alilou's Adventures in Wonderland - Rarotonga, Oz, Vietnam

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by alilou, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Your welcome. Such a pleasure for me.
    That monk ceremony was amazing, and what incredible luck to be there when it was happening. We also stumbled into a couple of monk ceremonies in Burma (Myanmar) which I'll write about eventually, and I had great conversations with a monk in Burma, and with a couple of monks in Thailand. It's really fascinating - well for me anyway since I've been meditating for years, and drawn to some of the teachings of Buddhism.
  2. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    I have a new post ready. This one is about a national park near Vientiane, Laos, a quite remarkable salt works, and a stomach-churning market. Be warned :D

    There's also a new post about some blog awards we were given. Direct link: http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/awards-awards-awards/

    Enjoy. Well you might enjoy the national park bit, but the markets maybe not so much :yikes: :scream:

    I follow, and comment on many other blogs these days. I find I really really miss the FSU emoticons. They are the best anywhere! So graphic and expressive.
    l'etoile and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,749
    Thanks again for another great post Alilou! :respec:
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  4. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    For this post. I concentrated more on the glorious orchids; and less on the market!
  5. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    You're welcome Buzz. Thanks.

    Well I did warn about the market didn't I :lol:, but as a friend pointed out - who are the real 'barbarians' - the people who eat bugs and bats, or the people who bombed their country for nine years? I still can't quite wrap my head around those statistics - 100 bombs, every 8 minutes, for nine years. Now that's truly barbaric. Poor Laos.
  6. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,359
    Wonderful post on Laos and photos!!!!!!
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Thanks Kwanfan1818. I have such fun with photography. Maybe I'll make a book one day.
    Laos is pretty amazing eh?
  8. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,486
    Great post, and yes, a real eye opener. Thank you
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  9. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Thanks Maofan7. We've been to local markets all over India and SE Asia and I must admit this was the most . . .um . . .colourful :scream:
  10. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    I have a new blog post ready. It's about a shreiking-at-the-driver terrifying ride in a minivan to Vang Vieng (beautiful place) and then Luang Prabang, a town so lovely we doubled our planned time there - markets, temples, monks, etc. You know the drill - SE Asia at its best.

    Also there's a new post in the Nomadic Life series. Direct link - http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/the-nomadic-life-the-way-it-is/

    No graphic markets this time :D
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    What a fascinating and beautiful adventure, alilou.

    Please, thank Don for sharing his thoughts.

    I'm sure that the "unknown" is worrisome at times; but, think of all you would have missed had you opted for that "cottage"!
    No one can really predict the future, no matter how secure we feel.
    There are never any guarantees.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  12. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Thanks skatesindreams. And you're right, there's never any guarantees no matter what kind of life you lead. We don't really want the cottage, not yet anyway. These storms come and go, and them we're back to realising how lucky and blessed we are.
  13. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    I just published a new blog post. This one is about a ten hour (!) hike to some villages, kayaking and swimming with elephants (just the most fun ever!), and a boat trip down the Mekong to a temple in a cave.
    As usual use the link in my sig line.

    Also another post about a fashion parade of all things. It was a showing of the glorious traditional outfits worn by all the different ethnic groups of Laos - beautiful and unusual. Direct link: http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/laos-part-4-fashion-parade/

    I am so behind lol I've almost finished watching Canadians from last January :lol:
  14. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    You have the most fantastic adventures!

    And that fabulous fashion show.
    What gorgeous photos
    I'm delighted to have seen them.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  15. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Yeah, don't we though?! :cheer:

    We too were delighted to have seen the fashion show - pure luck that we connected with Jim and Lily who told us about it.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  16. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Another blog post is done - about Chiang Mai, train rides, puppet shows in Bangkok and another beautiful temple :)

    Also a post about being discombobulated. Direct link:http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/the-nomadic-life-discombobulated/

    I've now finished watching Canadians and am watching US Nationals. Slowly catching up. Every evening before bed I watch about 45 minutes of skating. Puts me to sleep nicely :)
  17. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    There's a new blog post ready. I've finally gotten to write a post about Burma (wanting to keep it all chronological). It is an amazing country and I'm really glad I got to go there. This first post about Burma (Myanmar) is about the city of Yangon. As usual, use the link in my sig line.

    There's also another post in the Nomadic Life series about becoming undefended.
    Direct link :http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/the-nomadic-life-becoming-undefended/

    Thanks for reading :)

    Just finish watching the men's comp at 4 Continents. Good to finally see Reynolds skate-of-a-lifetime. :respec:
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  18. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,684
    Hmmm... not human beings?? :p

    Share your conversations and insights, please. Many many decades ago :D ... a friend gave me my first book on buddhism (I remember it was written by a Thai monk, and unfortunately I lost the book since). It was, IMO, well written because unlike many books which tell you the teachings but somehow unable to relate the teachings to normal or ordinary lives. It is from this book, that I finally grasped the abstract concept of 'nothingness'. What meditation method do you use, Allison? I don't meditate.. have tried ... but not successful. Too much of a roaming mind.:(
  19. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    I'm so hopeless - I don't remember what I talked about with the monks in Thailand :( We chatted for about one hour, one of them spoke English and translated since the other didn't. I'll get Don to check his notes later and see if he wrote anything about it. All I remember is that we learned the older monk had been a monk for 5 yrs and that he'd gotten all his tattoos before becoming a monk, and the younger one had been a monk since he was a child, and that it would be fine for us to come and listen to their evening chanting and join in their meditation which we did the following evening.
    The other monk I spoke with was in Mandalay, Burma, a beautiful quiet soul who asked me a lot about my beliefs, and meditation practices, but I could tell that he was really hearing me. I think it was a pretty one sided conversation actually :( - I could have asked him more, but he kept asking me questions.

