It probably never came out clearly, (we hardly ever get around to food pics, *ahem*)
that food is an actual driving force behind our exploration of the world. Remember our quest to find Flower Hmong flower rice, or our chocolate fling? Food clues us in to places and to the people who live there: Recent Mexican markets flaunted plump chili peppers of every size and shape, and every juicy form of taco you'll ever want to eat
Other markets we've visited have been
Yes, even its wheelers and dealers
effortlessly disarmed us- and entirely charmed us!
The dark side of the (not so) United Mexican States, the stark narrative we kept hearing, of a murderous alternate reality somewhere in the country, mostly felt unreal....
and even sunnier smiles cushioned us from harsh truths and pushed old apprehensions ever further from our minds. Once in a while, when headlines blared another mass killing or a new, record-breaking murder tally, we'd confront someone - a philosophical barista or
In spring 2016 we wore life like a pretty daisy chain and all nature was a colorful soothing Portuguese cocoon for our Making-a-Home-in-Portugal (mis-)adventures. But in the summer, the daisy chain tore and the cocoon cracked. And come fall, our family faced a new, bitter reality: On October 21st 2016 my "little" brother Hans, who had fought chronic heart failure for five years, lost his valiant summer-long battle for health- and life.
Death is relentless absence..... we who stay surrender to letting go, and put our
I was planning a post called Chasing Spring
It would have been a, retrospectively, funny story about us sleeping in the car in a snow storm and shivering our way through France and Spain to Portugal, where the shivers continued and were probably the worst we've every experienced. Because most Portuguese don't believe in central heating. (Can't afford heating? Think any kind of heating is wimpy and not worth the trouble for, uuuh, just three short months? Or four- or five??). Whatever. Even a week feels too long, when you're
Stuffed to the brim with all things travel-
Joy and frustration and fascination, and with no room for more, we left Thailand for one of our favorite places of all, home to family and friends, to regroup- and mainly, re-pack! Gladly, we came for the company, not the weather, (Switzerland shock froze us with a 30°C temperature drop....)
For all the ambivalent press Thailand has been getting, and for all we’ve learned about the culture behind the perennial “show a smile- any smile” front, (thanks Elio d.C.
It was just idle Sunday evening curiosity that attracted me to an article called Going Nowhere: Ten tips for expat Stayers who want to stay well. It's probably one of those boring listicles bloggers use to pad their pages, I said to M. But it was a bombshell! All the faint warning bells, the unsettling thoughts, the disturbing reserve we'd been feeling this time around in SE Asia, were brought into sharp focus by the article: What it takes to stay- to stay well- somewhere on the planet, away
It took a heck of a lot of coffee time
-and strong spirits (in every sense of the word haha)
to find the love
for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. But we did it. We fine-tuned our attitude, learned to navigate the impossible waves of completely lawless traffic
and to turn a blind eye
to unrelenting touts and sneaky scammers
We savoured the novelty
beauty and deliciousness
Vietnam had to offer, and came to terms with its sometimes confusing
or disappointing, and erstwhile tragic aspects
The Flower Hmong, Black Hmong, Giay, Dao, Nung- magical names,
Our sliver of a boat is wedged between two bushes midriver. The swift current creates the illusion of an armada of treetops gliding silently upriver. Between these islets dolphins play, tantalising us with glimpses of a glittering fin or a blunt prehistoric head. I can hear them breathe- Same like people, the captain says. It feels like some sort of initiation into the fast disappearing magic of creation......
There were other animals too, overland
but not really that much going on
on the road less
What a roller coaster ride Cambodia is turning out to be! We soak up the wonders of sublime ancient workmanship
and are on the receiving end of countless lively Khmer smiles- and almost simultaneously, we baulk at the horrors of recent history and at tales of desperate poverty and iron-fisted corruption…..
The temple cities of Angkor outshone any expectations we might have had. Words just don’t do them justice (at least mine don’t). M’s camera does a better job
With a little cyber help from Amsterdam, of all places,