Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gallery of Photos: Balinese Trees and Flowers


As with last week's posting, these photos were taken in either Ubud or Sanur on the island of Bali.

I believe this is called a ti plant



My guess is that this is a bird-of-paradise

Typical bouquet with a plumeria blossom on top

Traveller's palm

Fruit of the jackfruit tree
I have no idea what this is but I loved the rust-colored leaves growing up the trunk
Another mystery tree
I found this tree in Sanur
And this in the beach's sandy soil

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gallery of Photos: Bali

A few years ago, at this exact time of year, I left the frigid Northeast to spend a month in Bali, a place long on my wish-list.  It was my first trip south of the equator.  Korean Airlines took me from JFK over the pole and Siberia to Seoul where I connected with a flight to Bali--a 40-hour trip, door to door.  Bali was as beautiful as I'd been led to believe.  The people were a delight.  The prices were reasonable.  The artistry lovely.  And the food, I found, excellent.  But ... I also wondered if I might get heat prostration, it was so very hot.  (Obviously, my northern blood hadn't adjusted yet.)

I meant to stay in Ubud, in the interior, for the entire visit.  But, feeling that I needed some sea breezes, I eventually moved down to Sanur, right on the Indian Ocean.  All these photos were taken in Ubud except for the last two, taken in Sanur.

View from my hotel room

Sunrise through the palms; rice paddy below

Along the main street

Public market

Artistic gateway

Making trays for offerings of flowers, incense, and food to be set by doors and walkways

Entry to art museum

On a side street

Shop window

Beautiful textiles for sale

Shop along Ubud's main street
Residential area

Food cart on the beach at Sanur

Early morning view of the beach at low tide.

Next week I'll post photos of Balinese trees and flowers.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Best-Laid Schemes

Icicles out my window

You know that good line from Robert Burns, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" (from To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough).  Well, I wouldn't say such schemes often go awry, as the line indicates, but they certainly do sometimes.  And so it seems I'm not going to be away until the end of the month after all as I so stated in my last posting.

Wanting to be gone from here for at least part of yet another harsh winter, I had picked a date to travel when the holiday rush would be over and a family birthday had passed.  I figured if deep winter had already set in, there might be something of a January thaw.  I totally cleared my calendar, reserved a rental car at my destination, cleaned out all perishables from the fridge, notified the post office...

Rather than fly which I considered too iffy in winter, not wanting a flight cancelled because of some storm, I planned to take the train.  If you've got the time, trains are perfect.  There's no having to go through that airport mishmash, or being strapped into a highly uncomfortable narrow seat, or wishing you were on the ground rather than in the air.  Instead, trains plough through.  They soldier on.  They're already on the ground, a comforting thought.  And with a roomette, you have a little nook to yourself where there's room to move around.

So, this past Tuesday with just an hour before I was to get a ride to the Amtrak station some miles away, I had word from Amtrak telling me my train had been cancelled.  I was not completely surprised since they had cancelled the same train the day before--the Lake Shore Limited from Boston (and New York) to Chicago ... where I was to make connections to the Southwest Chief which would deliver me to New Mexico, my destination.

In fact, the brutal cold of this arctic vortex along with a blizzard or two en route meant that earlier trains (on both lines) had been up to 12 hours late reaching their destination, with three passenger trains stuck overnight in northern Illinois.  I certainly didn't want to be in a similar situation where it would be too cold to even get off the train and stand in line for a rescue bus, even if such a bus could reach the train.  Or to have the train run out of food.  Or the toilets and sinks flood.  Or the heating give out.

As one friend said, "On the bright side, it's kind of nice to know that there are some things in life we can do absolutely nothing about.  We humans haven't taken over the universe quite yet."

Rather than mess with the rest of January--or even February--I'm rescheduling for March!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Calendar

Sunrise through the trees

NOTE:  I'll be away until the end of the month and am not yet sure if I'll post during that time.  If not, I'll resume posting on February 1st.  

Ah, yes, it's that time of year when we get out the new calendars and sit down with a cup of tea to write in the important dates, the dental appointments, property tax payments, kid birthdays.  I still use a physical calendar--not an online version--because I like something tactile with beautiful art-work.  For several years now I've received the gift of a 7" x 7" calendar displaying the works of Wolf Kahn, one of my favorite landscape artists who now mostly paints trees.  Trees at sunrise, at sunset, magenta trees, cobalt blue trees, some by a barn, some near a river.  I like the size and feel of it and the fact that it's within easy reach.

So, with a new year, it's time to begin doing again all those things we just completed--gathering IRS material, starting over with deductibles, renewing magazines and memberships, making annual contributions, plus, of course, watching the seasons progress from black fly to mosquito to hurricane to holiday.  To say nothing of looking ahead to good times.  The beginning of the farmers market.  Visits from friends.  Dying Easter eggs.  Getting out the grill.  Feeling the shift from summer's humidity to fall's crispness.  Some of these events make their way onto my calendar.  But many just arrive in their own good time.

Happy 2014!