Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

My submission:

Caption Contest: What would you write?

How would you interpret? (my comments to follow in a later post)

Here are a few to get you started:

I regret not taking the lens cap off.
Dark regrets
I regret sleeping through the event.
I regret missing it.

2011: A Reckoning

Well, folks. We’ve established I am a horrible future predictor. The only reason I went out of a limb to post my plans up is because I am good at following through. I had planned all those trips. I knew when I was going to go, how I was going to go, where I was going to go.

Life has a way of getting in the way. Let’s see what happened, shall we:

Lombok. Oh. Sigh. This one irks me a little. I had an itinerary all planned out. And my work asked me to scrap the plans. I am not angry at my boss.. he did not have a choice anymore than I did. I am disappointed, though, at my fate. Lombok has been a destination on my list long before Bali made it.

Yosemite. This was a conscious elimination on my part. The cross-country road trip didn’t pan out. The moving company messed up my car shipment. I didn’t scrap the idea of a cross-country. I just changed the mode of transportation from a car to the train. A heck lot cheaper than renting a car for the entire trip, I must say. But in choosing the train, I was limited by time and route. While I said I want to go to the Yosemite Park, my heart wanted to go to the Glacier National Park. Anyone who has looked at the Amtrak map will know there are two destinations on the cross-country rail. Pacific Northwest. Or California. Glacier it was.

More on the latter trip in a later post.

I did, however, achieve my dream of going to Myanmar. It was easy and hard. I had already purchased the deeply discounted plane tickets through an advance sale in August 2010. $30, anyone? At that price, it was a gamble that I could afford loosing. But also with an actual plane ticket, it was easier to hold myself to the commitment.

More details of that trip:
Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake
Photo slideshow

Fallen plans notwithstanding, I had a lot of plans that did happen. My celebratory year in review, take a look.

Let’s hope I’m better at carrying out my bucket list for 2012. What is it? Well, do I dare share? Maybe. Let me thinking about it. I honestly haven’t really planned that far yet. Any suggestions?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

No single picture can fully capture the grandeur of the largest Buddhist site, Borobudur, in Yogyakarta (pronounced “Joe-jakarta”). The temple, believed to be built sometimes in the 7-8th century A.D., is a nine-tiered temple. The bottom six have over three and a half miles of stone wall carvings, depicting karmic lessons of consequences and Buddha’s teachings.

Little is known about the original purpose and use of the building. But, today, many Buddhist make a pilgrimage and walk up the temple in a clockwise spiral route for meditation. Many believe each higher level represents a stage closer to nirvana.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

Sure, I have many pictures of the ocean and more of the ocean shoreline and gorgeous views. But I decided to put this one out. In Bali, by one of the most popular tourist sites, a temple on a rock that looks isolated on its rocky island when it is high tide. We got there at low tide.. and were disgusted by the sheer amount of garbage lying around. The ocean is an integral component of the Earth. It is home to much of life. And it is the source of livelihood to many humans. But it is only as good as we are to it. It could have a beautiful view and a shot, but we ruined it ourselves. Shame on us.

2011: Glimpse into the future (planning)

OK folks.. I’m going to break out of my normal mode for a bit. I’ll announce where I intend to hit this year for my travels.. so you then can hit on me to blog about those trips.

Three places I want to go to:
Lombok: I love Indonesia. I find the people genuine and open. And openly curious. It is the one non-English country where I find myself being engaged in most conversations with locals. They want to know about me but not just “where you come from?” but what I do, what I like, what I am.  And they are as willing to reciprocate, talking frankly about their family, their lives. Yet, their questions are friendly, not intrusive. I haven’t been to Indonesia in a while. It’s time to go back.

Myanmar: I don’t make this choice lightly. I waited a long time before adding this to my list of destination. I have mixed feelings. I don’t want to support the military junta. And I do worry about the wisdom of my visiting the country. Ultimately, I decided not to open the door of choosing destinations based on politics. Safety is utmost priority but beyond that I want to simply see the world.

Yosemite Park: This one isn’t just Yosemite exclusively. I realised, upon moving and traveling abroad, how shamefully little of the grand ol’ USA I have actually seen. I finally visited Yellowstone last year- er, the year before last now. I grew up just outside the Freedom Trail and never traveled the route in its entirety.  It’s time to reacquaint and acquaint myself with my heritage. What better way to do so than take a cross-country road trip, hitting the major national parks?

Well, folks, that’s a quick view into what I hope to accomplish in the first half of 2011. Yep, just the first half. There are so many other places I intend to hit in the latter half but I haven’t planned that far ahead. The fact that I even have this much planned is already startling and out of character for me. Now, you can hold me accountable to tell you about those places.

Happy New Year, everyone. So, what do you have in store for your year?


Perhaps one of the coolest places I had the opportunity to venture off to amidst my many work trips in the region is Borobudur, a Buddhist relic in the now Muslim country of Indonesia. Built in the 8th and 9th centuries, this shrine is old. I mean OLD. But obviously very much reconstructed by modern restoration, given the smooth and finished quality of most of the stones, although they haven’t gotten around to the re-heading the mostly decapitated Buddha statues. I’m willing to wager those almost 500-strong heads were largely pilfered and probably floating around the world hidden or mistaken as cheap stone antique imitations.

Borobudur is enormous. Back then, the Asians in the region were tiny. More so than now. How they climbed up and down the steps is beyond me. Some steps were so steep and footstep depth so narrow, I felt like I ought to sit on the steps and scoot my butt up and down for safer movements. It certainly rings true to the meaning to “climbing” stairs. Despite the largely reconstructed nature of the temple, it still retains a strong sense of ancient to it, perhaps sped up by the humid wet climate.