Art, Culture, and Ocean Conservation . . .

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Sunrise on my heart: Aloha bliss and magick

  


Aloha from the land of rainbows, flora, fauna, and magick. I have found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the craters left behind from oozing magma that brought these islands (and the rest of the world) into existence!
  Maui is full of secrets, surprises, blessings and adventures. Watching all the sands combine in the car seats turning them black, white, and red. Silhouettes of butterflies float across curtains while sweet blossoms of papaya wift through the air. Driving under a golden dragon eye Moon in time to catch sunrise from 10,000 feet on a Helaekala crater to acres of lavender farms as far as the eye can see. Jumping off of 20 foot cliffs and then snorkeling a 1/2 mile to get to the next beach while listening to the whales sing underwater the entire way! Floating on your back in an idealyc pool at the bottom of a waterfall gazing lovingly at a perfect chesire cat moon smiling down on you. There is not much more you need in life to feel content. 

  The access to fresh fruit and healthy living is abundant and comes with ease. Maui is constantly conspiring to keep us here longer and pull us back on her shores. Everything from roadside dips in fresh water pools to hiking 10 minutes to feast our eyes on triple waterfall views to spinning fire in the middle of a secret beach party (catch some of that here https://instagram.com/p/BApUtK8QgTN/ and here https://instagram.com/p/BApVBmcwgUa/- Maui has exceeded my expectations on all levels. 

We drove out to Hana for a few days and luxuriated in her splendor. Venus pool was a ridiculous pleasure. A pleasant protected tidepool filled with salt water and streaming sunshine. A family near by was seen selling fish and when we asked to get some they said aloha and didn’t want a penny for it and then ran inside and got us the special peppers they grew and told us how to make their favorite sauce. We still gave them something for their bounty- but the spirit of Aloha is ever present here. 

  At seven sacred pools all of my waterfall dreams were answered. I’ve been to more than 75 waterfalls in the past three years and this was by far the most dreamy experience yet. It’s what you wish for when you dream of waterfalls. Refreshing freshwater pools, rocks smoothed by the years of water flowing over them for lounging in the warm sun, falls at various heights making an impressive journey through the earth to the sea, rainbows shooting off the mist-It made my mermaid heart sing. 

At one point while climbing the porous volcanic walls – whose knobs and crevices fit perfectly in my hands and feet I heard a loud message that the earth will tell me exactly what to do. I was astounded by my heart opening and listening to the earth loud and clear! Where to scramble, what to grab onto, what to eat, where to adventure and when to turn around. It’s been a pretty incredible and enlightening experience. It only continues to support my conclusion that everything humans need to survive and thrive here comes from the earth itself. We look in so many places and substitute so many other unnecessary things but in the end all we need is already here. 

  Mahalo Mother Earth for sharing your bounty with us. My wish is for each of you reading this to take a moment and appreciate all the ways in which the earth and the universe support us whole heartedly. Let go of the things that no longer serve you and bask in beauty of the lands, waters, sun, and seas. If we all gave ourselves permission to take this time what an incredible world this could be. 

  
And now here I sit watching the sunrise from the sky. Still salty from my last maui swim where the sunset was bouncing off the shore and whales were breeching out on the horizon. My heart is forever warmed from the countless rainbows, whales, sea turtles, and thriving aquatic life encounters, fresh foods and coconut nectar, and good friends and family that surrounded this trip. The aloha spirit will keep me warm for the next chapter of my east coast adventures. May my story warm and inspire you as well. 

It’s places like these that help me harness my magick. But you don’t have to be in far away lands to get to this place in your heart. We harness our magick every time we surround ourselves with things that bring us joy, charge us up, get into our flow through dance, hoop, yoga, or meditation, and lovingly adorn ourselves with scents, sparkles, and creams. There are so many ways we can prepare ourselves to successfully take on the days ahead! Join me on Instagram @aliluminescent and let me know how you #harnessyourmagick by adding this hashtag to the posts of photos that bring you joy. The more YOU harness your magick the more it encourages others around you to do the same! Next thing you know we will all be wrapped up and supported in gorgeous gooey love ball of worldly magick! And may it be so! 

May this world support you in all the ways you wish and especially in the ways you never knew it needed to! 
Aloha and Shine bright! 

