September 26, 2013

on my mind and in my heart.

i read an article the other day about the cardinal blogger sins. i am guilty of quite a few mainly that i apologize constantly for not writing more. this post however will bring you some new ones. first i am posting a picture that has absolutely nothing today with the content of today’s post. but i just think it is so damn pretty and i took it last week during this one minute the double rainbow was out and i just wanted to share it. because it is just so damn pretty. the second one is that i am telling you i will announce some big news soon, but i’m basically just announcing the announcement. how terribly annoying of me.

in my defence i have been a bit rattled this last week despite the post-holiday blues having worn off. now it actually just makes me a bit sad, my holiday seems years ago. i tried to recreate a few beloved dishes and failed so miserably that i had to console myself with good old pasta, wine, and a number of pecan nut blondies so high i will never tell anybody. in combination with avoiding my yoga mat this has made me feel sluggish and tired.

the content of the announcement still has me up thinking and planning and talking to some people and all i will say for now is that it’s shaping up nicely, but as it is quite big it is also quite emotional. do you hate me yet for all my hinting? i know, i know…

work has been busy.

i haven’t slept well.

i had a fallout with a friend. or at least i think i did. how do you call it if your friend is not returning your text messages, calls, and an email, because he may not like to hear what you have to say because he behaved like a crappy friend in your opinion? for a lack of better word i call it a fallout and it has been on my mind all the time, making me angry and sad at all at once.

i have discovered the bachelor/ the bachelorette for my evening entertainment. and as entertaining as i find it, it makes me really sad that i would find it so entertaining.

my flat is a mess. and i can call it creative chaos all i want, it is still a mess. and you wouldn’t think so when you saw the state of my kitchen, but i actually really dislike a messy kitchen.

so with that said the plan is to spend more time on my mat, reading a book, eating some salad, and doing a major spring clean on the weekend.

what’s happening in your life?

September 20, 2013

angkor what? a story about trees and stones.

so now i was in cambodia and first on the list was angkor wat, the most majestic UNESCO heritage site there ever was. that is until i got to ha long bay, but personally i don't think it's fair to compare manmade buildings to natural sites. not fair to men or not fair to nature i am not sure about. luckily UNESCO differentiates between cultural – angkor wat – and natural – ha long bay, so they obviously also didn’t think it is fair to have to pick and decide who is better at making incredible rock formations.

our group had decided to do the proper thing and hire a private bus plus tour guide and get up at 5am for the almighty angkor wat in pond reflection at sunrise shot. we got to the entrance and were confronted with neon lights and insert - girls shrieking and fixing their hair – a camera. at angkor wat you get your very own customized entrance ticket. not that i cared much at this time of the morning, but i must proudly say i made a damn nice picture all disadvantaging factors considered.
what nobody told us was that in rainy season there is no guarantee for clear skies in the morning (the fact that monsoon rain comes only in short bursts and early evenings is an urban legend told to lure tourists to come in summer) and therefore no guarantee for a visible sunrise. we sat on old stones and waited and waited and all of a sudden it was light, but there were only clouds to now see and we all felt a bit cheated. no money back guarantee either and the pond view was actually much nicer a couple of hours later when almost everybody else had gone off for breakfast.
we went inside instead and in lieu of candles i lit some incense for my grandmother, a tradition i usually cherish, but after seeing a buddhist in front of the incense stand chanting and praying, my token of just lighting the stick felt a bit inadequate. so i went tourist all the way and got blessed by a monk with a little bracelet and some presumably wise words. for payment of course, but when in angkor wat you are a tourist no matter what you do.

