Thursday, December 31, 2009


The Balinese people are deeply spiritual and devoted to their Hindu faith.

We spent nearly a month with them this year and we found that they truly "live" their religion. Getting into the rhythm of local life, we enjoyed watching the villagers prepare for and walk to the frequent temple ceremonies.

We took in the rice fields in Ceking. You just want to spread your wings and fly over them and then gentle melt and merge with these paddies becoming one with their lush smoothness (nevermind getting muddy and attacked by mosquitos)

Our peaceful little bungalow in Ubud was a sanctuary. The Balinese value their gardens as much if not more than their homes. 

Mountain biking through volcanos and local villages in northern part of the island offers much peace and perspective.

Oh growing mountain village Ubud...

.....where tourism has unfortunately overdominated this once quiet village (though the villagers who depend on tourism don't mind of course). Gratefully, you can still find a few old rustic roads and paths where the likes of Dolce and Gabana don't own real estate.

.....where single western women in their 30's flock by the thousands in the quest for love (after they've eaten and prayed) in this almost fairytale isle. 'Tis easy to find magic anywhere on this earth, I've learned, if your heart is open and your ears perked for those faint but clear whispers we often ignore because of fear.

.....where nature's grand symphony is reborn come evening, especially during full moon. When the monkeys calm down and settled into their trees for the night, a whole new world and dimension awakes and takes over this mountain village. And they say that Ubud doesn't have great nightlife...fiddlesticks! The distant chants from a full-moon temple ceremony in harmony with the chatty geckos, singing crickets, syncronozing bass-noted frogs, and very active swooshing bats and who knows what else out there lurking about. (I'm nearly positive snakes are around somewhere, but let's not think about them.) After closing the day by relaxing on the veranda, we lay on our bamboo bed safely tucked in under the mosquito net (oh blessed invention) and savor each chirp and croak.

If you ever doubted the earth has a vibrating living and breathing soul or need reminding, you'll find it Bali.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bali Daydreaming

More to come...

Friday, September 25, 2009


Graffiti...a rare sight here in squeaky clean Singapore. These two little simple shapes blend in with their surroundings - even the lawbreakers are neat and orderly.

Hurry, hurry take a photo. No doubt it will be scrubbed away in about 5 minutes by the graffiti police. Gotta love Singapore.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Barso re

Thanks to Madhu Gopalan from for reminding me of wonderous rain. Here one my favorite rain songs.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Other Sin City

Macau (a Special Administrative Region of China, like Hong Kong) is perhaps often known as a tackier version of Vegas (as if that is even possible)...and I'll be the first to tell you how true parts of the city live up to that reputation, and I won't spend much time talking about it in this post. However, great architectural treasures and a rich European heritage often blended with Chinese culture await you if you venture off the well beaten track of the Cotai strip.

We board a ferry from Hong Kong's Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan (one of my favorite neighborhoods in HK by the way) and travel just 35 miles to the island of Macau. Casino vans eagerly await our arrival and all deeply wish for us to spend a night or two (and our money) at their hotel and casino, dangling tempting offers and promotions in front of us. The struggling global economy has hurt the casino industry showing that perhaps the house doesn't always win.

We had already booked a room at Stanley Ho's classic Hotel Lisboa (one of the first casinos in Macau). Completely decked out with floor-to-ceiling sparkle and gaudiness, (think Donald Trump's living room x10), Lisboa was actually quite stunning with all it's 70's-style mosaics and grand antique Chinese dragons.

We had some fun at the casino but wanted to see a softer, more classier taste of Macau which has been rumored by a few and were pleasantly surprised by what we found. We lug our weary traveling legs, exhausted-from-nearly-a-year-of-nomadic-living, and escape the strip, wandering far away through a maze of some of the most charming local streets.

We admire beautifully maintained colonial baroque architecture and lanes that were remarkable uncrowded.

.............................................(I wish I could take credit but Otto de Voogd shot this one)

The small old village squares and cozy incensed Buddhist temples on the side streets were a breath of fresh air from the noise of the casinos. We enjoy a quick nibble of meat and other weird things on sticks from one of the many little stalls which seem about as common on every street corner here as Starbucks in Seattle.

As the sun sets over the facade of St. Paul's Cathedral (built in the 1500s, the rest of it burned down in the mid-1830's due to a major typhoon), we make our way over to the authentic Restaurante Litoral, one of the many Portugese restaurants here in Macau. We feast on mouthwatering Portugese sausages and African Chicken. We decide to walk off some of the food we just inhaled and ended up getting a bit lost in the maze of low-rise buildings of the local village streets. We pucker our faces on some "wah mui's" (yummy sour dried plum) from a little old lady from a little old shop.

