There is no shortage of beautiful Temples in Nan. I know I can't do the Temples justice as I would need to dedicate weeks to visiting and photographing all of them, however, a few of the Temples that I visited include Wat Phumin, Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Wat Ming Muang and Wat Si Phan Ton.
This is the most famous Wat (Temple) in Nan due to the very distinct murals painted on the walls by Thai Lue artists depicting everyday life. You will notice most of the merchandise you see around the Province is based on one particular painting - of a man whispering into a woman's ear.
A historical hilltop temple with stunning views and definately worth going there for sunrise...and sunset if you love them as much as I do! Try walking up all the steps but don't worry if you're not up for it, you can drive to the top and park :)
Or as I call it the "Very Gold Temple". Incredible sculpted and carved details adorn this temple.
Clearly this would be the opposite of the above - the White / Silver Temple, yet again with incredible detail in the exterior sculptures. In addition, beautiful murals cover the walls in this Temple.
Clear your mind of what you might expect on hearing the term "Salt Mines"... and you will be intriqued and fascinated at Bo Kluea Salt Mines. This picturesque village is near the Laos border, far up a winding mountain, through a beautiful national park, and down the other side into the valley. Some say it's not worth the drive but perhaps they are about the destination and not the journey :) Enjoy the "Image Adventure"!
Every kind of salt product was available and all I could think of was how Spas in America would love to have this for their salt scrubs! Too bad I couldn't bring any back :)
Alms (/ɑːmz/, /ɑːlmz/) or almsgiving involves giving to others as an act of virtue, either materially or in the sense of providing capabilities (e.g. education) free. It exists in a number of religions and regions - Wikipedia. In Buddhism, this morning ritual is also referred to as making merit. Beginning at dawn, the Monks walk around the monastery led by the elders first and receive rice, food, fruit, and flowers by members of the community who wait patiently on the side of the street.
It is important these offerings are giving with good intentions, with gratitude; the desire to help the Monks sustain themselves in order to continue the teachings of the Buddha; and an opportunity to practice giving and letting go.
Morning Market never ceases to amaze me in every country in South East Asia. From fresh produce, to prepared foods to clothes and household goods, everything is available. We soon learned it is often more cost effective to eat at the market than purchase ingrediants and cook at home. Many people either do not have the ability to prepare and store food as in a kitchen or fridge, so the market is practical on many levels. I couldn't help but compare it to the once a week Farmer's Market in Los Angeles selling expensive organic foods which I am still happy to buy from in order to support small farms and receive great produce! As far as dairy free and gluten free, I'm beyond happy here as so many products are rice flour and coconut milk!
Most tourists who vacation in Thailand hit the major spots - Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Islands. Suddenly the 10 days of vacation are over and the metered taxi is heading to the airport. However, if you choose to explore outside of those areas, know there are so many equally beautiful and less crowded areas to explore.
I am very fortunate to have a friend who lives in Nan Province show us around his hometown. (Thank you Dream!) The next few posts will continue my Image Adventures - I'm not big on words but rather prefer to show you through my photos :) First up is Ban Tai Lue Café in Pua, which for many is difficult to find but worth looking for as you'll see below.
The construction of the bamboo and wooden suspended bridges was fascinating and allowed for a completely different perspective. As beautiful as it was, we went after the rice had already been harvested so the rice fields were not the vibrant green one sees in images everywhere... I guess I'll have to go back!
The fabric hanging over the wooden railings in woven locally and sold in an attached store along with garments. After a photo worthy walk along the bridges, relax and attempt to order a coffee. Break out Google Translate, you'll need it in Nan.
When people talk about visiting Singapore, I generally hear "there isn't much to do there" and "you have to go to Marina Bay Sands!" What about the Cloud Forest? Why had I not heard about the incredible fusion of architecture and nature with a side of fantasy! This scene of the tallest indoor waterfall greets you as you first enter... and you spend the next few hours captivated and in awe of your surroundings.
There are several areas to explore including The Falls; The Cavern; Lost World; Cloud Walk; Crystal Mountain; Treetop Walk and the Secret Garden. We spent all afternoon and into the evening here and I plan on returning next month to explore the OCBC skyway and complete the beautiful gardens outside as certain areas were closed due to the weather.
The details as you make your way up to the highest level - the Lost World, are both surreal and accurate as you explore the plant life found over a mile above sea level.
Make sure you experience the misting which occurs every 2 hours. Head to the upper most level and after the mist, make your way down. To finish off the night we sat under the Grove of Supertrees in a gentle rain which seemed to follow us out of the Cloud Forest, to watch the vertical gardens come alive in the beautiful themed light and sound show.