i have already mentioned that my idea of quiet contemplation and meditation at angkor wat didn’t work out as planned and maybe it was a silly idea of mine to begin with (though my aunt swears she got to meditate at one of the temples!). in reality it was the complete opposite of peace and quiet. there were throngs of people everywhere: travel groups with matching hats and their respective leaders poking you with their umbrellas, families with screaming children (really you bring 4-year olds to look at stones and expect them to show interest? they are not lego!), and your usual assortment of south east asia hippies. mind you i was also wearing birkenstocks and lose cotton pants albeit without elephant print, but so i shouldn't judge. after hours and hours of looking at stones, stone faces, and pillars even the most architecturally enthusiastic person will get a bit temple tired, especially when you have to basically stand in line every single time you want to look at a new stone, stone face or pillar due to said throngs of people. so by the time lunch came around we were all exhausted.
after lunch however things were looking up – we were going to ta phrom, so in other words it was tomb raider time. honestly as much as i enjoy a female superhero/ game character/ whatever she is, i don't care much for lara croft. but i always cared for indiana jones and i have always cared for ta phrom itself. indiana jones well, because it's indiana jones and really if you don't care for indiana jones who are you and do you care for anything at all? and ta phrom, because to me that temple is just breathtaking. it has a soul. at least that’s what i felt when i first looked at one of my favourite steve mccurry pictures and i usually don’t think that a soul is a given for a stone temple.
again reality was different. any idea to pose as lara croft or indiana jones was quickly destroyed by a bunch of japanese kids and the korean police academy cadets because they were EVERYWHERE. look, i am not trying to sound mean and i am perfectly aware that they are probably writing blog posts right now about the masses of people in elephant print pants, yes, that was us!, that were destroying their view, but it was just so crowded. it could have ruined my mood, but then there were also the trees. trees you could touch. trees that were breathing and living and had made their ways through the stones over the centuries, claiming their territory and slowly returning it into jungle. trees that were gigantic and strong and by now pretty much part of the furniture. they are by now an essential part of this place, after all ta phrom is also called the jungle temple. seeing the trees became a reason for me that i want to come back one day. this time i will get up even earlier, ditch the pond reflection view, and try to catch a quiet sunrise amongst the trees.
we were almost on our way out when ash called me from somewhere and as per usual posed for a funny picture. i was unwilling, because really a picture of someone behind scaffold?  but then i obliged. i took some more after he left, thinking that it was a pretty picturesque corner after all. only when i came back to my hotel room and looked at a picture above my bed did i realize that  i had found the corner of my most beloved steve mccurry picture after all and only thanks to ash. thumbs up indeed.

all images by me and my new baby. except the this one above. thank you, steve mccurry for being amazing. if you are not tired yet of stone and tree pictures here are some more:

September 17, 2013

to think or not to think.

technically i am still in my post-holiday-blues phase, but i am taking it one day at a time now and so this morning i woke up and after checking twitter in bed (yes, i know it’s sad…) i found myself with a sudden surge of energy. i not only took a shower and exfoliated my face, i even put on body lotion and drank my green juice without cringing. 
now i made it to the office and now sit in my boss’ slankie as she is away and i am FREEZING and do admin. hurrah for productivity.
remember when i wrote on holiday that i really didn’t do much thinking while i was away. my idea was to sit somewhere quietly at angkor wat, maybe reading my book, but rather contemplating life, meditating next to a monk, and definitely writing down some profound thoughts in my little notebook…let’s just say that i found it a silly plan in hindsight. angkor wat was way too crowded to sit anywhere quietly, being close to a monk now made me nervous after i had learned they don’t wear underwear, and i only used the notebook once to write down someone’s email address. and it continued from there; i was always just in the moment, always doing something, seeing something, and yes, usually eating something. and to my surprise that was delightful. being in the moment really rocks and thinking and pondering are a bit overrated.
but now i’m back. there is a lot going on in me at the moment and my head has decided to sort it all out in one go and do all the thinking all at once. so i feel a bit overwhelmed right now and the only time i don’t think is when i watch orange is the new black, so i have been doing lots of that to give my head a break. what i have not been doing in addition to all the thinking is tell you stories and show you pictures and while i feel bad about it and people have started to complain, rightfully so because i promised, there is not much i can do about it at the moment. i will keep pinkie swearing that the stories and the photos will come, because i can tell the thinking will come to an end soon and some decisions will be made. in the meanwhile i will share some pictures that my lovely and obviously more organized travel companions have posted.

from top:
halong bay after the rain. that one is from me. i am quite proud of it actually. how beautiful is this place even during typhoon season? (and no, we didn't have a typhoon, i just like to pretend because it sounds more exciting)
teletubbies at the cu chi tunnels. of course it started raining the second we got out of the bus. so we decided to at least colour coordinate our ponchos.
that's my "is that really a snake in there and i am supposed to drink it?" face. yes, it really was a snake and no, i politely declined.
beer with a view. almost got police raided too. excitement in saigon!
my milli vanilli leopard pants, tailor-made in hoi an. seamstress didn't even blink an eye when i chose my fabric.

