Sunday, September 26, 2010

When you read this.....

When you read this, I shall be already here and looking at these monuments up close. This was uploaded before I left.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A day in the park

This wasn't a festival. Every Sunday, the residents of Kunming, Yunnan province, China come to the park to play and to relax. This was Green park last year. I spend a very delightful few hours here. There were amateur singing groups everywhere, people took out their prized cameras to shoot pictures of the lotus blossoms, there were group dancing and even this guy was giving lessons on the cha cha. The many and beautiful pavilions were packed with people. It was so lovely..... then there was a cloudburst and everyone scattered.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am ın Selcuk. Turkey

It ıs hard typıng on a Turkısh keyboard but ı am managıng. It ıs so hot and we have just left the ancıent sıte of Ephesus. I was at the museum to loook at the statue of Artemıs. very ınterestıng. We leave tomorrow for Cappadocıa and am very excıted about that. I hope ıt ıs goıng to be cooler there. We met some really ınterestıng people on the road. from all walks of lıfe. I wısh I have the capabılıty to post pıctures but ıt wıll have to waıt tıll I come back.

China's minorities

While the majority of people in China are 'Han ren' descendants of the Han Dynasty, a vast number of Chinese are not 'Han ren'. They are the many many minority groups of China. China occupies Tibet and so a huge number of the minorities are Tibetan. Then there is Eastern Turkestan or Xinjiang province as China prefers to call it, here the Turkic people predominates. Scattered all over China and especially in Southern China, there are a myriad of other minorities. Here in Lijiang, the Nasi people predominates. They have their own language and even their own alphabet which they call 'dongba'. The official number of minorities is over 70. Minorities are given rights not given to 'Han ren'. They can have as many children as they want and there are special schools and monetary incentives. So every year more and more groups apply to the Chinese government to be classified as a minority. I am Chinese but not from China. People like me are called 'overseas Chinese.' There is a special word in Chinese for people like me. So when in China, I tell that's what I am, an overseas Chinese, they understand..... especially when I can't speak Chinese and don't read Chinese.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The good shepherd

This was taken last year in Coptic Cairo. I tried to pay him but he refused. It's early morning and the tour buses have already arrived. We took the taxi from our hotel in Zamelek. It's amazing what one can do with guidebook in hand. When we were on our way to Morocco, we met someone who knew Sophie. He asked,' are you with a group?' No. 'Do you know how to get around?' Yes, I said, I have the map in my head. We flew into Cairo and off we went, it was the same with Morocco and anywhere else. It is so much fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Orange water

Morocco in Spring time means freshly squeezed orange juice, so incredible sweet, good and cheap. This guy was selling orange blossoms and orange water at the souk in Fes. I bought some blossoms from him just so he'll let me take pictures. Weeks later when I was unpacking I found this bag of brown muck in my backpack and wondered what it was. Oh yes, the orange blossoms....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

World markets, China

I wasn't going to post anything while I'm away, I guess Changed my mind. This was done before I left, the blog has the capability of deferring the appearance of the post to whatever date I want.  I was just thinking that there are people who travel a lot and for extended periods do come home changed and they can't live at home anymore. They end up adopting another country. I used to ask, why do we always want to live in the places we vacationed in?' I guess because we were happy there and we think if we lived there we'll continue to be happy there. I thought that once, many years ago. My then husband and I will always ski in Utah and when our marriage ended, I thought I'd move to Utah and be happy there. Boy, was I wrong, I was miserable and before the year was up I moved back to California. These days when I leave home, I always remind myself of that fateful lesson.
This trip, in particular, I've drawn  up a list of reasons to come home to resume my life here:
1) fund my 401K
2) fund my social security earnings
3) pay off the last bit of the mortgage
4) be with family whom I love and who loves me
5) be available for my staff and my patients and all the friends I've collected over the years
6) be here for the November elections, an important mid term poll, not going to miss it
7) resume the career which I love and enjoy.
8) plan more trips all over the world, next...... Athens and the Peloponnese.
9) return to China for a more extensive trip.
I remember this morning spent in a little village in China. In English the name of the village is 'Little wooden bridge'. After a breakfast of stewed chicken feet and stewed tripe, I jumped into a taxi and asked to be taken here. I remember this trip with fondness and hope to return very soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Images of China