This past weekend was the annual Catalina trip with the Sacks family to photograph and support Konor in the Catalina Bay Triathlon organized by Renegade Race Series. 7 of us took the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach to Avalon... and then the fun started! Once again, I'm in awe of 19yr old Konor Sacks who placed 1st in his age group and 2nd overall, and to 13yr old Owen Connor who also placed 1st in his age group!
Konor recently placed 3rd in the world in his age group! No question as to why he is representing the USA :) I know he is grateful to his awesome sponsors Injinji, TYRsport, Snap Fitness and to his team Breakaway Training.
Red, white and blue...and ORANGE!
This is one post where no words are needed. Photos say it all! The Color Factory in San Francisco was truly a magical experience for me. For a Rainbow Unicorn...this was home :)
Pura Vida! It's been a while since my son and I got back from our amazing trip to Costa Rica, and now we're getting ready for our next adventure in South East Asia! We were there for less than a week and we made it count! Zip lining, white water rafting, crocodiles and monkeys; these only begin to describe how much fun we had. What made it even better is how spontaneous it was! We booked the tickets 2 weeks before our departure date. So what sparked such a spontaneously awesome trip? Well, not such awesome stuff. In the first 2 weeks of July, I was told I might have breast cancer, bladder cancer, and that I had Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3. In one week, I had a mammogram, breast biopsy, and cystoscopy, and I had to confront the very real possibility of what the outcome might be.
I don’t let things like this overwhelm me or interfere with the way I live my life. I grew up with the mindset of not worrying about something unless I was told to worry, and then there would be no time to worry because I had to figure out what my plan of action would be! I didn’t stop having fun or working and it really didn’t change what I was doing other than the time spent at the doctor. However, it did give me some perspective. It reminded me that we never know how much time we have and that nothing lasts forever. It reinforced to me not to take anything for granted. Things can change at any moment. I understand how people could see this as depressing, but the way I see it, it’s a positive reminder to live life to the fullest. It’s because nothing lasts forever that we can and should enjoy it while it’s there and appreciate it in the first place.
Towards the end of July, I got the results back. I do not have breast cancer or bladder cancer and I’m learning how to manage CKD3 which isn’t fatal but does require some changes. There is no point in stressing over things that can’t be changed, so instead I think about what I can do. That’s where the trip to Costa Rica was born. I wanted to go on an adventure and so I went! Life is too short to worry about things that truly don’t matter. Think about things that you want to do, what is important to you and the kinds of people you choose to be around, and figure out a way to pursue them. Don’t waste the time you have because the situation isn’t perfect (it may never be), or because the hotel you would really like is too expensive (stay somewhere else) or because if you are going all that way, it really should be for longer (let the trip be a shorter one). Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Just do it, with a positive attitude! Smile and laugh and enjoy all that life has to offer.
"I was worried about being the perfect model. How am I going to look? Old? Fat? Tired? Was I going to be stiff? Could I loosen up? Did I have the right clothes? How should I pose? What if this is my only opportunity and it doesn't go well? All these things had been on my mind. Eventually I had to let go, trust, and realize this is what I look like.
I looked at myself in the first outfit and I was shocked. I had never seen myself that way—I looked hot! When we started shooting some of those concerns returned. I was looking for approval by seeing Keren's face, and even though I was hearing her words I was still doubting myself. Then when the spotlight came on and I couldn't see her, I lost myself in the character.
When we got to the tire place, I thought, "What am I doing?" and then I realized….FUCK IT! Who cares? Why do we worry so much and place such an importance on what others will think? You only live once! I shouted, “I LOVE TIRES!” And with that, I jumped into a column of tires in my superman underwear—with 5 guys (happily) watching…and I thought again… FUCK IT!!! I thought it was so fun I didn't care. I got a kick out of the fact that they were looking and enjoying, and I thought, “Yeah…it's your lucky day!” It was a powerful feeling.
Then at the end of the shoot Keren asked me to write a word on a stone that meant something to me. I chose the word: unstoppable. There are so many things I have done in the last couple of years (this included) that I didn't think I could do, that I have done. I realized I have the drive and ability to do things that not everyone wants to put forth the effort to do. You get out of something that which you put into it. You don't get to be thin and fit sitting on the couch thinking about it. You gotta get up and do it. Nobody can do it for you.
You can't look at the top of the mountain and think about how hard it is to get there. You have to start small, and when you find you can do those things, you find the strength inside that you didn't know was there—and sometimes you have to dig deep. Enjoying the steps up the mountain are important. I never understood what people meant when they said "Love the process"…until I did!"
Hair & Makeup by Christy Maurer Mua