My friend Sara and I spent four days in Sri Lanka, before heading to our main vacation destination, India, just north of this teardrop of an island. We spent the majority of our time in and around Kandy -- namely, the Kandy Hills... and yes, it's as picturesque as it sounds.
While strolling through the city, we stumbled upon a lovely temple right off the main street. I was simply taking it all in, enjoying the tranquility of the place, when a woman walked up and blessed me, dotting my forehead with a bindi made from a medley of spices:
I've realized that when you've lived in a new place for a while, things become...normal. I find that there's a shortage of things I feel inspired to write about. Not that there's not inspiration. But -- oh, who am I kidding -- I've become lazy about writing.
Since my last post (a year ago), I've traveled to three different countries, which WERE new and exciting. So, without further ado, I present you with a breath-taking photo log of the Philippines -- more specifically, Dumaguete on the island of Negros. Also, Alona Beach and surrounding areas on the island of Bohol, just South of Cebu.
Duma: Where we saw countless incredible sunsets and I received my diving certification on Christmas day.
Today I wandered into a tiny shop down the street from my abode. I've always admired the beautiful tea cups in the window, so I finally decided to buy one. I buy a tea cup, Korean shop owner gives me a free toothbrush. Naturally.
Other than my mini shopping excursion, I told myself that today, I WOULD sit down. And I WOULD post my Jeju pictures. I just...can't...get myself to write anymore. It's just a phase, I think. I hope.
Anyway, here I go: I went to Jeju Island recently, "Korea's Hawaii." Except that, while it IS beautiful, it is certainly no Hawaii. But, regardless, it was a lovely four-day vacation and, because my photos loaded in opposite order, and because I am struggling to write right now, let alone reorder my photos manually, I will tell the story of my trip backwards. Also. You should know that I have a knack for writing run-on sentences.
A typical conversation with my 5th grade students:
Today, they were talking about their "su-mat-u pone-su" (smart phones) and I asked how many of them actually had smart phones. They all did, of course. I decided to go all grandma on them and told them that when I was their age, I didn't have a cell phone.
"In fact," I continued, "when I was your age, my parents didn't even have cell phones."
A even bigger gasp escaped them.
"Actually, when I was your age, no one had cell phones."
The biggest gasp of all. They were absolutely dumbfounded -- speechless for a moment.
"So, teacha," one small girl in white-rimmed glasses spoke up, "when in car, how to talk on phone?"
I then explained to them the concept of not being able to talk on a phone while in a moving vehicle. They couldn't comprehend.
It really is amazing to think about how much things have changed in only a few short years.
Maybe you’ve heard of Spain’s La Tomatina, the annual tomato fight festival held in the streets of Buñol. The object of this food fight fiesta is to throw as many tomatoes and, simultaneously, be covered in as many as you possibly can. Messy, indeed. But tons of fun, I’m sure.
Over here in South Korea, there’s another version of this festival, where participants are as equally expected to get dirty. But this one’s a whole lot less wasteful and great for the skin, too. A bonus: It takes place on a beach. Sold.
It’s the Boryeong Mud Festival, and it’s becoming one of Korea’s most famous. The 10-day fest draws in several million every year, and it’s gaining more and more popularity internationally. Mineral-rich mud from the Boryeong mud flats is trucked into Daecheon beach, where people can try out mud pools and slides, mud obstacle courses, a mud prison, and even mud wrestling pits. There are stations with tubs of mud and paint brushes to brush yourself gray -- and colored-mud tents, too, if you so choose to sport rainbow hues and stand out from the crowd a little. :)
When I'm not making rock candy and slime with children ...
...I'm jamming out to Radiohead at Korean music fests.
Yes, you heard right. Radiohead. In Korea!
And I was this close to Thom Yorke and his sweet ponytail (he's the blurry one in the middle).
The Jisan Valley Rock Festival is an annual music fest here in Korea, just southeast of Seoul. The festivities occur in the valley of a ski resort, in a town called Icheon (not to be confused with Incheon, the airport hub). Past performers have included Muse, Weezer, Vampire Weekend, Belle & Sebastian, Third Eye Blind, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Arctic Monkeys and so on and so forth.