September 13, 2013

yoga at its best.

yesterday i had the fun task to go and buy myself a new airbook. unfortunately it wasn’t as fun as i had envisioned it because i had to go to the v&a, i was hormonal, and the sales person at the istore wasn’t as clever as i would have hoped for so it took forever. no, actually scrap the first and the last – i was just hormonal. i watched glee afterwards and cried all throughout.
at 10pm after i was done with all the crying i decided i should do something useful and so i started to download over 2000 holiday pictures on the new airbook. for some reason that didn’t work immediately and once it worked, it took forflippingever. that didn’t help my overall mood. i thought i decided to write a little story about it all, only to realize that i couldn’t because i didn’t have a writing program yet. bleh. luckily that was the moment when i came across the pictures i am about to share and they made it all better. pictures from the bestest and most fun yoga class ever.
so my plan was to do lots of yoga while travelling. i bought a yellow sticky towel in lieu of a mat and downloaded the bikram dialog on my computer, i packed a set of yoga clothes and started to envision myself practising on a hotel balcony, bamboo floors, gentle breeze, overlooking the ocean, and all. alternatively i was being surrounded by some little vietnamese kids, teaching them tree and lion pose, laughing and giggling a lot. not sure how i acquired the kids in my vision, but i wasn’t questioning that at the time.
and then reality came along.
it started well enough in bangkok where i had made contact with a local bikram studio before and actually found myself in dire need of a good stretch on my first day. you’d assume that an hour and a half is plenty of time to get places, however in bangkok it is not especially if like me you can’t read thai and don’t trust directions. so after an hour and twenty-seven minutes i was already dripping sweat (thanks, humidity!), it was about to rain, and i was about to cry, because i had just spent an hour and twenty-seven minutes trying to find that damn bikram studio that didn’t want to be found. i was about to give up and look for a cocktail instead when i finally saw a sign “bikram this way”. it was after an hour and twenty-nine minutes that i arrived out of breath and by now completely drenched at the studio. hurray.
class was as it was to be expected- a bit underwhelming; after an hour and twenty-nine minutes i guess i really needed bikram himself to be there or for them to throw confetti at me for making it in time or something. nevertheless i got my stretch and thanks to the teacher took the boat back to my guest house which was awesome.
  • after that my yoga practise became even trickier and i could give you some excuses why i was so lazy for a month because of it, but actually i have solid, good reasons: 
  • a sticky towel only sticks on a mat. it doesn’t stick on any other surfaces, something that i wasn’t aware of before i bought it.
  • a sticky towel doesn’t substitute a mat. comfort wise you may as well be rolling around practising on a bare floor.
  • most 1 or 2 star hotels don’t have balconies overlooking the ocean.
  • people look strangely at you if you stick your tongue out at their kids. try to explain that you weren’t being impolite, but wanted to do yoga with their kids is hard in vietnamese.
  • whenever there was time for yoga, there was also time for beer.
  • drinking beer makes you less sticky than doing yoga.

so it should come as no surprise that the only sort of yoga class happened after two beers, on a junk boat, in swimsuits with more laughter than proper breathing. mind you, it was one of the best (and nobody pulled a hamstring or went overboard which always makes for a successful class!)
sorry no editing, no out-takes - they were all just too awesome:

September 9, 2013

between worlds.

i have almost been back home for a week. it feels like forever and like i just got off the plane at the same time.

i don’t have proper post-holiday blues, but i’m not really here either.

 i’m still so cold all the time and yesterday i complained about my melissa’s cappuccino for 10 minutes. what is the point of drinking coffee without any sweet condensed milk?

my first yoga classes teaching were lovely, but i just want to stick my tongue out at my own mat.

some of my friends were incredibly sweet and welcoming, but i also had an incident with someone i deeply care about that had me work on my don’t judge other people skills overtime.

when i was away coming home seemed wonderful. now being home is just okay.

my aunt and uncle both mentioned that my last posts from vietnam sounded sad. did it? was i sad? i actually don’t know, i don’t think so. my holiday was absolutely fantastic, but i think at times i felt it was all a bit overwhelming and now i’m trying to process it all and acquaint myself with the concept of home again at the same time. so therefore i’m still feeling overwhelmed.