-=ali*

Ali Luminescent  

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

https://www.jeanpaulgaultier.com/en

The Gaultier exhibit  From Sidewalk to Catwalk at the Brooklyn Museum is fantastic! Truly cutting edge, guiding new trends, exposing people’s fears and celebrating diversity. A designer speaking volumes through garments across the ages. What an enjoyable way to learn more about this revolutionary designer!

The first room won me over with his sparkling and elegant mermaid collection! Splash! Impressive textiles and great forms lounged around in the opening room inviting all to dive into his world.

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It brings me great joy to see impressive, inspiring, and counterculture flavor in mainstream media. The show is well thought out and carefully put together- full of quotes and snippets of an artist truly being his own voice in a world of boundaries and expectations.

It is amazing to see someone cut through barriers of price in the fashion world and celebrate their unique voice and style. One of my favorite looks from his very first shows was the placemat dress made from cheap woven placemats from the Philippines. Resourcefulness can go a long way!

Another inspiring thing happening here is an artist celebrated and revered while he is still alive!! This is a great practice! Artists should be sought out and appreciated while they are still in action and can enjoy their success.

Don’t miss this show! It closes February 23, 2014.

Click here to view the Brooklyn Museum Website for details on the exhibition!

Technicolor Jesus

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2/27/12 At the
end of a busy street just before the seaside stands a church where
St. Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles is buried. It is one of three
churches in the entire world that houses an apostle. Inside you
find our lady of Mylapore ( the Indian version of Mother Mary)
wrapped in a saree and wearing a golden crown. She is enshrined in
an intricately carved case and surrounded in a mosaic of flowers.
In the very front of this basilica styled cathedral is a 30ft
wooden carving of the lord Jesus Christ hanging on the cross
floating on a lotus flower flanked by peacocks and lit with LEDs.
Indian woman poured in placing their newborn babies on the alter
and reaching to touch yet another of their gods- Jesus Christ.
That’s one of the great things about India- even in the face of
Catholicism polydiety worship is a-okay and in techno color. We had
a really great day in chennai visiting temples, shops, dentist
offices, tailors, and amazingly sweet lil chai shops. Flavorful
spicy and fresh Indian food filled all the spaces in between. I
love the way they squeegee anything they can’t sweep in india-
water on the floor, food on the table- a squeegee is the go-to
tool. They are made of colorful melted plastic and are super
efficient. We capped off the adventure with a well-haggled rickshaw
ride home through the forever stretching markets and storefronts
that make up chennai.

Fire

I’ve been thinking a lot about fire. About fire performance, about fire conclave, but also about the rudimentary element of FIRE. Its a constitution, a way of life, a tool, a means of communication, an element, a type of breathing, the force of creation, and the force of destruction.

In Costa Rica a grandmother of the Bri-Bri tribe taught me that when a fresh banana leaf is folded in half to wrap a piece of cacao or make a papuse for a baby. . . that it will snap—first you must place the banana leaf over the flame. Only then will it become flexible AND stay strong.

In Australia the Aborigines make canoes from the trees to navigate the mucky swamps and stay further away from the crocodiles, but before the trees can be shaped and made strong-they also must go through fire.

We use fire as a ritual, as a right of passage, and as a marker as the sun coming around for spring. In Iranian tradition, Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar, at spring time it is common to jump over small fires to mark the increase in light that spring brings and to let go of the shade of winter.

This from wikipedia: The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make bonfires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az (ane) to, sorkhî-ye to az (ane) man (“az-ane to” means belongs to you); This literally translates to “My yellowness is yours, your redness is mine,” with the figurative message “My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me.” The fire is believed to burn out all the fear (yellowness) in their subconscious or their spirit, in preparation for new year.

In the east village in Manhattan there are many gardens and last year I had the honor of celebrating Nowruz and getting to jump over the fires. I was a bit hesitant at first but it was quite liberating. Jumping over fires is also common in the up coming Beltane-another celebration of spring.

