Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
The article begins:
To kick off our year-long trek through Southeast Asia, my husband and I spent two months exploring the Indonesian island of Bali with no set itinerary. While in the town of Ubud, home of the Balinese royal family, we saw that the Puri Agung Ubud were building a bade (cremation tower) and an enormous twenty-foot papier-mâché bull for a cremation ceremony for Prince Tjokorda Putra Dharma Yudha, so we decided to attend.
Locals line the street to catch a glimpse of the procession. (Photograph by Lisa Niver Rajna)
Johnny, a dive master and member of the local band, T-WRECK, told us we were lucky (b-ungtung in Balinese) to see such a large ceremony — or to see one at all. The last royal cremation occurred two years ago. Many of the locals we befriended in the diving meccas of Amed and Tulamben explained that they could not afford to attend but would have loved to join us on the big day.
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November 16, 2012 | 10:13 pm
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
"I did this to myself," I mumbled. I kept thinking, "This is my fault. I am stuck on this bike in this heat in Bagan to celebrate my big birthday. I chose this. I must be crazy." I wondered, "Why am I torturing myself? Are we having fun yet?"
George, my happy husband, seemed so calm and collected on his bike. I wanted to be an intrepid traveler and young at heart but turning 45 made me wonder: "Am I too old for adventure? Do I need to get off the road and settle down? What will the next five years bring?"
Certain birthdays give us the chance to take stock. Have we met our goals? Where are we? As I map out where I want to go on this, my sabbatical year, I wonder in the next five years where will we go? For the last six years, George and I have talked about traveling in Myanmar together. Now we were here for my 45th birthday and I hated it. I hated the heat. The bike. Even myself for choosing this terrorizing trauma as a gift to myself.
Who would bike in 104 degree heat at midday to see old rocks? What had I done? It seemed smart back in Los Angeles when we met online. I first saw the Schwedagon Pagoda in 2001 during a 50-day cruise from Athens to Bangkok. Seeing the Schwedagon Pagoda at sunset and then at night is one of my most special and enduring memories from seven years of working at sea like Julie McCoy on "The Love Boat."
FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT on the HUFFINGTON POST: CLICK here to read the full article and see all twenty photos!
November 13, 2012 | 4:03 am
Posted by Lisa Niver Rajna
Bali to Thailand on Air Asia
Video: Bali to Thailand on Air Asia
Our two months in Indonesia went almost as quickly as this video of the flight from Bali to Phuket, Thailand on Air Asia! The islands of both countries are so beautiful. We spent July-August 2012 in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia and September 2012 in Thailand. Our stories, photos and videos of both countries, the beginning of our year trip in South East Asia are available at http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/ In October 2012, we were off to Myanmar. Where will we go next? We are not sure yet but likely we will fly on Air Asia. They have great flights at fantastic prices!
This movie is from our two-month stay in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia (July & August 2012) and our year TRIP in South East Asia, see all the videos from our trip.
August 31, 2012
November 5, 2012 | 3:46 am
Posted By Eva Rosales
“Everyone walks through life but it is those who look to learn from people coming from different walks of life that travel the farthest."
True learning for me is something that happens in gradual steps not something that I acquire at a first glance. For this very reason, when traveling to Iran became a possibility, I was ecstatic. All I knew of Iran at that time was that it lay geographically next to Afghanistan and that prior to the fall of the Shah in 1979, it was one of the most European minded countries in the Middle East. Its golden age of shaping foreign policy in the 70’s and its influence during WWII was something I had only had the opportunity to read about in textbooks. I only truly grasped how extensive and rich Iranian culture really is when I traveled to Iran. Far from its interactions with the Portuguese empire during the later part of the 18th century and its cultural peak during the Safavid Dynasty, I discovered an Iran preserved in time, an Iran that warmly offers a piece of its history and intricate social fabric in its people and in doing so bestowed a sense of immortality upon me.
Bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, Iran’s geographical setting boasts of the Zagros Mountains from north to south and its grain and wheat fields in cities like Shiraz. Its friendly population of a staggering seventy million demonstrates daily its respect and profound devotion to Islam in their everyday clothing. For one, all women must wear hijabs and long-sleeved shirts and pants. I, for one along with all the women who traveled with me on the plane, remember putting on my hijab five minutes before landing. At airport checks women and men always made separate lines. For me, this wasn’t strange because I had lived in the Middle East before; however I never had to wear a hijab. Honestly, I quickly forgot that I even had hair because I was more intrigued by sightseeing in Tehran. Not only that but I only ever saw my hair right before going to bed. Walking down Tehran at night was one of the most colorful scenes I witnessed. Women, especially young women wore colorful hijabs, ranging from blue to green and fuchsia. Something that also caught my attention while shopping was the fact that most mannequins in Tehran had band-aids on their noses- a sign that shows just how popular and prominent plastic surgery is in Iranian society. Likewise, the recurrent and intertwined symbolism of Islam is apparent in every crook and cranny in Iran. For one, the color green can be seen throughout Iran. Not only because the color itself symbolizes the power and importance of the Q’uran’s teachings but also because it is displayed in the colorful flags of local elections in various cities across Iran. This further shows how Iran like many Middle Eastern countries’ politics and religion are intertwined and are almost if not impossible to separate.
Look for Part 2-4 Mondays in November at http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/