    I've been meditating for so many years. I started just constantly returning to the breath. It took me a long time to realise that I shouldn't be trying to get something from meditation. If you're trying to get something it means you're striving. Now it's not about quieting the mind - I'm pretty good at that, but more about watching and questioning. The mind makes up stories. The issue isn't the mind, or it's stories. It's that we believe them. So my meditations are sometimes just about exploring/resting in the emptiness, and sometimes challenging the mind stories with "is that true?" The question doesn't have an answer. it's simply to challenge any fixed or rigid position of the mind.

    Everyone has a roaming mind because we've all been taught to believe that's who we are and therefore need it to survive. Funny thing is at the times there's no thoughts - there we still are :)
  20. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    I have a new blog post ready. This one is about the truly magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma. It's one of the most amazing places I've been to - I run out of superlatives. And other stuff about seeing traditional dances and local comics. Fun!

    I hope you enjoy it :)
  21. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Messages:
    10,634
    Magnificent indeed! You have a wonderful gift for describing things so beautifully and observantly. Gorgeous photos too, and everything resplendent with colour and life. :swoon: Thank you. :) Just as an aside, a few years ago I tried to swim across the Mekong from Thailand to Laos. Needless to say I did not succeed. :lol:
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  22. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,684
    I tried meditation before but gave up ... just didn't try enough. Perhaps some day, I will try again. I find the 'focus' method hardest. Thanks for the experience sharing. I will keep that in mind.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  23. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Thank you so much for such wonderful praise :swoon: still, it's hard to go wrong when the subject matter is something as stunning and extraordinary as Shwedagon pagoda.
    You tried to swim across the Mekong :eek: Huge kudos just for trying! You must be an excellent swimmer.


    I kind of fell into meditation as a hippie in my twenties. Everyone was doing it so I decided to try it. Then I gradually discovered how beneficial it could be. I think there's been times it's kept me sane :lol:
  24. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,749
    Thanks for sharing Alilou. :respec:
  25. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    My pleasure Buzz. Thanks for reading! :)
  26. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Mandalay! I have a post about Mandalay ready. I had such romantic notions about the city of Mandalay. I was in for a bit of a shock, but still there was plenty to see and do that was amazing - the "docks" (I use the term very loosely) on the Irrawaddy River, the climb up Mandalay Hill, and the Maha Muni Buddha - talk about an enormous pile of gold! :swoon:
  27. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Another spectacular blog post is ready :D :cheer2:

    This one's about the ruins/pagodas left by a megalomaniac king and his grandson, and a fascinating ceremony to welcome young boys into the monastery.
  28. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    There's a new blog post ready :cheer:

    The saga of our travels in amazing Myanmar continues - this time to more temples (of course!), more ex-capitals, a very long teak bridge, and a much longer boat ride down the Irrawaddy River.
  29. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    I've been catching up with your June entries, alliou.

    So much to think about and admire in all of them.
    You continue to share ideas/places I'd never be exposed to, without you.

    Your blog/you deserve all the "attention" you are receiving,

    I especially love Pt. 4, where you were taken to that place where tourists aren't usually allowed.
    Ahh...the photos of that "temple of gold", or whatever it was.
    Amazing!

    I still think that you should submit your work to other publications.
    (Even the "high-end" ones).
    You could fund your travels for as long as you wish to continue them!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  30. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Thank you so much. I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. And Myanmar definitely is an amazing place. That golden temple! I know! Just beautiful.

    Eventually I'll get to submitting writings and photos to other publications. I need time to look into all the copyright issues. Also we plan a book of course - it will be partly travel stories, partly the inner journey of becoming nomads and what that life is like, and a lot of photos.

    In the mean time I'm just trying to get the blog up to date :)
  31. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    I'll look forward to whatever you plan and decide.
    Your work deserves a wider audience!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  32. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
  33. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
  34. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Today I took photos of the front of Toller Cranston's house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico :cheer2:
    I am crazy stalker lady :D

    ETA: I forgot to mention there's a "For Sale" notice on it!
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  35. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,749
    Keep the excellent blog posts and photos coming Alilou! :respec:
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  36. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Messages:
    10,634
    Remarkable, thoughtful, inspiring and quite beautiful writing. I have tears in my eyes. Thanks so much for sharing with us. :)
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  37. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    You're so very welcome. Thank you for reading. I'm glad it resonated for you.

    I guess I didn't mention it here yet that there's a new post in the This Nomadic Life series about how I've changed since we began this journey. I'm assuming that's the post you're talking about. So I mention it now in case anyone else is interested in reading it. :)
  38. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,674
    alliou, you are mastering the art of adapting to, and enjoying the circumstance/environment where you are.
    That's a good lesson for all of us!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  39. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    Not sure mastering is the word :lol:, but I'm definitely getting better at it. It's either acceptance or suffering, and suffering's such a drag :)
  40. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,972
    And another new post is ready; they just keep on coming. We're still in the amazing country of Burma, or Myanmar, either way is right.
    This post is about:
    Vintage peanut oil production :)
    A colourful and unique ceremony for initiating boys (and a few girls) into the monastery - on horseback! :swoon:
    A Buddhist and Nature Spirit temple/monastery at the top of a volcanic plug - 777 steps to climb :eek: Fitness rules!

    We're actually in Mexico. The blog is still 3 months behind :(