer to my past than I’ve been in a while.

We pass by numerous lotus plantations.  The lotus plant is not only beautiful but every bit of it is of use.  Every part of it can and is used for medicinal purposes. At the side of the road we spot a vendor selling its fruit.  Some in our party are excited to see it since they used it in salads and have not been able to see it any other place outside of India.   

But the lotus flower is so beautiful that one almost forgets the rest.

    

We stop and gawk but must continue on toward spiders and crickets and water bugs and lots more creepy crawlers.   When we get there, one tarantula decides to check the time on Tom’s watch.    Our tour guide approaches me with it and I don’t think I’ve ever jumped back as quickly as I did then.   Some of his species where not as lucky as it was and ended up in this huge pile on the side of the road, fried to a crisp.   Yep, I actually had one –all I could taste was the rancid oil it had been fried in- though I decided to pass on the crickets and water bugs…

A kid, trying to sell us some green mangoes, demonstrates how the crickets are yummy too.  

I wasn’t buying it.  Which says a lot, for this kid could sell you anything!  

He had a way with words and his expressions said so much.    And he had a lovely smile.  Yep, I bought a bag of mangoes.

As we leave a vendor is bagging some tamarind.    

We are back on the bus.  Our next stop is a stone carving village.   No matter what culture, children always like to play.

Carvings are impressive.      

Some oversee the abodes of the ones that carved them.  

It’s almost hard to appreciate the skill it takes to carve them when there are so many together.

But it is a skill passed from one generation to another.  

The larger the piece the more valuable it is and the more skilled the carver has to be.

   

But again, it is the faces that captivate me the most.  What are they thinking?  What is generating that expression?  What is he reacting to?      

After a bit more of a ride we stop at Prei Proh Village where lunch is riverside.     

After which we visit the ancient bridge of Kampong Kdei.   Three things I am particularly fond of photographing: bridges, windows and doors.

I am happy snapping away.

 

Ah, but I forgot:  faces, I love photographing faces, specially when they are not aware of it.

This man waits for a tourist to offer a ride to. And not having found one returns to just waiting.

So does his horse.  

A bit more of a ride and mid-afternoon we arrive at Angkor Home Hotel whose lobby can’t be any more soothing to the soul. 

At night we go to a Angkor Mondial restaurant and show.  The dancers were amazing.  A characteristic that stuck to me of the dance is how the women, while dancing, bend their fingers back so much that it seems that they will break.

Tomorrow we will go to Angkor Wat, a visit I have been looking forward to throughout the trip!

Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Cambodia, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Oi Goi Oi!

Again my eyes open early though I can’t capture a sunrise on my lens due to the fact that the hotel is in a very busy area of Ho Chi Minh City.  Not much of a sky to see here.

After our morning ritual of coffee, breakfast and climbing on the bus we are all set for our day-long trip to Chau Doc via Cantho.

A few hours in, most on the bus need either a coffee or a bathroom  break so we stop at the Vietnamese version of a Starbucks.   Much more relaxed atmosphere than the chain, with much better coffee!  They use this aluminum coffee filter and place it on top of a glass, one-third filled with condensed milk.  They pour hot water on the filter of ground coffee beans and when the condensed milk and freshly brewed coffee meet, the result is heaven to the taste buds! Don’t know how these people remain thin!     

There are hammocks all over and when you order your coffee they will bring it to your selected hammock.  We congregate around some low, small tables so we can chat.  Again, Vietnam unexpectedly is providing me a flood of memories of my childhood and my country.   Hammocks are a standard in Paraguay.  Rarely will you see a back yard that doesn’t have one.  The shade from the trees they are usually tied to, providing a perfect setting for a siesta and shelter from the brutal sun, while the hypnotic side-to-side swing helps keep the flies away and you sound asleep.  But no time to sleep now.  I do not waste the chance to go back in time and space and lie on one, nonetheless.  I recall, while I do so, that it takes a bit of balance to climb on!  

After a few more hours (observing daily life alongside my window)  

and a stop at a lotus plantation

we arrive to Cantho   and it’s time for lunch near the river.   

Lunch of vegetable soup,  steamed shrimp with mango sauce,

stuffed pumpkin flower   and crispy pork with mushroom sauce, is divine.  Heavenly coffee, divine lunch… there’s an out of this world theme in this post. 🙂

There is a market on the side and I buy yet another scarf and t-shirt.   Our guide has taught me to say “Oh my god!” in Vietnamese and when I exclaim:  “Oi gioi oi!” when a vendor quotes me the price, I get a look of total surprise and the most charming  of giggles  as she calls the other vendors and has me repeat it.  This was me just before I said it.  They are having a ball.  Didn’t get me much of a discount but it did make for fabulous interaction.

A short distance from there we climb on scooters for another of what my tour company calls UFE’s (Unforgettable Experiences).  Scooters and drivers wait for us to take us to a bird sanctuary at the other end of the town, Banglang.    Didn’t spot many birds.

They leave us and we walk through town.  My “inside quietness” surfaces as I photograph their faces, their houses, their town.   


Back to bus.   Karaoke or Internet anyone?  

Long Xuyen is our next stop where we visit the Cao Dai Temple.  Not a promising start…  

Then a surprisingly pretty building…  

Then puzzlement when I see the monument in front with a reverse swastika embedded. Turns out that the reverse swastika, which happens to have a Buddhist influence, is sacred to many Vietnamese.  The swastika (a Sanskrit word) is also a tantric symbol to evoke ‘shakti’ or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness.

Cao Dai is a religion that aims “to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world.  Cao Dai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers form a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.”  May get my vote on that premise.   I am mesmerized by its colors and by its principles.  About 2 million people practice it in Vietnam.  Persecuted by the communist rule, it gained in the ’80’s its acceptance.

Back on the bus.  Am really liking crossing the countryside.  We are taking this route so as to be near the Cambodian border.  Tomorrow we are cruising from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Pnom Penh, Cambodia on the Mekong River.

On the way we view a bit more of daily life.  School is out and some girls are in the traditional ào dái dress, used as uniforms in the school. They are heading towards the local ferry which will take them home.  A lot of life takes place on the river; they are so dependent on it.  

We arrive to the Dong Nam Hotel in Chau Doc.  I take a shower and again get on the bus to go to dinner at a local family’s house.  It’s actually a bakery by day and at night she hosts small dinners for tourists.  I try taro and rice soup –purple in color with what to me was a pretty strange taste.   Egg noodle with seafood –great.  Stir-fried morning glory (a plant not the same as the one in the US which is not edible) –delicious!   Catfish cooked in a clay pot –good.

When we arrive it was pouring. First downpour in almost 20 days of travel. It reminded me so much of the storms that hit Asunción and used to scare my mom so much. Ay Vietnam, what are you doing to me?  You have generated so many memories!

The rain brings in a visitor that was not invited to the table.    Mom did not like them; I liked them less.  She got accustomed to them; my aversion got stronger.

Back to the hotel.  The rain is steady and strong and turns into the prequel of dreams of times long gone.

Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Cantho, Chau Doc, Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Long Xuyen, Ramblings, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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