Time 3: Traveling

You become very, very aware of time when you are traveling.

Self took this picture in Cork, Ireland, September 2015. She has walked so far in these sneakers:

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Cork, Ireland, September 2015

One step, and then another.

We move through time so incredibly fast, always in a hurry to get to our destinations.

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Off to Destination Unknown

Finally, a really, really old thing: a remnant of an ancient Roman column. In the English city of York:

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City of York, July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

TRASH: Sylvain Landry Week 32 Photo Challenge

Self is participating in this week’s Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge. The theme is TRASH.

She looked through her thousands of pictures and came up with something she photographed during her November 2015 trip to Florence, her first time in that beautiful city. A picture of a McDonald’s! Which she passed almost every day on her way to some museum or other with her intrepid niece, Irene!

Self isn’t all that down on McDonald’s, but every time she sees one, especially if it’s in an awesomely beautiful place like Florence, she gets somewhat discouraged. Because why would anyone want to eat in McDonald’s when there’s so much (good) local food available?

So the McDonald’s in Florence is her metaphorical image of TRASH.

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Florence, Italy: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

TIME: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 6

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — TIME — is an interesting one: Sylvain Landry had the exact same challenge on his blog this week. For Sylvain, self chose a picture of the notebook she carries around with her everywhere. It’s a habit of hers to jot down random observations, snippets of conversation, names of streets. More often than not, these random details, these overheard conversations, work their way into her stories.

For the Daily Post Photo Challenge, self decided to think a little differently. She decided she’d show the bare, leafless trees of New York’s Central Park, in late November/ early December. What better to show the passing of the seasons (and of time) than bare trees?

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Central Park, Early December 2015

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Really liked seeing these compost bins scattered around the park!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vibrant 4: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

The past week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT. Self has been having so much fun with it. In the past week, she’s posted pictures of Mendocino and Venice. Now, she’s posting photographs she took during an exhibit of Chinese artists that she and her niece, Irene, saw when we were in Florence, November 2015.

The weather was glorious: it never rained. And Florence, self doesn’t need to tell dear blog readers, is enchanting.

We got ourselves a Museum Card (Would you believe, there are 64 museums in Florence?).

As we were walking towards the Duomo on one of our earliest days in Florence, we noticed this museum and went inside.

Now, self can no longer remember which museum it was, but there was an exhibition of Chinese paintings which totally blew self away: International Tour of the Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

The oil painting below is called “Scenery with Six-Tusked Elephant.” The artist is Lin Jianfeng.

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Lin Jianfeng, Artist From China: Seen on the International Tour of Chinese National Artists, November 2015, Florence

The second painting, self has featured on this blog before. It is by Liu Kongxi: “Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18):

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“Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18)” by Liu Kongxi

And the last painting: Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

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Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

As Jen H. says on The Daily Post, “Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Self thinks these three paintings do fit the bill.

Stay tuned.

Vibrant 3: Venice, November 2015

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is VIBRANT.

Self thinks the photos below, which she took in Venice in November 2015, vividly fit the bill:

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Throng, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Red Coat Woman, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Sidewalk Café, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Adventure: Mexico on Third-Class Bus with Roommate Sachiko

Self was a grad student at Stanford.

Her roommate was an Anthropology grad student named Sachiko Hayashida. (She has tried many times to find Sachiko. She has googled “Sachiko Hayashida” and found a few who teach in Japanese universities and fired off letters. The letters always come back with a note: I am not that Sachiko Hayashida)

Sachiko and self decided to spend two weeks traveling around Mexico.

Sachiko was responsible for drawing up the itinerary. Self’s only responsibility was to keep up.

Sachiko had undertaken many trips by herself. Not self. This was self’s first travel adventure.

We ended up fighting. A lot.

Sachiko had to be carried on the plane on a stretcher at the very end. She had Montezuma’s Revenge.

One of our most memorable trips was from Mexico City to Merida by third-class bus. Once we arrived in Merida, we searched all over the city for a vegan restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet. The name was Sergeant Pepper’s.

We finally found someone who said, “Ah! You are looking for Sarhento Pimiento!”

Of course! Sarhento Pimiento! Why had we wandered all over Merida looking for SERGEANT PEPPER?

One of the most memorable excursions we made while in Merida was to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We took a public bus, and it dropped us off at the side of the road at 4 a.m.

Self frankly thought Sachiko was crazy, but at 7 a.m., when Chichen Itza began to receive its swarm of tourists, self thought Sachiko was brilliant. Because no one else was in the ruins at 4 a.m. (Of course, it wasn’t safe. But we were 22. We weren’t thinking of safe) We were thrashing around, avoiding lizards — some extremely large — and what-not, when we suddenly came to a large clearing, raised our eyes and YOWZA! A temple!

Afterwards, self read to Sachiko from a book she’d picked up from the Stanford Bookstore: World of the Maya by Victor W. Von Hagen.

She has it with her now, in Mendocino.

