This afternoon, I happened upon a lovely blog, The Daily Bubble Tea. I loved his photos and reading about his expat adventures in Taiwan. And I decided to steal his idea of sharing monthly Instagram pictures. Enjoy a few of The Simple Adventure’s square shots from February. Instagram @thesimpleadventure. Just click on the photo if you want more info.
A very special post written by TSA’s other half…
Thailand – a great escape from the long winter in Shenyang. For one of us, it was a chance to experience what we had heard about the golf, กอล์ฟ, in Thailand.
Thailand has a reputation as a top golf destination in Asia, and this is well deserved. The golf courses are numerous, well maintained, and inexpensive compared to similar quality courses elsewhere. The service is top notch, with locker rooms, showers, and great caddies. You can even have your golf shoes cleaned after the round.
There were four of us golfing, all Michelin expats in Asia, from Shenyang, Shanghai, and Bangkok. We played 4 times during the week, at the following courses:
Chiangmai Highlands Golf Resort (http://www.chiangmaihighlands.com/golf/) – A Schmidt-Curley designed course with great views of the surrounding mountains, and all manners of trouble for even a mildly errant shot. The greens were rocket fast. Beautiful, but deadly!
Lam Luk Ka Country Club (http://lamlukkacc.com/) – A Roger Packard design with 36 holes bringing a lot of water into play. It has hosted professional golf events in the past and is still an Asian Tour Q-School site. You are assigned by the Starter to play 2 of the nines. With repeated visits, you would play the course 12 different ways.
Summit Windmill (http://www.summitwindmillgolfclub.com/) – This course was designed by Nick Faldo, and another one with plenty of water. Amazing (read “expensive”) houses were visible along some of the fairways. This course was definitely an exercise in risk-reward.
The Pine Golf & Lodge (http://www.thepinegolf.com/) – Since our departing flight was Saturday evening, we decided to add this 4th round on Saturday morning. This course is one step below the other 3, but it’s still a great course, a good choice as an “every weekend” place to play.
Check out a few of my favorite photos from the week.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
And then the wall rose,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Sometimes when we travel, I wonder if it will be a once in a lifetime trip. There are so many places to see with what time we have. Should it always be somewhere new, or shall we make a choice to see the familiar once again? As we prepared for Tibet, and one does prepare for a trip like this, I wondered if it would be our only chance. So we made the most of it, as always, enjoying every simple, adventurous moment. And when it was done, my wonder changed. I wondered when we’d be back.
After our return, several friends and family members have asked how it was. I used the familiar “amazing” to describe the experience. But, truly, I am not quite ready to put my answer into words. It is a feeling. Amazement, fascination, calm, wonder. Tibet is a beautiful feeling.
I am happy to share just a few images of wonder. I’m sure there will be more.
It was one of those perfect travel days. I spent a morning at the Panjiayuan Market in Beijing. I thought I might find some pottery, beads, one of those puzzle locks. I had no idea of the beautiful treasures I would see. If you like wandering and flea markets, you’ll love this visit. Take the bus or the metro to Panjiayuan at the south end of the Chaoyang District. It opens at 8:30am, so you can wander all morning or all day.
In the end, I only bought some tiny glass blown eggs and an embroidered strap, all because the older women sellers were too sweet and too cute to resist.
Turns out the treasure was found in the moments, the sights, the wander, not in things.
Sometimes, I like to be on the outside looking in. Or rather, looking in at them while they are looking out. The window people. Those in doorways or sitting on porches. They’re looking out at the world, the start of a new day, or the end of one. They are contemplating, people watching, working things out, watching in the hope of seeing something worth seeing. They are beginning.
I am them. I stand at a window looking out at the busy streets. I am reminded of where I live, which is strange because how could I forget. I watch, contemplate, smile, wonder, and always see something worth seeing.
When I photograph a stranger at the window, I wonder what they are thinking. I invade their privacy for a brief snap, not to offend, but because they are worth seeing. If they catch me, I smile and hope they smile back. The photo may be blurry, or something else in focus. But I remember that I’m not a photographer, I’m a traveler in the moment, seeing what I see.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Flowers and animals make me happy. The pop of color on green leaves. Cows. Fruit on a tree. A perfect palm on the shore. A cat in the sun. Even a bare tree lightly dusted in snow. These things make me love life and remember how lucky I am to live mine. And as we enter our third month of winter here in Shenyang, I’m missing those little pops of color.
On a recent trip to Vietnam, where all things were in bloom around us, I smiled at the random flowers on the side of the road, each of the palms in view, chomping cows and sunning crocodiles. On every trip we make, and every day I step outside in familiar surroundings too, I search for beauty in trees, flowers, animals, nature. It makes me smile. So let me share a few smiles with you.
We had the great fortune to travel to Vietnam a few weeks ago. We spent 10 days in Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta and Mui Ne. We kicked off our trip in the crazy, beautiful HCMC; home to 9 million people, and 5 million motorbikes. It is one of the craziest cities we’ve ever been in, and one of the most beautiful. It was only surpassed by the beauty of the river towns and the delta, and a few calm, peaceful days at Mui Ne.
For me, Vietnam was a trip of feeling. It was the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and more in such an amazing country that has been through so much. So I give you some of the sights and stories in these photos. And a wonderful phrase that I hope to remember every day of my lucky life.
I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh
Today, we finally chose a picture to send into the Purdue Alumnus magazine (https://www.purduealumni.org/alumnus/), hoping to show off our world travels. This is what I submitted to them and the President’s Council this morning, which inspired me to share it here, and a few more pictures of our Sarangkot experience.