Married in Thailand!

by Tyler on December 22, 2013 · 4 comments

AliSun and I had a beautiful ceremony yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A few photos and stories to come. May your lives be as blessed as ours are.

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Dear Hani, Andrew, Aunt Ten and Ms. Hong –

AliSun and I are deeply blessed. What began as a hazy sketch of a trip to Asia a year ago crystallizes in a beautiful celebration of family under the starry skies of the Vietnamese coast.

The invitation is a delight.

Saw your itinerary, writes Hani. Andrew and I are celebrating our birthdays at our aunt’s resort. Would love if you could make it.

Our initial reaction is yes. We sleep on it. Still yes. I email Hani, We’re in. See you in eight months.

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I am sitting behind the hinged door on the right side of the 32 seat bus. Friends, family and luggage are piled in as we leave Aunt Ten’s condo in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2. We head due east to Mui Ne, on the coast of Vietnam. We gather to celebrate the birthdays of newlyweds Hani and Andrew, conveniently abridged to the “90th”.

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My head leans against the window. Inside are sounds of laughter, stories, kids, eating. Outside, endless waves of motorcycles and scooters weave and dance the diesel two-stroke amidst the endless waves of cars and buses.

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NARA, JAPAN…

Straight from the mouths of Wikipedia…
Nara (奈良市 Nara-shi?) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, and the Heijō Palace remain, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PRIMEVAL FOREST + TEMPLES + DEER + TREES + CHANGING LEAVES + GRACIOUS CULTURE + MATCHA TEA + ART + VIBRANT FOOD + WONDERFUL HOSTS + TRUE LOVE = HEAVEN ON EARTH

 

SPIRITED AWAY into the woods three miles high…met an ANCIENT TEMPLE in the PRIMEVAL FOREST…to find that I was the only single HUMAN BEING visibly present here in this UNIQUE MOMENT of time and space = FILLED WITH ABSOLUTE GRATITUDE

SENDING WARM HUGS YOUR WAY FROM OWL AND BEAR…
BEAMING LOVE and RADIANT LIGHT from the road to EVERYONE!
WE love sharing our adventures with all of you.
THANK YOU for being a part of the journey!
Peace and Love,
ALISUN TREES

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Dear BANGKOK,
Oh my, how you have you have taken me by surprise. I must say, you literally took my breath away. Not once, not twice, but at least three times. No worries, I have come to love you anyways!

In all sincerity, I feel absolute gratitude for meeting you in this growing phase of the moon, as you have helped me to grow and heal through one of my most hidden and treasured fears. A fear I thought forever outgrown many moons ago, to now resurface in the reflection of your diesel fumes, cigarettes and sweet perfumes.

The mask I brought “just in case”, I now lay to rest. My “Breathe Easy” mask does not seem to work for me here. The one, I researched and so precisely matched for my sensitivities, took my breath away much further than you ever would. I have cried, cursed and glorified you, dear Bangkok, all in one breath! I have come out the other end, though! However, if you must know, I am still a bit gun shy to venture among a wide variety of your most popular charcoal grey painted streets. Perhaps, you may want to consider investing in a few oxygen bars for your well loved sensitive guests?

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Three days prior to leaving Japan, I scroll through the news. One story catches my eye – biggest storm ever in all of recorded history to slam into the Philippines.

Here’s how to help victims of Haiyan / Super Typhoon Yolanda.

In addition to feelings of compassion and helplessness for the Filipinos trapped in the storm’s path, and a mumble under my breath, nope no climate change here folks, I realize that the storm path coincides quite closely with our flights from Osaka to Hong Kong to Bangkok on Monday.

Let me preface the following by saying that when I use “fortunately” it refers only to little ol’ us, and not the communities that were devastated by Haiyan.

