Wednesday, November 30, 2005
While I was working, Dave has been exploring HKG. Here's a pic of the big bronze Buddha on Lantau Island, where he went today. He also went to Ocean Park to see the 2 pandas there. I'm not a big fan of zoos, so I wasn't too disappointed to miss this. But don't worry, I did manage to have some fun too...for instance I went for a hot stone massage yesterday and tomorrow we will get foot massages before dinner with my friend. I promise I'm doing some work, though!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Even though it's been drizzling on and off since we arrived yesterday, our moods were so relaxed in this little town that the weather didn't matter. We started this morning walking through the Central Market, where all the women wanted to touch my arms and my white skin, tell me I had a beautiful face, and then try to sell me silk post cards, cinnamon cups or tiger balm. I tried to find some local yarn to bring home, and a nice lady took me into the back of a shop and showed me a bunch of acrylic stuff that I didn't really like. She said that's all they had in the town. So I passed, but at least I tried.
The big thing to do here is get clothing custom-made -- and Dave and I got really caught up in the tailor craze at Yayla. Especially Dave...it started with a jacket and a shirt...then some pants...more shirts...another pair of pants to match the jacket...a skirt...almost (but not quite) $300 later and we need another suitcase. I couldn't believe how perfect Dave's jacket fit him when we went back to pick it up, so buoyed by his success, we had to buy more, and that's how we ran up such a bill. Plus, everyone of course wants you to buy more -- at one point I was surrounded by at least 5 women -- one measuring me, one writing down the numbers, 2 trying to find the exact skirt style I wanted in their big pile of JC Penny/Cosmo combo catalogues, and one alternately trying to give me a massage and demonstrate eyebrow threading on my leg. Our favorite shop was Yaly, where Sophie and Vicki gave us a lot of help and many, many suggestions for more things to buy...
Beyond the bustle of the tailor trade, this town is so peaceful and relaxing, with hardly any cars on the road, only motorbikes and bicycles. Most of the townspeople are involved with fishing in one way or another. We saw a baby buffalo along the river -- very cool!
There are also penty of laid back bars and restaurants with fantastic and cheap food line the river and the streets. Tonight it was kind of surreal to be sitting in one with Beatles music playing. It's weird to think about the war taking place here, only 30 years ago.
We spent a 1/2 day touring My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is basically a complex of temples that were heavily bombed by the US during the Vietnam War. These once rivaled the Angkor Complex, but the VC used it as a staging ground and in return, so it was a big target. We were the first ones there to wake up the gods that morning, and the legend says that this is very lucky. Also, we missed most of the tourists, who arrived in busloads just as we were leaving. We got to ride in a US Army jeep from 1968 from the entrance to the complex, which was pretty cool.
A big contributor to our love of this place is the hotel we are staying at, Hoi An Life Resort. It is definitely fancy, but so well-integrated into the environment that it doesn't feel removed from the town or country like a lot of upscale hotels in SE Asia do. I think it is my favorite hotel ever. Maybe I'm a little biased because we got a free welcome 1 hour hand and sole massage.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
They grow the cutest kids in the world (besides Sam) here. Besides being incredibly beautiful, this is an extremley poor country with an unfortunate recent past, a point driven further home by our tour guide in the war museum, who had been shot so many times and stepped on more land mines than I can remember -- he literally let us feel the shrapnel in his arm, he was missing a leg, blind in an eye -- his wife, father, mother, sister, brother, etc. were killed during the Khmer Rouge reign...and yet he was so gracious to show us around the weapons that had inflicted these tragedies on him and his loved ones. I can't even imagine...this year alone, in the Siem Reap region, 29 people were injured or killed by mines. It's just crazy.
But I don't mean to be overly depressing, because there are so many beautiful things about this country, including its people. All the children must study a language in school, and many of them choose English -- so Dave and I were privileged to spend a bit of time climbing after some creative and imaginative mini tour guides slightly off the main path near the temples, as they gave us their own version of history. And it was delightful to share some chewing gum with these little kids at Angkor Wat.
Right now we're in Hoi An, Vietnam, in an incredibly cute town which we are looking foward to seeing in the daylight. Sorry for my lack of clarity and lucidity in reflection, but the Tiger Beer is embarrassingly cheap. More later...
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Tomorrow we leave for Siem Reap, Cambodia, and then after a few days onto Hoi An, Vietnam, before returning to Hong Kong again for some business. Dave, luckily, has 2 straight weeks off!
Before we left we had to of course visit Sam & her family, after we dropped off the kitties at my parents' place. Tell me this isn't the cutest baby you've ever seen!
I'll try to post on our adventures, but maybe not until next week.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
On Saturday my freshly-married friends Cherisse & Steve had us over to their place in da Bronx for dinner and a raucous game of Beyond Balderdash with Jen and Joel. And the Irish defeated Navy for the 42nd straight time. I fear the winning streak is going to end when we least expect it, like next year...
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The Greta poncho is really growing, and I love working with the yarn. I was secretly pleased at SnB on Tuesday when some random customer at The Point wanted to know where she could get my yarn. I think it's lovely, too!
I finally got my labels from Heirloom Labels, aren't they cute? I can't wait to apply them to my handmade goods.
In other big news, I had a little Soap and Knit party on Monday night to watch the debut of our SnB friend Nicole Forester as Cassie on Guiding Light. It was pretty cool to see someone we knew on the soaps! And we also found out that the fabulous Heather got a book contract to write a knitting book. I'm so proud of her, because she is awesome!
And that's all for now, folks!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Despite the fact that our flights got messed up and we ended up renting a car in Pittsburgh and driving home, arriving at 5AM, it was a grand old time. And don't worry, KNIT HAPPENED, but that update will come later as I'm running late for a meeting now. I will leave you with a cute pic of my guru wearing the Wavy Scarf birthday present. That's me with her and Renee, a guru of another sort -- she recently had an article and recipes published in Cooking Light, and I'm so proud of her!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
What more fitting gift for a knitting guru than something handmade? Voila, the Wavy Scarf from Knitty! Maybe Red will send me a pic of her actually wearing it, for blog viewers pleasure.