P. 12:

The Maya have been characterized as “The Intellectuals of the New World” because of their highly developed calendrics, their glyph-writing, and the ornamental complexity of their architecture. They were unique in their culture; pacific, they fought few wars; they viewed life from their jungle fastness with Olympian detachment, working out complicated calendric inscriptions that could push their history back to 23,040,000,000 days.

You need a lot of undisturbed time (i.e. peace) to be that focused on a task that complicated, self figures.

The irony is not lost on self, that one of the first widely-read accounts of the Mayan civilization was William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, who made a hero out of Francisco Pizarro, “a man who couldn’t even read his own name . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Regarding Travel Writing (And Self Sincerely Enjoyed Teaching It Last Weekend)

This past weekend, self taught her second travel writing workshop at the Mendocino Art Center, where she also taught last year.

It was an exciting weekend, with participants writing about Grenada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Nepal, the Dominican Republic, New York City (just to name a few).

Self does really love teaching this workshop.

How else would she learn that Vegemite tastes like “dirty socks” or that New Zealand’s national candy is something called a chocolate fish? How else would she learn about Pascal’s pineapple lumps (in New Zealand) or about “contracepting elephants” or about “wild game sausage” or that there are hop-on/hop-off buses in Uganda? Or about the delayed reaction time to sand fly bites? Or about Burmese sunblocks made from ground tree bark?

Anyhoo, she used the Best American Travel Writing anthologies for prompts. The 2013 edition was edited by Elizabeth Gilbert and here’s what she says about travel writing in her introduction:

  1. There is no story in the world so marvelous that it cannot be told boringly.
  2. There is no story in the world so boring that it cannot be told marvelously.

Isn’t that such a neat quote?

Self’s next class at the Mendocino Art Center is:

ONE STORY SIX WAYS

Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6 -7, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Mendocino Art Center
Tuition: $200

To enroll online, go here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Personal Bookshelf in the Mendocino Apartment

Writers travel with a lot of books. Self is amazed at how many she ends up bringing with her.

She’s been in Mendocino most of January. Here’s her stash:

  • Of course, Miguel Hernandez, in the translation by Don Share
  • World of the Maya, by Victor W. Von Hagen, the copy she had with her at 21, when she and her roommate, Sachiko, an anthropology major, rode the third-class public bus from Mexico City to Chichen Itza
  • The Best American Travel Writing, 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Travel Writing, by Cynthia Dial
  • Secret London: An Unusual Guide, by Rachel Howard and Bill Nash
  • Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, by Phil Pullman
  • Lost Between: Writings on Displacement, edited by Catherine Dunne and Federica Sgaggio
  • Travelers’ Tales Guides to Spain, edited by Lucy McCauley
  • Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia, edited by Teri Shaffer Yamada
  • copies of her first collection, post-Stanford: Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, as well as copies of the anthology she co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape
  • Conamara Blues, by John O’Donohue
  • Firelines, by Marcus Cumberlege
  • The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason
  • Writing the Memoir, by Judith Barrington
  • Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 – 1971
  • Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan
  • Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros, by Alan Berlow
  • Tonle Sap: The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage, by Colin Poole

Don’t even get self started on the journals!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Optimistic 3: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

Cold, gloomy.

There is someone tromping on the roof.

Reminds self she hasn’t logged on to Twitter in a week or more.

When self has no time to play hashtag games, things are really getting serious.

In spite of all, she faces 2016 with optimism.

Here’s a necklace made by the sister of Mavee Park (BFF in kindergarten in Manila!)

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Necklace handmade in the Philippines; Red Sweater from Dublin

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Mavee throws a huge Thanksgiving party every year. Self was a guest at last year’s. Mavee scattered these paper stars (from the Philippines) all over her rec room.

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Thumbs Up! The Blog Mistress Herself, on a Fast Train to Venice, November 2015

It’s a crime not to feel optimistic in Italy. Seriously.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Optimistic 2: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

From Krista on The Daily Post:

To stay optimistic at -30 degrees, I try to imagine spring in full detail: tiny perfect oak leaves sprouting, bird radio increasing in volume, water lapping on red granite as the ice rots and recedes . . .

So, here are three more examples of Optimistic:

David is about to slay Goliath. Self would say that’s being VERY optimistic.

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Michelangelo’s David: Saw it for the first time, November 2015. (Look at the tracery of veins on the man’s ARMS, OMG you can almost feel them!)

Sign sprouting above self’s head. Indicates the direction she is headed.

Florence was a trip that called on self’s low supply of OPTIMISM and increased it 10-fold (Yes, dear blog readers, it IS possible to begin a trip with low energy and end it with energy to the nth power)

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Florence, November 2015: Niece and self, armed with 3-day museum pass, are determined to hit all of Florence’s 64 museums, in 3 days. Nuts!

Finally, Csilla Toldy hosted self in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015. Csilla is a poet, novelist, and documentary filmmaker. We first met at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, 2014. She has written a novel and a collection of poetry, as well as filmed a documentary on the celebration of Bloomsday (June 14) in Dublin and Hungary.

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Csilla Toldy went over the Green Wall when she was just 18. Here we are celebrating in her current home, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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