Tag Archives: travel

Weekend Warrior: Chihuly Nights

There are some places in this city that are pure magic. The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx is one. And this spring they are hosting “Chihuly Nights,” a twilight evening series with live music and an illumination of Dale Chihuly’s glass exhibition.

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Nightfall and the first installation I see is a blue stone glass sculpture in front of the library. The idyllic scene calls to mind the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Fontaine de l’Observatoire in Paris.

On the main pathway, I come across a starburst sea urchin of blue and white. Against the night sky, suspended in mid-air, the early summer fireflies weave amid the crystal stems, bringing to mind fairies and nymphs.

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Nearer to the Visitor’s Center there is a pond of red reeds embedded in an oak tree. To my eye they resemble blood-red pitchforks, or even spears, protecting earthlings in an apocalyptic dystopian land. Although, I think I may be overdoing it on the Supergirl binge watching.

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The sunset melts away, and a chill settles in. The last pieces I see are ectoplasmic and alien-like dangling from the ceiling. A vibrant yellow-green sure to give Crayola a run for its money, and a doodle octopus in shades of purple and blue.

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Once I get home, I quickly fall asleep, and dream of far-off galaxies deep within the Milky Way.


Roadtrippin’ with Finn

Tonight Finn and I make our way to Jersey City. It’s his first road trip and sleepover.

Chester and I are traveling to visit his family in Western PA, and rather than leave Finn alone with a catsitter he’s staying at the loft with Andy.

I’ve been harness-training him in anticipation of the big adventure. This is a progressive measure since our last outing when Finn frantically attempted to dig his way out of his plastic carrier.

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Since our arrival, he’s been hiding under the bed but I’ve no doubt he and Andy will become fast friends over the next few days.

 


every day is a journey

Can you imagine traveling for a living? Or at least writing/shooting pictures for a living while traveling (or vice versa)? It’s something I’ve heard other people succeed at doing but haven’t tried it myself.

A colleague recommended I check out the New York Travel Festival this weekend. It’s an event designed for travel industry professionals and those aspiring to work in the travel sector. The two-day conference includes presentations, workshops, cultural performances, and networking events. I plan to blog about the sessions I attend on my business blog, Modern Vintage Ink, cross-promoting on Medium and LinkedIn. I am in stealth mode putting to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years to help myself launch my own business.

I have been in stealth mode the last few months putting to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years to help myself launch my own business. Folks warned me that it would be exciting and scary, exhilarating and at times, daunting. And although it has been (and continues to be), a challenge unlike anything I’ve done before, I’m enjoying learning more about myself each day, even more so now that I am accountable to myself as client and manager. HeartGate.JPG

These life-changing moments are also liberating, freeing myself from the expectations of others and allowing me to be, well, me.


Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm

 

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Bodhisattva/Buddha faces of Angkor Thom, Siem Reap (c) Andrea Preziotti

 

The road to Angkor Thom passes over a causeway lined with devas (gods) on the left and asuras (demigod/ demons) on the right. The gates lead to the last Imperial city, where Bayon temple –most noted for the smiling faces of Buddha–sits at its center. The bodhisattva statues should be one of the seven wonders of the world, the detailed and exacting efforts to create emotion and facial expressions through the placement of each stone a complex puzzle of shade and gradient are truly miraculous.

A quick walk through the Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper Kings both of which flank the Royal Square. After six hours of nonstop temple touring the only sign you need is the one pointing to the WC. I wish I had thought of a better way to signal my driver and guide. We had agreed to meet at the big tree on the crossroads but that proved way more difficult than anticipated at the high heat of the day, especially without cell connectivity. There must be a hundred tuk-tuk drivers under the boughs of the tree.

The last stop of the day: Ta Prohm, the forest covered royal temple monastery of Angkor. Two trees support the core of the structure, the silk cotton and strangler fig species both of which take root and work their way through the masonry. The site is maintained in ‘apparent neglect’ as an example of the natural state in which Angkor was discovered in the early 19th century.

 

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Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat Temple Complex (c) Andrea Preziotti

 

From a photo perspective, I’m not certain that any image capture can do it justice. The natural effects on the landscape are something to be seen in-person. And it is forever changing, as trees are affected by storms, as they flourish and then die.


Cambodia, A Sunset Tour

Flashback March 2016

Tonight I booked a sunset tour of Tonle Sap and the floating village of Chong Khneas with its houses, markets, villages & schools. I am solo, with a tour guide and driver. As we begin our journey, we stop to admire a landscape vista of lotus flowers, a deeply important flower in Buddhism and symbol of Southeast Asia. Next, a city built on stilts, where residents live in squalor surrounded by refuse and rubbish, glaringly visible in the dry season. Residents walk between the structures on the riverbed and build fires to burn the waste. Come wet season the area will be submerged in water, transport accessible by boats and baskets. Despite the lack of many comforts, i.e. running water and plumbing, connectivity and television access reign supreme. Satellite dishes are the highest visual point above the rooftops.

We drive onward to Tonle Sap Harbor and the floating villages. In the wet season, the lake is one of the largest freshwaters in Asia, swelling to an expansive 12,000 km. This is hard to imagine in the dry season, the water level is low and brown, resembling coffee milk. The brightly colored boats stand out a rainbow of red, blue, orange, and yellow against the shore. Tourist boats are everywhere. It makes me wonder how much of this experience is staged, how much of it is ‘real’. The color of the river deepens and is almost black the closer we get to the middle of the lake.

There are three floating village communities. Phom Kandal, is the larger floating village, home to ethnic Vietnamese displaced by both the Pol Pot regime and the Vietnam War. Chong Khneas is the smallest, inhabited by natural-born Cambodians. Motor boats and riggers are the main modes of transportation, and commerce thrives as villagers sell their wares and barter from the comfort of their barge. It functions as any city would making do with the resources at hand. There are a 2-story elementary school and a church nearby with a cluster of houseboats, anchored to bamboo reeds in the middle of the lake.

The lake feels like an ocean, the shoreline invisible to the naked eye. The stillness of the houses on the water’s edge brings back a childhood memory of launching newspaper sailboats on the rainfall streams running curbside to the gutter at the end of the street. A time when parked cars were few and streets were safe from unwieldy traffic.

The sun sets, its reflection shimmering on the water. The houseboats a silhouette against the blue-gray sky. The warm wind rustles nearby, boats come and go on the horizon. We stop for dinner at a homestay with a family of five: three adults, a young child, and a toddler. The youngest waddles over to the edge of the boat and instinctively knows when to stop.

The sun descends and melts into the sky revealing shades of purple, orange, and pink. The tour guide takes my picture, in every one my eyes are closed. The night is falling, the twilight witching hour has begun as the tour boats feverishly head back to the pier. It’s a frenzy as they jockey the shallow waters, waves water crashing against the sides. My boat hits a sandbar and we are landlocked amid the rubbish. I watch the water buffaloes graze the shore while the crew figures it out.


Refuse, n.

mondays and thursdays|
red plastic swirls in the wind|
trash can wanderlust