In a country with beautiful scenery and a deep spiritual culture, it was the people I met along the way that I remember most. Let these Laos photos inspire you to add this Southeast Asian country to your travel bucket list.
Laos is still one of those off-the-beaten-path countries that requires some effort to get to and even more effort to tour. As a result, I found it pleasantly uncrowded and surprisingly authentic.
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I was sipping my Pink Lady cocktail and enjoying the brilliant orange sunset across the Mekong river over the city of Vientiane, Laos’ capital. It was the last evening of my Laos Pandaw river cruise and the day had been very hot, but now a gentle breeze was slowly cooling off the open top deck lounge.
A dragon boat sped by in the evening twilight, its crew chanting loudly as they oared in perfect unison, dipping their many paddles into the water in synchronous time to their chanting beat. Not far from our docked vessel, a local fisherman squatted on the tip of his longtail boat, checking his nets. I marveled at the ease with which he maintained his balance as he twisted and twirled on his boat’s narrow tip, his gyrations worthy of an Olympic balance beam routine.
The Kyoto Shibori Museum preserves and promotes a disappearing tradition for producing decorative Japanese textiles. On a visit not too long ago, I learned that the Japanese art of shibori fabric dying is to tie dying like Leonardo da Vince’s Mona Lisa is to a paint by number canvas – it’s a whole different world of artistry. I took one of the museum’s shibori dying classes where I learned all about this ancient Japanese technique and also went home with a beautiful handmade souvenir. Continue reading “Experience the Kyoto Shibori Museum – Keeping an Ancient Artistic Tradition Alive”
As my husband and I walked around the Gion district of Kyoto, Japan early one morning, we came upon this colorful couple posing for formal photos. There were about four or five people involved with the staging and photography, posing the couple this way and that, fixing creases on the clothes, moving the umbrella slightly to the left, changing the white umbrella to a red one. Then it was time for photos of just the young woman by herself, with the husband?, fiance?, boyfriend? hanging out in the background, looking pretty bored. I presume this was a special and happy event for the two of them, but neither one cracked a smile the whole time. I sure hope they lived happily ever after.
Please note – the Tokyo International Quilt show is no longer being produced as it was before the pandemic. I am keeping this post for those that are curious about what the show was like when it was running.
It is the largest quilt show in the world. Hundreds of exquisitely crafted quilts made by Japanese artists, any one of which would take home a blue ribbon in a major US quilt show. Visit the Tokyo Quilt Festival at the end of January to see the masterpieces of Japan’s best textile artists on display. Even as a non-quilter you will marvel at the detailed and delicate craftsmanship.
Ever since I watched the PBS Nature episode about Japanese snow monkeys, I hoped that one day I might be able to see them in person. When I had the chance to visit Japan in winter with my husband, we took the opportunity for a visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park from Tokyo The experience with the snow monkeys was as engaging and entertaining as anything I could have wished for. In many ways, it was like looking in a mirror.
Miyajima, Japan is most famous for the photos of its floating torii gate. But this lovely little island offers up lots of gorgeous scenery, both man made and natural. Read on to find out about what to do in Miyajima as I spent a day exploring its photogenic treasures.
With the beginning of a new year comes goal setting and resolutions. One of my resolutions is to continue to inspire you. To that end, I am starting a new series featuring my favorite travel photos combined with my favorite quotes.
As a teenager, I learned about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. As an adult many years later, I visited the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, and encountered present day Japanese teenagers learning their history in this living classroom for peace.
This story was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association Competition in the Historical Travel-Online category.