yesterday i took a nap and i had one of these funny reality dreams. boy, that dream got me thinking…thinking and wondering if my world is becoming once again a bit too small for me. not that anything came out of all the thinking, except that it scared me a bit and made me feel even more in between worlds.

sorry. none of this is very coherent and since my airbook is still sick i don’t have the possibility to make it up to you and write a proper travel post. i will as soon as i have it back (and i have caught up on all the series i’ve missed), pinkie swear. but in the meanwhile my first and proper post about cambodia is out on travelletes, so check it out here and bear with me while i’m trying to sort out my life.
mozzies or not i wish i was back here just eating coconut ice cream. 


September 4, 2013


i’m back and all i can really think of is how cold i am. other than that my first 18 hours have been peachy. customs didn’t steal confiscate my rice paper and the customs dog didn’t detect my curry powder which i got for my mum. probably because he was tired from all the fetch he played before cape town airport managed to get the luggage belt moving, you can imagine that took a while.
my lovely friend claire fetched me and didn’t mind my request for a bottle of red wine to be brought to me upon arrival. in fact she had put two bottles in my house and cheese crackers and chocolate and roses and gotten my solar powered fairy lights to work and back up on my balcony. she also took me grocery shopping and made me my first bowl of pasta i had in a month while i unpacked and took a shower. now that is my definition of a good friend. thanks, love!
after sleeping 9 hours i’m almost feeling like a normal person today and have managed to bring laundry to the laundromat, make a shopping list, go to work, taken the contents of my luggage out and spread out all over my place - wouldn’t want it looking too tidy - and even glanced at my credit card statement, which i think was a very brave thing to do only one day after the holiday was over.
i have also started to make plans for yoga, seeing friends, talking to my mum, and going to some events, so i don’t think i will be too sad. i will miss the humidity and the lovely food a bit, because and though you may hate me for saying it – i lost weight despite eating 3 meals a day and all the pringles. but don’t you worry because i expect to be back to normal in no time as the best part about being home is eating pasta and alphen toastie from jason.
the one unfortunate thing is that my airbook got sick on the way back and has to go to the doctor tomorrow. bleh. let’s hope for the best, because i need to share a ton of pictures with you and stories of how i “taught” yoga on a junk in halong bay, how the pastaholic didn’t want any noodle soup for breakfast, and how the duck got run over by a motorbike. but until the airbook gets better that will all have to wait and so for now i leave you with a picture of the most awesome thing anyone could ever put on a motorbike - the flying pigs:

September 1, 2013

same same, but different.

it's my last night in hanoi and this is not a real post, but more a little putting thoughts on paper/ to computer ramble. i just returned from halong bay which was magical, but today was a just a travel day and nothing but annoying. now i have returned from a fancy restaurant where i went to out of sheer exhaustion because it was close and paid...well let's just say...a lot. i didn't even really enjoy the food anymore and would have happily traded it for a bottle of red and some homemade carbonara. yes, i am this traveller now and it makes me wonder if i'm a good traveller at all. is a good traveller supposed to want to go home? ever? or eat carbonara?
i recently read from a some people that they live to travel. and it sounds exciting and fascinating and it smells live unwavering adventure, doesn't it?

i think it's a load of crap.

i thought a lot about it for the last week or so once i started to look forward to going home. i think if you live to travel then you are doing something wrong with the living part. living to travel, implies not really living unless you travel and unless you are a proper nomad that's just a bit sad i think. i look forward to going home now, because i actually like my life a whole lot, i live it in a way that suits me. sure i also have times and events that are more exciting than any given tuesday, but in the end i don't want to live from one vacation to the next. that's not living, that's sort of just being...
last year i realized that i become a different person when i travel, the vacation me. that was a lovely feeling, but this time it didn't feel that new and out of the ordinary anymore, which made me think, maybe i am that person after all and all along. that person that smiles a lot, that goes with the flow, that doesn't sweat the small stuff. i am still me on vacation, i am “same same, but different” as the vietnamese say. and so i decided i don't need to live to travel. i will be quite alright just living and travel sometimes to remind me of it.  
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