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So – fortunately – the predicted path and speed of the storm as it passed through the Philippines, hit the Vietnam coast and turned northwest stayed accurate. My best guess, based on amazing resources like Wundermap, was that our second flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok was going to pass through the tail end of the storm. What flashed through my mind was how a boat cuts through the water, leaving a turbulent frothy wake, and that is what we’d be passing through. Honestly? Made me a little nervous, if only for an overly bumpy ride.

My hope was that our flight would be redirected around the back of the storm. We board our plane, which showed a destination duration of an hour and forty minutes – the normal flight path. Just before take off, the duration changed to 2:23, and a later arrival time. Ten minutes after takeoff, it changed again to 2:43, with the arrival time further pushed out.

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The logo in Thai Airways’ colorful interior carries a tagline… Smooth as Silk. The flight was indeed smooth, we arrived without a hitch. Greetings from chaotic Sukhumvit on Bangkok. Much more to come.

And more posts from Japan coming – just have to keep writing and formatting some photos from this amazing country!

Note on above map – it is only to give an idea of how we went around the storm. We approached Bangkok from due north, not from the east. And the position and size of the storm is also guestimated at best.

Note on the relationship between climate change and super typhoons: inconclusive.

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We walk south, through a city that is only just awakening. The great Buddhist temples are complexes, filled with shrines, gardens, private living areas, ceremonial spaces, blessing shops and food stands.

We enter Yasaka Shrine, then Murayama Park, onward south through the amazing Higashiyama district. Shopkeepers roll up their doors, sweep their porches, stock their displays.

Many stores and restaurants offer one thing. A thousand delicate fans, a hundred types of pickled vegetables or a vast variety of mochi treats stuffed with various pastes: red bean, green tea, chocolate. We sample buckwheat tea, green tea, oolong tea, while AliSun keeps an eye out for matcha.

The streets climb steadily higher as we make our way southeast. Vast armies of Japanese schoolchildren pass in the distinct uniforms of a myriad of schools. They wear bright hats to keep them herded. A flock of yellow-hatted six year olds here, a group a couple years older adorned in blue. No hats for the high school kids, who flirt and giggle and wear their uniforms a bit different from each other and pose for group pictures.

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Autumn in Kyoto, Japan

by Ali Sun Trees on November 4, 2013 · 0 comments

KYOTO, in early autumn, inspires quiet moments of meditation and reflection here in the transition of the changing leaves. Two weeks from now, the city will shimmer and sparkle with golden hues of reds and oranges from the tips of the mountaintops all the way down into the bustling city streets.

A buzz is afoot in this beautiful city. The pulse is gracious, gentle and vibrantly rich. A harmonious flow winds it’s way all throughout the city. A city of many heartbeats, naturally meet and blend together for a well intentioned dance.

It feels if we have been invited for the dress rehearsal, as the city makes its final preparation for the season of the changing leaves. Many festivals, ceremonies and celebrations highlight the calendar in these coming days.

Hints of reddened leaves glow from the tips of the branches of the trees. The air is crisp, inspiring each and every leaf to perk up, listening for it’s cue and divine timing to curl and blossom into gorgeous sun kissed reflections. As the leaves of the trees transmute and transform into its new shapes and forms, so do the people. Everyone is touched by the season of the changing leaves. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes form. Kyoto is a wonderful model for that.

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Kyoto’s Cafe Du Mon

by Tyler on November 3, 2013 · 0 comments

Across the street from the east gate of Daitoku-ji Temple sits Cafe Du Mon, an amazing little gem of a restaurant.  A fusion of Japanese, French and Italian cuisine creates a unique palette of flavors and textures, each dish more striking and intriguing than the last.

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A MOMENTARY FLASHBACK TO KAUAI…

Located at the end of the road on the North Shore, Ke’e is a PARADISE ON EARTH…So grateful for these precious moments communing and being in her presence…What a gift it was to rock hop among her nutrient rich soil while frolicking blissfully in her rejuvenating waters. Kauai is a gem with many treasures to be revealed in all directions, boundless to all dimensions.
ALOHA,
ALISUN TREES

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