Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Jewellery

I know I promised that this post would be about the exotic and unusual from our travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – it’s coming. However, I have been so excited this week about the fantastic workshop I did at the Eclectic Studio last Sunday that I wanted to share. I was certainly out of my comfort zone with copper, brass and silver sheet metal, chasing hammers, and butane torches, but I really loved the work and am happy with my efforts on the day. Mary Hettmansperger, a delightful artistic genius was our teacher, whose extensive background in traditional weaving has been transferred to creating contemporary jewellery.

PS: please visit the website of the Eclectic Studio, or contact the lovely Roz for an extensive selection of creative classes and workshops.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flavours of Asia

I often wonder what most people remember about a holiday. In an earlier post, I said it was the 'people", but there seems to be a bit of consensus amongst friends that "food " is definitely up there. Certainly exotic foods add another dimension to the experiences. Yes, these bottles of wine were for sale, and they did contain snakes, scorpions, and other creatures often considered nasty. I did try some, but it wasn't amongst my souvenir purchases. There were of course, other delicious and more familiar food found in markets and from street vendors. - bananas, mangoes, tamarind, dragon fruit, corn, fresh greens and noodles .... and lots more ... anything and everything....

Shopping is not easy  a) when you're not sure of the language ;
b) when you live in a floating village ( Here a woman and her child stop at the local shop for dinner supplies) ;
c) when you have a weak stomach for raw meat ( apologies to all my vegetarian friends)
We ate wonderful, beautiful food, both from street markets and in restaurants. I recommend the cafes and restaurants of groups like Friends International and KOTO (Know One Teach One)  which provide vocational training in hospitality for street kids in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.  
Some  of my favourite dishes were the spring rolls ( especially when they were presented  in such an amazing formation, above) and stuffed bamboo shoots, but my all time favourites were the meals we  helped cook ourselves under the guidance of  chefs in Laos and Vietnam.  - the stuffed lemon grass, steamed fish in banana leaves and vegetables with coriander .... mmm


The next post will be the last about the holidays . Please check back next week to see some photos of the more exotic, bizarre and beautiful.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The People You Meet....

It's been a week since we returned from our holidays in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos and most of our holiday stories are about the people we met...  Memories are about the people first, the experiecnes, second and the places after that?   My photo of  our holiday is this one taken in a small Vietnamese village, where a baby was totally fascinated with Jim's "white"  beard, and just wanted to touch it and play with it.  
The family , outside their village home.
A moment of craziness - a group of young Japanese tourists having a "fish massage" in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Nara, recollecting his own incarceration, and the tragedy of family deaths during the Pol Pot regime, the Killing Fields, Phonm Penh, Cambodia
"Snow" explaining what was edible,  Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Our boat man , Mekong River, Vietnam  
Family welcoming us to Vientiane, Laos in a "baci" ceremony.
Buddhist monks at dawn alms giving in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Jim's interst in trees, timber and sawmills always makes him new holiday friends who are  here enjoying their lunch break at a sawmill near Kuang Si Falls, Laos.
I didn't  mind being beaten in a petanque game by the locals in Luang Prabang, Laos. It was a surprise to learn how popular petanque  (boules) is in Laos.
Dancers in the Palace, Luang Prabang Laos.

Vietnamese boy soprano, who sang for us while we drank ginger tea for morning tea.
In a tiny village along the Mekong River, this young woman was cross stitching these beautiful cloths. I couldn't buy one because I didn't have enough cash, and there were no credit card facilities, but I gave her some money to buy more threads if she allowed her work to be photographed.

As grandparents, we could not resist chatting with these little children and their family at One Pillar Pagoda . Hanoi, Vietnam
Even the young visit the home of the revered Ho Chi Minh.
Patting each of the stone turtles' heads means good luck in your exams in Hanoi.
I must also include some really great people we met from England, Scotland and Wales .... and Sydney  - at "Lara Croft's " temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

 Coming soon in this space  - some of the more exotic food sensations of the trip- watch this  blog, please! There are only 940 of Jim's photos and 480 of mine but  don't fear, I have been carefully selecting some of the more interesting.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Greetings

Happy Easter to all my friends and family who celebrate this special religious event. Most associate eggs with Easter, so I thought this photo of quail, duck and chicken eggs for sale at the morning markets in Luang Prabang in Laos on Friday morning  was most appropriate. Jim ( my husband) and I arrived home yesterday from our amazing, wonderful, exciting, spiritual and inspiring trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. You may have guessed we enjoyed  all the different experiences and I will be blogging about some of the mjore interesting stories with photos over the next couple of weeks.  
Whatever beliefs you have, there is no denying that one of the most spiritual and peaceful places in the world is Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  When I  reveiwed  my holiday photos and came across this one, I am reminded that " Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals." ~ Charles M. Crowe
Keep checking my blog over the next few weeks for more wonderful stories and images of Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.