An image of China that is fast disappearing. I told my guide I wanted to see mud houses and he took me here, just an hour outside of Kunming in Yunnan province. When I saw the mud houses of the Berbers in Morocco, it reminded me of this. The contrast is not just the color of the mud, the Chinese are able to build a 2 storey mud house and that's very innovative. I live in a very old house, circa 1926, a Spanish style dwelling with coved ceilings but completely ungraded. I know, I know, there are people who go abroad to buy old property to rehab. I have no interest in doing that. Old property are endearing and it's just fascinating to look at. I know there is no indoor plumbing in this house because I had to use their facilities, it was an outhouse nearby.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We're leaving today

This is the wrong plane. It was a drawing of the Air France plane that took me to Paris in 2007, from there I took Alitalia to Rome and from Rome, I transferred to Air One for Catania, Sicily. It took forever to get to Sicily. We're flying on KLM to Amsterdam and then to Istanbul. I'll be back.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cooking in Marrakech

this is a long video but worth watching, 26 minutes long

Yom Kippor

I'm fasting with my Jewish friends and family today in celebration of the day of Atonement. How can a fast be a celebration? It can and is a celebration. The Pope, yesterday, in London, spoke of Chrstians being marginalised in the world. I pray for my Christian brethren in countries where being a Christian is dangerous.
The picture shows Muslim women in China. While China has done much to help their Muslim minorities, true Christian believers has to hide their faith and worship in house churches. I know of American pastors who has been barred from ever entering China and has had their house churches in China confiscated.

Ragusa, Sicily

I went through a 'baroque' phase in my life, everything was baroque, I couldn't get enough. I made 2 trips to Sicily in the same year, searching and hunting down 'baroque' buildings. I search the Internet for used books on Sicilian Baroque. I paid a fortune when I found them. My friend, Bob, called me 'queen of baroque'. It was a lot of fun while the phase lasted. The 2 trips to Sicily were two of the most rewarding trips of all the trips, Sophie and I took. She's my sister in law and my partner in crime. To think, she would go along with my shenanigans and whims. I tell her, ' we're going to ...... next trip, she'll say, OK!' I remember our trip to Ragusa, Patrizia of 'Sicilyscene', if you are reading this, I wanted to go to Modica but didn't have time. I know that Ragusa which is just down the road from you is very similar, with the old and the new city. It is old Ragusa that is so picturesque and beautiful. Looking at these old pictures again, I think the church at the top is actually a church in Acireale, I'm not sure, they all look the same to me now. The train stops at the new city and it was lunch time and we asked this nice lady where a good restaurant was, she couldn't speak English, so she beckoned us to follow her while she led the way to the restaurant. Old Ragusa is the next hill over and one hikes a short trail, past some lovely and crumbling old baroque buildings. I remember on the way back, we didn't have any bus tickets, the bus driver waited while I ran inside a Tabacchi to buy some and the people let me ahead of the queue so I can procure the tickets and get back on the bus. I've never seen nicer people in my life. I will always love Sicily.

Friday, September 17, 2010

World markets, Morocco

It is a men's world here, we only saw a sprinkling of local women. The rest of the women were us the tourists. Here man and his machine or non machine mingle, horse power vs donkey power. While we are so used to the gentrified markets of Western Europe and North Ameican, the primitive markets of another world is just as fascinating and more exotic. I've had the good fortune to visit a few. This was a market just one hour outside of Marrakech in the beautiful Ouirika valley. Looking at these, now 'old' pictures, I realised that I must return, I must find the time to return. Alas, the rest of the world is tugging at my heart strings....