It's a balmy evening. Mists roll off the water and snake their way through the rotting-fish-scented dark streets...not necessarily some of the safest streets mind you; I half-expected some bearded Kung Fu ninja masters with manga super powers to jump out from the damp drippy shadows armed with Nunchaku (or numchucks).

Imagine this but a whole lot darker.

I discretely shove my wedding ring deep into my pocket...just in case. We enjoy a bit of a thrill getting slightly lost in the claustrophobic valley of dirty grey-hued buildings. As our pace quickens, our footsteps echo in sync with various sounds coming from daily life in the thousands of apartments above's clanging pots, muffled television and sporadic choirs of Mandarin chatter spiced up with the occasional laugh.

We eventually stumble upon a road of mansions and private villas, some in traditional Portuguese style and others in Chinese style as well as a giant Taoist temple complex situated serenely on the coast. We pause to observe the romantically shifting moonlight reflecting off the sea and then drawing mystical shadows around us. From a distance we watch the gentle mists arrive off the waves and envelope a lone priest and follow him as he roams the ornate temple grounds. Hints of burning incense come our way. I take it all in. from here

After several hours of all this walking we reflect how nice twas to get lost in the jungle of Macau, but it's very late now we're ready to go back - my back hurts and Mahesh's knee hurts. We've somehow wandered to this very remote area and it's taking so long to get a "Taxi?!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Somewhere in Thailand

Gazing up at the sky...

...and then down at the footprints of a hundred other wanderers in the sand.
We look all around us and inhale our surroundings becoming one and apart of this nature.

I admire our simple bungalow containing only the bare necessities...all we really need besides each other...

...and reflect on my life while gazing at the expansive sea.
Oh meditative sea.
I contemplate on how simple life can be
and how quick we are to complicate it.

While our feet struggle through the uneven sand,
they eventually find their way and we stroll hand in hand.

We go East.

And then we go West.

We're not aimless;
we're walking to find the ground.
We're trying to get out of our own way.
The person who so often distracts us from
life's true meaning and purpose is our dear selves
without even knowing it.

Pausing for a nap...our hearts slow.
So quiet and rustic here,
I feel like we're "Lost" characters.
But we're not searching for a way off this little island.
We searching for for a way on stay...forever!

We happen upon some civilization!
Hello? Is anyone around?
...apparently sometimes, but not today...

...perhaps they went fishing.

Hmmmm! What's for dinner? More importantly, what's for dessert? Could it be a flaky Thai pancake smothered in sweetened condensed milk and sugar that just melts in your mouth?! Getting too excited for words. I think today calls for a visit to Mr. Pancake Man in the village.
This side trip (a much needed rest from the woes of two rootless nomads sleeping on countless pillows) has offered us time:
to reflect
to be quiet
and to listen
and to eat pancakes.
Bon Voyage to you, dear reader, in your big and small travels in life, be it far or near. Keep your ears open!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Have been a bit busy as of late...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Everything Book

This little treasure of mine has been with me through it all this past year of moving madness.

I use it for...well, everything. One can find all sorts of things inside.
-My rantings and ravings about life
-Lessons (which have been many) I've learned during these trying nomadic times of ours
-Written notes on restaurant napkins
-Shopping lists
-To do lists
-Quotes that move me
-Notes from a Gestalt Psychotherapy retreat last June
-Notes from Yoga teachers lessons that inspire me
-Pros and Cons list between living in Singapore and Hong Kong (because we really can't decide)
-Inspirations and ideas
-Designs for my future India Room
-Dreams and my interpretations of them

My Everything Book also doubles as a filing cabinet for eye-catching clippings from magazines. Here are a couple.
I adore this picture of Marilyn Monroe leaning over a balcony in New York - looks like my old apartment's roof top. I've had this photo for many years (from Vanity Fair) and always hope to have a photo shoot like this one. I also melt when I see the new Tiffany ad of this adorable baby and mother (and the ring ain't so bad either - hint hint, husband)

A special thing surprised me as I was flipping through the pages of my book the other day which prompted me to write this post now. A perfectly preserved flower fell out from between the pages. I forgot that I saved this little souvenir! I collected it from the city palace (where the Maharana still lives, by the way) in the magical kingdom of Udaipur. It still retained it's color from the day I picked it off the ground and placed in my special book.

My Everything Book has been helpful in organizing my very chaotic life. I picked up this most special book from an art shop in Udaipur from a nice local family. Durgesh, the owner, and his beautiful wife were most generous and warm, even inviting us to their home for tea, which was above his shop. His wife hand makes these sweet books from camel leather and showed me the metal tools used to punch in the patterns. I also bought a similar book from her with an elephant sketch on it and another one with an OM design. I am most fond of this one with the camel sketch. There is something so regal about camels - especially in the way they walk with their heads held high.

