Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Travel? Someone once asked me

Natural Bridge in Western Australia

Beaches are spectacular in Western Australia

Singapore skyline

Halong Bay in Viet Nam

Halong Bay in Viet Nam

Buddhism is a part of the culture throughout Asia

Young monks learning in a monastery

Outdoor markets with fresh products are all  over Asia

Rice paddies are all over Asia

Primary school children in Luang Prabang, Cambodia

Sunset in Laos

Rivers and fishing are a mainstay in Asia

Shwedagone Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, former known as Burma

Someone once asked me why I wanted to travel so much. He was content to stay home and maybe take a few days to go 60 miles to New Jersey to a change of scenery. I said that God made this beautiful world and it was my job to see every inch of it!! I do love the visual beauty of it and am in awe of what glorious diversity and grandeur there is. But there is more to it than that.

For one thing, one’s world view is enlarged and deepened by travel– particularly by experiencing new places through the eyes of the people who live there. You get to see and experience things as others do. Nothing was brought home so much as our recent trip to Viet Nam where we viewed the war that we lived through from a totally different perspective. It was not an easy one, I must say, even after all these years. I will be writing more about the Viet Nam experience in future blogs. It is an amazing country and was a complex and wonderful trip.

I have a very strong desire to nurture experiences in parts of the world that are most foreign to me. With increased telecommunications, we are all citizens of the world and I want to become more familiar with the many wonderful people and cultures that inhabit our planet. I love that I have Facebook friends from my travels to Australia, Africa and Asia! I reluctantly went to Myanmar and was delighted with the experience. I wanted to wait until Aung San Suu Kyi was freed to go. but were have been in other tyrannical countries and I had been told the people are wonderful, so I went. I will tell you more about that spectacular trip in future posts. Extraordinary place!!

Travel is, in and of itself, an education – a discovery of the commonality of people amidst great diversity. It is fun as well as deeply meaningful! Travel nurtures me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Commitment- Another Mixed Media Series Inspired by Asian Travel

Inspired from travel in Asia, visiting Myanmar, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia where Buddhism is an integral part of everyday life, this series is entitled Commitment. I was impressed by the spirit of the people's commitment to Buddhism, to building amazing Temples when they have so little money, to feeding the monks every day from their meager allotments and their loving kindness and non violent nature in everyday life (yet they produced the Khmer Rouge and  North Viet Nam soldiers.)

It was an interesting phenomenon to see how they drove in heavy traffic in Viet Nam with few traffic lights or stop signs. No one got angry or tried to out maneuver anyone else. People cooperated on the road and let people ease into the traffic. When someone beeped, it was to let them know they were there for safety, not to be angry or hostile. People are committed to the precepts of Buddhism, to be kind and loving to others- both behind and outside the monastery walls!

More New Prints- Contemplation & Meditiation

Here are more mixed media prints from the series. Top two are also Contemplation but other two are titled Meditation 1 and 2. These works are inspired by the walls of the monasteries and how the monks are sequestered from life, yet very much part of everyday life. Inspired from travel in Asia, visiting Myanmar, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia where Buddhism is an integral part of everyday life.  People get up early to make rice for themselves and to give to the monks.

Contemplation- Mixed Media Prints

After nine wonderfully rich and exciting weeks of travel, there are so many ideas floating around my mind, it will be a while before they all come to fruition. The first series of work has been started and here are some of the images. The mixed media series titled Contemplation was inspired from visiting so many temples in Asia. We spend the bulk of our trip in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar- all Buddhist countries. I visited many temples and monasteries. These mixed media prints are inspired from those many visits and from what I learned from those visits, from what I saw and understood about the culture and people and about loving kindness, the essence of Buddhism.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bye, Bye Barcelona

Today is the last day of our long journey and our stay in Barcelona. To top off my Gaudi bonanza which included La Pedrera which I visited yesterday (pictured below), we visited Park Guell also designed by Gaudi. What a fantastic public space, using fantasy, light and natural resources as he always does-with creative abandon!

The Hotel Colon is situated in the Gothic section across from the cathedral which is a great location for
many reasons. It is convenient to many sites, close to several Metro stations, as well as near a great art gallery- Villa del Arte Gallery, Calle Tapineria 39' Michelle is a wonderful gallerist who will help you find the art you want or the artist you love.

It is hard to believe the two weeks here in Barcelona are over and that it has been over nine weeks that I have been traveling. I am ready to go home, but there are a few things I did not get to do here in Spain and I could use a few more days. I guess I will save them
for the next trip.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Barcelona- Gaudi Territory

This is a beautiful city filled with lovely architecture from Roman ruins to contemporary buildings, but nothing says Barcelona like any building by Gaudi. And I think the Basilica of Sagrada Familia, the most visited site of all, says it loudest. It is an awesome structure and well worth a visit even though it is not finished after 100 years! The other buildings are also fabulous. Gaudi's architecture teacher said he did not know if he was a genius or a mad man. He is surely a creative free spirit. His buildings are unique.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Barcelona- Catalonian Delight

After a wonderful rapid train ride, we arrive in Barcelona in the afternoon and I go immediately to the Picasso Museum. There is work there from when he was 14 through his student days here in Barcelona. Many groups of students visit the museum which is great since it is good to see that even Picasso was not Picasso when he first started painting. He did traditional student paintings- landscapes, still lives, and portraits. He developed into Picasso with time.

Today we took a half day city tour which gave us highlights of the city, including the port, Olympic City, Spanish Village, Gothic section including the Cathedral. It did not include the modern section like Gaudi's buildings. More about him in he next post.

Barcelona is vibrant and delightful city. A million people live in the city with three million more in the environs. Many of them are in the cages and restaurants enjoying life while I am here. I am wondering about the 23% unemployed and the financial crisis. New cars here and all over Spain, expensive clothing in stores, people eating and drinking in the restaurants- it is a mystery!