I’ve wanted to visit the temples of Siem reap’s Angkor Wat ever since I was a little girl. You know, I am a big history buff and I am never happier than when I’m walking in the footsteps of history, tracing my fingertips along the hard, cold stone or trekking through the doorways of ancient & often mysterious monuments. And at Angkor Wat, trust me… I was a big kid again & again exploring the unfamiliar Cambodian culture.
And boy did Hanoi live up to our expectations. It’s a beautiful, hectic, vibrant, colorful, historic, modern yet traditional mix of French colonial buildings, pungent aromas and millions of people and even more motorcycles in constant motion.
There are products for you, your hair, nails & skin, your emotional and spiritual well-being, weight-loss, cleaning & purification, smoking cessation & travel anxiety. There are oils that reduce scarring and blemishes, soothe a cough, for pain, babies and hyperactivity in kids… shoot there’s even oils that promote dog obedience, sexy time, not so sexy time and get outta my face before I stab you time.
I’ve tried pills. Friends have tried cleanses, body wrapping, surgery and countless other things that are nasty, expensive and even ridiculous. Exercise & diet are the gateway to my goals. But living here in South Korea has added even more obstacles to overcome. The air quality is terrible and I have been unable to run like I used to. My asthma (something I haven’t to deal with since my early 20s) has returned probably as a result of less physical activity which is a consequence of the weight I’ve put on too. Don’t get me wrong… I am a sexy woman no matter how much I weigh and I know it!!
The DMZ isn’t your typical tourist destination. Learning all the things that happened there, watching them watch and photograph you and signing the “possible death” waiver adds to the tension. I did learn a lot and seeing it first hand put most of it into perspective. I was shocked to see the distance that Soviet asylum seeker had to run with 20+ North Korean soldiers chasing and shooting at him. He made it but he was hauling ass!!! Nothing really brings it home until you see it for yourself.
They come to wrestle, slide, swim and play in the mud. We watched people just sit in the mud with their plastic encased smart phones, they played soccer and sat for colored face and body painting. I went to see what the fuss was about and my son, bless his 19 year old heart, wanted to see a whole lot of girls in in muddy swimsuits… missions accomplished!!
Two years is a long time to be stationed in South Korea. Korea is a fascinating place with a lot of culture, traditions and people, and that wears on you as an American expat. You start off confused, irritated and like a fish out of water. Then you get used to the lack of salt and pepper shakers, the language barrier and the tons of hit and miss accidents. Less than a year left you realize you’ve had just about enough and you find yourself counting down to your next assignment. Guess where I am now?? lol
Wat Pho is considered the first public university in Thailand, specialising in religion, science and literature. It is now more well-known as a centre for traditional massage and medicine. After a walk around the temple there is nothing quite like a relaxing foot or head and shoulder massage. If you’ve never tried a traditional Thai massage, Wat Pho is a great place for your first one.
I’m surprised I liked Bangkok as much as I did. We did not get a massage every day like we planned. And we ate at a couple more restaurants than we usually do in Thailand. The vibe is the ‘same same’ but different. I usually don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city. But Bangkok is different. First of all it’s in Thailand, one of my favorite Asian countries. It still manages to retain a lot of the things I’ve grown fond of since our fist visit last year. The people are ultra polite, the food is delicious, there’s great shopping and all of that takes place under the warm tropical skies perfumes with lotus flowers and thick plumes of incense as well as the crush of people and the thunderous roar of took tucks and taxis.
The Grande Centre Point Hotel Ratchadamri Bangkok, a 5 STAR hotel in the thick of things in downtown Bangkok with exceptional accommodations, service and amenities.
I’m no foodie but I know when its good and trust me Gaggan Anand is a really good cook. He’s also really nice, funny, creative, he’s the owner and creator of the TOP RATED restaurant in Asia for the last two years. He’s trained with the world’s best, highly awarded and praised and through it all has remained pretty humble. I don’t know if I was in his shoes, whether I could make the same claim.
The Remembrance Wall is quite sobering. The wall is constructed out of beautiful black marble that is reflective. As you read the names, you also see your image. I couldn’t help but see myself in every name on the wall and there are so many. Too many. We wandered around the beautifully carved memorial where more than 40,896 souls from all over the world are carved in perpetuity this past Memorial Day weekend and I’m so glad we did.
The road up to the cafe was winding and narrow. The rain fell in steady sheets. As we neared the peak, the clouds formed into think clusters of nearly opaque white foam in front of the car. It was pretty scary being out of control and my fellow passengers in the backseat felt the same way. We all rubbed a drop or two of frankincense behind our ears to combat motion sickness.