My poor book endures much abuse yet holds up quite well even though it grows thicker by the day, (like George Costanza's wallet - if you saw that episode). I had better get a new one soon as I begin to close this chapter of my life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tagged: 6 Senses

Chandan from Girl About Home tagged me well over a month ago. I'm a bit delayed in my response because I have turned my life upside-down lately and it's not because I often balance in Shirshasana. Our life on the road has been fun, yet unsettling and things have been just a bit crazy and unstructured being without a home, utensils to make Masala Chai, and a steady Internet connection.

Ok, no more excuses. Let's get to it.

So the object of this tagging system (I'm a little new to it, bare with me) is that I have to come up with 6 things about myself. Sounds easy enough, right? Harder than what you may think when you actually have to narrow it down to just 6. One can begin to think too much. I decided it would be best to come up with some sort of a theme or category to organize my 6.

During this transitional time in my life, many important lessons have taught me more than I could have ever imagined about life and myself. But above all, these traveling experiences have reminded me of the strength of detachment and how I don't live in the present as much as I would like to. What reminds us to live in the present? Our senses. Remember "stop and smell the roses?" So I'm choosing to share 6 of my senses with you.

Reacting organically, our senses are what makes us alive. We are rarely consciously aware of how our senses work for us in every second. As a student of Gestalt psychotherapy, I have learned volumes of this simple yet monumentally life changing philosophy. When I make myself aware of my senses in the second that they occur, I live in the present moment - no longer thinking of the past or worrying about the future, but rather enjoying the very second of each breath or other experienced sense - it's very liberating. When I'm aware of my senses in full force, my soul smiles and wonders with appreciation for life.

6 Senses that remind me to be present:

1. Scent: A cozy burning fireplace either distant or near on a cold day calms like no other. The earthy aroma excites my nose with nostalgia as scents often do, with warm memories of bundling up and strolling arm in arm with my husband through Greenwich Village (our beloved former home) on a cold wintry Sunday, when all our neighbors who are lucky enough to have a fireplace enjoy their embers as much as we do as the scent wafts through the brisk New York air.

2. Touch: Receiving a champissage. A 4000 year old Indian head massage technique with lots and lots of medicinal and aromatic oils-it is truly an Ayurvedic art. It really doesn't get much better than this! Most memorable was my champi at the wonderfully understated Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur where ambiance is everything. Hmm, my heightened senses are overlapping each other. I felt completely awake and alive. It was heaven. Dancing and my yoga practice bring a similar feeling.

3. Sight: Where do I begin? It's hard to pick one, so I'll pick two. First, I love to see long drapes dancing whimsically in the wind of an opened window. There is something comforting, utterly elegant, meditative and romantic about the sight of something inanimate (specifically drapes) being offered breath and life by the wind. This keeps me present.

...................................................................................................pic from here.

Second, the live vision of Taj Mahal. This majestic wonder of the world took my breath away when I saw it for the first time a year ago. Even the best picture in the world can never do justice to this masterpiece. For anyone who has seen it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There is something magical, deeply spiritual and supernatural about being in it's presence, bringing tears to your eyes. I am aware that goosebumps cover my arms and back just thinking about it now. It goes way beyond sight and touches a thousand other senses you never knew you had. Go. You'll see and feel.

4. Sound: The dainty knocking of ballet pointe shoes puttering across the stage moves me to no end. In another life, I must have been a ballet dancer. I just pretend now which is equally fun!

......................................................................................................pic from here.

As I write this post, I realize that nearly all of my senses overlap and rely on each other to awaken other senses. This exercise has reminded me of the wonders of being alive.

5. Taste: Masala Chai, of course! Oh how my taste buds have missed me having my own kitchen to brew a cup of this wonderful deliciousness (and have been quite nagging actually now that I think about it) due to this long transition in our nomadic lifestyle.

6. My Love: My husband whom I never tire of (well, ahem...almost never and I'm sure the feeling is mutual) who shares this crazy traveling adventure these past several months with me - the only constant in my roller coaster life right now.

I know some might say that technically we have only 5 senses, but I believe that we have many more to perceive and make "sense" of the world that can be awakened especially when we make ourselves aware of them. And besides, I needed 6 items for this tagging thing so there you go.

Ok now it's your turn. Hmm, who shall I pick as my lucky victims?

Stephanie from Stephanie N Mark
Sireesha from In Every Grain of Sand
Mimi from My Mandala
Lindsay from Life in the Wanch
Mary from Liberty for All
Brie from John & The Girls

The Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
and I'm adding another rule:
7. If you don't want to do this, then don't. I won't hold it against you! It's just for fun. =)

Enjoy the journey!