To take nothing but photographs, and leave nothing but footprints.
Where in the World is Alice
I'm currently in Kathmandu and just had a once-in-a-lifetime experience on board Buddha Air flying over the highest mountain in the world: Mount Everest or Sagarmatha or Holy Mountain. Five days ago I tried to take a flight over Mt Everest, but all flights to the mountains got cancelled. I tried again today and my persistent paid off. It was a freaking amazing experience. The best birthday gift to myself.
I consider myself blessed by the many beautiful religious places I’ve
seen in my life - the Vatican, Jerusalem, and the Wailing Wall, the temples in Kathmandu, the Hassan II Mosque in Morocco, the Blue Mosque in Turkey, Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and Bagan's more than 2000 temples, the Ling Yin Soul Retreat Temple in China - now there’s a new
addition to the list: Rila Monastery and my new way of seeing things. WhenTurkish
Airlines changed my connecting flights to Sofia, Bulgaria to a much earlier time that no
one could not possibly make, I rebooked my flight to an earlier
date.It gave me a chance to explore the
city on my own before joining a group tour to the Balkans.I had another stroke of luck when out of the blue, I received an email from a travel buddy from my North African past two weeks before my trip.She happened to live and teach at Sofia
University, so she gave me a list of things to see and do in Bulgaria.
Another thing about travel is meeting people with the same
The Road to BelgradeDo you like the Chinese Highway? asked our guide. We were on a bus ride from Sofia to Belgrade and had just crossed the Bulgarian/Serbian border. Our guide tried to explain the Chinese connection in order to give us some background of Serbia's complex geopolitical history. The airstrike by NATO in the late 1990s destroyed a portion of transportation infrastructure and industrial facilities in Serbia and fueled an anti-Western sentiment. Serbia looked to the east and tried to maintain an alliance with Russia and China. China invested in the infrastructure of Serbia and became a great ally in the Kosovo dispute, one of the issues being negotiated over Serbia's acceptance into the European Union (another complex issue, but worthy of a mention because it kind of answer our question why the process of going through the Serbian border took longer.)
The bus ride was lovely, with a stretch of green flatlands and rolling hills and mountains. It was an exhilarat…
As I alluded to in my previous post, the story of ancient Egypt was predicated by the rising and setting sun. The east bank, where the sun rose, was the side of birth. The west bank, where the sunset, was the side of death. All the Ancient Egyptian pyramids and tombs were constructed on the west side of the Nile River. The Nile River may have not played a central part in Ancient Egyptian spirituality, but it was the lifeblood of Egypt. The fertile soil along the banks of the river made it easy for towns to form and helped build civilization.
We left Luxor as the sun was setting so the rest of the day was spent taking photos and videos. The scenery along the Nile was gorgeous. I went back and forth focusing my camera between the setting sun’s reflection on the water and the mountains. Its reflection gave the mountains a salmon-colored hue. The contrasting colors of the dry desert mountain and the lush riverbank lined with date palm trees was a breathtaking sight - a scenery that nev…