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wander with Jennifer & Daniel

Jaipur – Painted Elephants, Camels, Sacred Cows, Rainbow Fabrics

Daniel dreamed of being inside a National Geographic-type photo scene and so, we found ourselves in Jaipur – entryway to Rajasthan, India. All the things you think of when you imagine being in India are here and some things you wouldn’t imagine – cows walking in the middle of traffic, camels walking down the street, monkeys climbing electric wires, painted elephants walking in wedding parades, lively markets of dramatic patterns and colorful fabrics, ancient and elaborate temples and palaces – basically – Jaipur delivers. Continue reading “Jaipur – Painted Elephants, Camels, Sacred Cows, Rainbow Fabrics”

Guide to staying at Amritapuri – Amma’s Ashram

There is not much information online about staying at Amma’s (the hugging saint’s) ashram Amritapuri in Kerala, India. It can be an intimidating experience for those who are curious and want to visit. I was shocked that more than half the people I met at the ashram who were international visitors did not know anything about Amma or ashram life but were somehow drawn there. Here are the details we wish we had… Continue reading “Guide to staying at Amritapuri – Amma’s Ashram”

Fort Cochin and Amma – the Hugging Saint

Nothing can really prepare you for the first time you step foot in India. You may see charming movies, read books about it, practice yoga – but India is a whole different world unto itself. Like a lazy tiger, or a wild, painted elephant, or perhaps like a Hindu deity with multiple arms whirling through the atmosphere. It’s dirty, it’s colorful, it’s crazy, it’s like nothing you could ever put into words, but we’ll try …  Continue reading “Fort Cochin and Amma – the Hugging Saint”

Maldives – budget travel in the blue mouth of a volcano

The Maldives have always seemed like a fantasy that would never come true. Until an unexpected change in plans landed us snorkeling in the mouth of an extinct volcano with turtles, sharks and dolphins in the cobalt and turquoise blue fantasia of lagoons and deep coral gardens under the sea.  Continue reading “Maldives – budget travel in the blue mouth of a volcano”

270 Kilometers to Amritapuri 

Transportation has been an integral part of our journeys over the past several months. Getting from here to there and all points in between. Some episodes more memorable than others (8 hour boat > bus > boat into Koh Tao, Thailand I’m lookin’ at you). Some too are forgettable. One ride on particular I don’t think I can ever forget was our 270 kilometer journey to Amritapuri. Here’s why. Continue reading “270 Kilometers to Amritapuri “

Hoi An – enchanted water world

The entire town of Hoi An is an UNESCO heritage sight. Some people seem to feel that it has become too touristy. But insider advice recommends to wander the streets very early in the morning before the vendors open their shops to see the the town’s architectural beauty for what it really is. Despite many shops selling the same wares, there is an enchanting atmosphere to the town that can’t be denied no matter what time of day you choose – each time of day in Hoi An has its own personality. Continue reading “Hoi An – enchanted water world”

Hanoi to Halong Bay and back

Streets of crumbling French architecture, high ceilings and painted window shutters. It’s romantic and chaotic at the same time. Sip a vietnamese coffee from a cafe balcony and try your luck crossing the street, fighting against scooters zooming about. Wherever you look, you see something intriguing. Hard working vendors, beautiful faces that will smile and wave “hello.” The most fascinating thing to do is just crouch down on a stool and watch Hanoi come alive in the streets. Continue reading “Hanoi to Halong Bay and back”

Visiting Vietnam / Part 2

  
It’s been just over three weeks since I posted part 1 of Visiting Vietnam, and as I sit here at gate 9 of Ho Chi Minh International Airport, I’m now able to reflect on my experiences and give some first hand responses to the predictions I made before coming to this country. Was I completely off track? Let’s find out …  Continue reading “Visiting Vietnam / Part 2”

The growth and ghosts of post-war Vietnam

Vietnam is not a place I thought I would visit after my father’s stories about the war. I can’t imagine what he would say to me if I told him I wanted to travel here. I just know that he would probably not want to join me. Whether I want to realize it or not, I have been affected by the war and its long running aftermath even though I was born the year the war ended. But the after affects of war are rarely discussed and don’t end when the fighting stops as most people believe, but continues as an internal struggle against the sights, sounds and horror of memory in those that were affected by it.  Continue reading “The growth and ghosts of post-war Vietnam”

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