Monday, June 30, 2014

Three Months To Go

Monday, June 30, 2014

I have less than three months to prepare for our next trip. There are still so many things left to do:
  1. File for leave of absence
  2. Purchase plane tickets
  3. Finalize the itinerary
  4. Choose and book hotels in Casablanca, Marrakech, Imlil, and Fez
  5. Book trek in the Atlas Mountains
  6. Book Sahara Desert Trek
  7. Study Moroccan culture
  8. Study the places in the itinerary
  9. Study train and bus routes and timetables
  10. Choose my travel wardrobe
  11. Make my packing list
  12. Learn some basic phrases in Arabic and Berber
  13. Train for the hike
The more I think of all the things I need to do, the more excited I become.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Losing your corememberer

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My nineteen-year-old sister gave me a copy of The Fault in Our Stars, the novel by John Green where the film of the same title was based from. I’ve never seen the movie, and I was intrigued why it became such a top grosser. So, like what my sister told me to do, I read the book. 

Here’s a passage from the book that I liked: 
“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your corememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.” (John Green, The Fault in Our Stars, 2012)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Detached

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It is sad to realize that I don’t have any close friends except the ones I made in high school. 

Was I a different person then? How have I become the recluse I am today? Have I always been this detached from people, or have I just found it easier to avoid the company of others?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nostalgia

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nostalgia, as always, had wiped away bad memories and magnified the good ones. No one was safe from its onslaught. Through the train window you could see men sitting in the doorways of their houses, and you only had to look at their faces to know what they were waiting for. Women washing clothes on the gravel beaches watched the train go by with the same hope. They thought every stranger who arrived carrying a briefcase was the man from the United Fruit Company coming back to reestablish the past. 

 ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Living to Tell the Tale, 2002

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kecak and Fire Dance in Uluwatu, Bali

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tired of too much temple trotting during our last trip to Nepal, we vowed not to visit any temple in Indonesia—well, except for Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of Bali’s holiest temples. It is perched high on a cliff at Bukit Peninsula and offers spectacular views of the ocean. 


It was at Uluwatu temple where we chanced upon the Kecak and Fire Dance, a Balinese cultural show. I read about the Kecak, but I did not know how popular it was until I saw the tourists arriving in droves. 

According to the libretto that came with our tickets: 

“Kecak is the most unique Balinese dance because, unlike all other Balinese performances, it is not accompanied by any musical instruments. Instead, a chorus of about seventy men imitates the sounds of musical instruments, tell the story, and provide sound effects. The name Kecak comes from the chattering cak-cak sounds of the chorus.” 



“Kecak is an adaptation of an ancient ritual ceremony called Sanghyang that was held to purify a village during an epidemic. In this ceremony two young girls would go into trance and communicate with the spirits in order to find the cause and cure of the problem. Sanghyang was always accompanied by a chorus of men chanting the same was in Kecak. Kecak also incorporates some of the episodes of the traditional Wayang Wong ceremony which deals with parts of the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana.”



While the sky was slowly bathed in hues of orange and red, the performers told the story of Rama and Sita with so much passion that I can't help but be impressed.
 
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