Click on title to view photo in large format: Proud papa and baby pose for photos while riding the Circular Train that makes a three-hour circuit around Yangon, Myanmar. The baby’s face is covered with Thanakha paste, made from a powder obtained by grinding branches of the Thanakha tree. It is widely used as a protection from the intense sun, and the designs are considered to Read More
I dug into my huevos rancheros with gusto during my last morning on Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Five days earlier I had arrived, tired and dispirited, with little appetite and less energy. Of late, I’d been struggling with the question of whether I should be doing something more with my life – something grander that would help huge numbers of people. Looking back, I sometimes find my life wanting. Certainly, I wish I had been more generous with my time and money during my years in the corporate world. Over the past year, the difficult loss of my father, the fact that I am growing older and achier, and dealing with a world that seems to be in continual crisis had become a perfect prescription for depression. Frankly, I was floundering, thus the invitation to attend the We Move Forward Conference for women could not have come at a better time.
Janeen Halliwell, who hails from Canada but has a second home on Isla Mujeres, started the conference five years ago after suffering the loss of her father, Scotty, to pancreatic cancer. After his passing, she and her mother came to the island to rest and recuperate. “It was March, and International Women’s Day was coming up,” Janeen told us on the opening day of the event. “I was out for my morning walk…and I got thinking how cool it would be to host an IWD conference here on the Island of Women. I shared my vision with my mom, Mary, and for the first time since my dad’s death, her eyes lit up. She said, “I think a conference would be a wonderful thing Janeen – I think you should do it!”” Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: The Chedi at Wat Chang Kong in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is little known, despite its very accessible location at the intersection of Loi Kroh and Kampaengdin Road, near the night market and just west of the Mae Ping River. Pictured here is the white Chedi, however the complex also includes a Viharn (meeting hall) built in the early Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Buddhists earn merit by dropping 108 coins of small denomination in each of the 108 black bowls at Wat Pan Tao in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This area of town is rife with old wats, mostly because at least four were build to serve Wat Chedi Luang, which sits next door and is arguably the most important Wat in the city. Pan Tao is believed to have emerged in the late 14th century as a center for the casting of Buddha images used at Wat Chedi Luang. Read More
Click on title to view photo in large format: Brick Chedi constructed in the Mondop style (left) and Viharn (worship hall) at Wat Jet Lin in Chiang Mai, Thailand, dates back to the 16th century. But the real surprise of this temple complex is found behind the Viharn. Here, a bridge covered in woven bamboo mats leads across a pond, where humongous lily pads float and giant catfish break the mirrored surface to slurp insects. It is believed that a king of the Mangrai dynasty ordered Read More
Exquisite views of of the city unfurled as I climbed the Golden Mount in Bangkok on New Year’s Eve. To the west, the multi-tiered pagodas of the Grand Palace were visible. Modern skyscrapers of dazzling glass and steel dominated the skyline to the east. In other directions I spied the cables of the Rama IV suspension bridge over the Chao Phraya River and the curvaceous Democracy Monument. How had I not known about this place, after so many years of visiting this exotic capital of the Orient?
The 318 shallow steps leading up to the Golden Mount wound around the hillside like a coiled serpent, passing shrines, mist-shrouded statues, rows of ancient bronze bells, and, near the top, a giant gong said to bring good luck to those who ring it with the suspended log. Read More