This is what January feels like in the Philippines, I thought, as our boat motored across a perfect expanse of blue toward the little island of Cabilao. The January place we had just left with its grey and ice and bundled clothing literally melted away.
Blue sky, blue water, warm skin, a thousand dancing diamonds stretched out before me. Continue reading →
It is hard to believe that it has been a whole 2 years since our toes first touched down on the Korean peninsula. In that strange and mysterious way that time has of expanding and contracting it has felt simultaneously much longer, yet somehow contained in the blink of an eye. I love those beginning days in a new place when Continue reading →
Thirty six strange peaks,
Immortals with black top knots.
Morning sun strikes the tree tops,
Here in this sky mountain world.
Chinese people, raise your faces!
For a thousand years cranes come and go.
Far off I spy a firewood gatherer,
Plucking sticks from stone crevices.
-Li Bai “Dawn Vista On Huangshan”
There are some places in the world that just seem to inspire gushing wellsprings of poetry. Metaphors woven together to create tapestries that reveal glimpses of those inner workings that lie just below the surface. Meaning layered upon meaning until everything is saturated and more than the sum of its parts. Huangshan in China’s Anhui region is one of those places. Continue reading →
A wall of gold has been mounted on Shu brocade.
Craftsmen from Wu collect spare change
To pay tribute to the abundance of a myriad of families.
The watchtowers of the city rise to great heights.
The bustling scene is truly impressive.
It is a chance to explore vestiges of bygone days.
-excerpt from a poem on the Qing Dynasty remake of Qīngmíng Shànghé Tú
We emerged from the narrow street where our little guest house sat nestled into a row of white washed buildings. It was quiet, and the essence of another era lingered between the walls and the cobbles. Then, as we rounded the corner and stood at the opening of Qinghefang Ancient Street we saw it: a throng of humans stretching as far as the eye could see. I am not going to lie- Continue reading →
We woke on our first morning in Hangzhou to the sound of birds chirping in the courtyard. I kept my eyes squeezed shut and listened intently to their song, not yet wanting to break the spell, and tried to imagine what words the ancient Chinese poets would use to describe the moment. Is it possible that there was a proverb somewhere in their early morning music? Continue reading →
The bus hurdled westward until Shanghai was just a collection of faded grey shapes. I watched through the window as the suburbs rolled by: groups of colourful housing complexes creeping their way across green. Power lines, train tracks, industry. Even in the mystical land of the red dragon Continue reading →
Sometimes when you arrive at a place, you find that it is full of magic. It is not necessarily filled with ancient structures to be revered, or dazzling skylines as a testament to the clever engineering capabilities of its humans. The place may not be studded with snow topped mountains, awe inspiring waterfalls, or pristine beaches. Yet, when you arrive, you can feel Continue reading →