Things I wish I knew

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I was a chubby little monster

Today I turned 36, that was almost my mother’s age when she left Vietnam.  She traveled half-way across the world, and left everyone and everything she knew in order to give her family the opportunities she didn’t have.  That level of self-sacrifice seems so adult and mature to me.  I am half way through my 30s and I still feel like a little kid; not to say that I didn’t have my own challenges that I had to overcome. But I am going to take this opportunity on my birthday to reflect on the things I’ve learned in my 30s that I wish I knew earlier.  I’ve condensed my ‘wisdom’ into a nice short list, one for each year:

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Day 2: On the Road in Rio

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This morning we woke up to more rain and clouds.  Since we weren’t able to go to the beach, we decided to head over to Parque Lage, a public park area that sits at the foot of the Corcovado in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer above .  Inside this preserved tropical forest is a quiet English garden and an old palazzo, built by Henrique Lage  for his wife.  This impressive mansion was later turned into a public area where you can sit and have lunch in the courtyard while enjoying the view.

Day 7: On the Road in Zanzibar

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Today we left the dusty safari and headed to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania. Near our hotel is a small fishing village where the local fishermen go out on their dhow every night and come back early in the morning with their catch.  As they get closer to shore, the sail is lowered as they prepare to unload their fish to be sold at the nearby fish market.

Photo of the Week: Pagoda

IMG_2136Hanoi, Viet Nam

This picture was taken of Tran Quoc pagoda, located on a small island near the southeastern shore of Hanoi’s West Lake. This temple dates back to the sixth century, making it one of the oldest in the city.  The main tower consists of eleven octagonal floors representing the various stages of of Buddha’s life. On the grounds of Tran Quoc, you’ll find a bodhi tree, supposedly grown from the  cutting taken from the original tree where Buddha sat and achieved enlightenment.

Standing on the shore, you can see the pagoda clearly reflected on the surface of West Lake. Even though it’s in the middle of a noisy bustling city, there is a sense of calm and tranquility when you step onto the island.  People speak in hushed tones in deference to the religious silence observed throughout the temple.   Like many people over the years, we had gone there to pray and pay homage to Buddha when we visited Vietnam a few years ago.

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Photo of the Week: Symmetry

IMG_0533Casablanca, Morocco

I didn’t know what to expect when I visited Casablanca.  Based on the movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read, I expected a vibrant city full of marketplaces and interesting things, but what I saw was a dilapidated city, way past it’s prime.  Streets and sidewalks were broken down and every corner was filled with piles of rubble and garbage.  However, just when I was about to write off the whole city, we went and visited Hassan II Mosque, one of the most beautiful places in Casablanca.

It is one of the largest mosques in Morocco as well as Africa and 7th largest in the world.  The white marble structure rises above the Atlantic Ocean in this forgotten city. Contrasting with the rest of the city, everything here was clean and shiny, the facade glowed under the morning light. Inside, people spoke in hushed tones in deference to the religious significance of the mosque. There was a sense of serenity and quietness that settled over the area.  

This picture captured the elaborate doorway facing out to the Atlantic ocean inside the prayer hall.  The sunlight filtered through the titanium wrought door and reflected on the marble floor creating an interesting symmetry. Even though this photo was taken in color, the light and shadow resulted in a black and white effect.

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Photo of the Week: Reflection

Ankara (9)Lake Tuz, Turkey

This photo was taken towards the end of our trip to Turkey.  After 6 hours on the bus, we were very eager to get out and stretch our legs.  Walking to the salt flats on a cloudy day, it’s hard to tell where the sky ends and Earth begins.  I was taking pictures of the reflection, and out of the corner of my eyes I saw this boy skipping.  I turned around just in time to capture this image.  It’s still one of my favorite photo of all time.

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.