As I have been traveling one word that comes up a lot amongst holistic healers and yogi’s and other higher mind seekers is that of a person’s Constitution- which needs to be in balance per Chinese Medicine. I actually had never heard this term before traveling. . . but once I learned about it I started hearing it EVERYWHERE. Funny what a lil awareness will bring to light. So there is also a FIRE Constitution (www.herbdoc.com) -The Fire constitution is associated with warmth and light. Fire, like our minds, illuminates and sheds light on a darkened world. It’s lively, full of imagination and vitality. When kept under control, fire is very useful. However, it will dominate and consume if not kept in check.

The circulatory system and the upper parts of the body are associated with the fire element, because heat rises. The heart is seen by the Chinese as the home of insight and understanding. Courage is also associated with the heart.

Excess fire leaves one “out of touch with reality” and living in a dream world. It can also result in excessive imagination and the over pursuit of perpetual happiness. Not enough Fire may leave one unable to accomplish goals, antisocial, and with a fear of trying something new.

You can be cleansed with fire, initiated through fire, and burned by fire. Fire is the sun and is the core of the earth and exists through out the galaxy.

What an amazing, versatile, life saving, technology advancing element in existence. Much love to the fire. Burn bright. ox

Bali

Misty mornings layered with the waking roosters, wafting incense, and the distinct and whimsical sound of gamelan-floating village to village, east to west.

Every morning we are greeted with towering plates of fruit and amazing eggs and incredible pancakes (stuffed with banana and coated with fresh coconut and palm syrup) are brought to our garden porch overlooking the teracotta rooftops, house temples, and neighboring family stays. I watch the neighbors bring their offerings to each temple within their compound. The woman don their Kabaya and the men their sarongs and cool little hats, and pray and splash holy water with the little flowers they use in their offerings. Each day I shake the sugar bowl three times and the lil sugar ants run in a frenzy up and out of the dish and you know this would never happen back home and thankfully start to munch away on this amazing homemade gourmet breakfast.

Walking down the street in Ubud I’m constantly thinking-oh a temple! Only to realize, no, this elaborate stone work, carving, and flowers are another garden-likely harboring a “home temple” but not the full on complex. The Balinese believe that each pillar, each item, each piece of existence has a soul and is honored as thus throughout the day through intricate offerings. There are special days they honor the spirit of the machine and when we come outside there are offerings on our motorbike. 😉

People here are so lovely! They are so kind-even when you obviously don’t know what you are doing in certain religious and ceremonial situations. People here are inclusive, even when you don’t belong. It’s quite refreshing. they give impeccable directions through visual hand symbols even though you
Don’t speak their language and the food is cheap and so so so good!! Lots of vegetarian options, the home of Tempe, you can get it cooked everyway imaginable, fresh corn on the cob on the side of the street and nasi campur! Yum! One day when hiking through the rice paddies to the deep and misty river valley we found this amazing hobotech style man carrying around this blue box on his bicycle that was hooked up to a gas can he filled with water and converted into a steamer. We eagerly watched him put green rice flour into a little piece of PVC pipe, then some brown palm syrup, then more green rice-next he placed the PVC on the steamer and soon a whistle blew! Like a tea kettle! THen he wrapped up 8 lil rolls-kind of like sushi rolls into wax paper and handed them over for 2000 rupiah (about 20 cents) and Justin and I were happily surprised!!! It’s the best snack I’ve tasted my entire time here. Warm and sweet and light. Yum!!!

Driving in Bali is fucking wild. There’s no speed limit, no stop signs, no helmet law, and apparently no maximum occupancy for how many people you can fit on a moped or motorcycle. It is quite common to see the lil babies on the front, griping the mirrors standing infront of dad, and 1-2 children squished between mom
And dad, or side saddling moms thighs on the back-one on each leg if they are too big to fit between, many times the children are sleeping with their legs thrown whichever way lol. The lanes or direction of traffic in those lanes appears arbitrary and it’s always a surprise to watch two lanes of traffic magically merge into five within the same space. It is wild. There are places where the road itself has fallen away from it’s foundation leaving a gaping whole twenty feet deep, hairpin curves, steep ass hills and when it rains parts of the road wash away completely. But, somehow, it all works. You can never let your guard down though-you just never know when a dog or a chicken with it’s neck stuck way out is going to dart across the road or if when you turn the corner if there’s going to be a semi truck in your lane dodging the potholes on the other side. so we always drive “hati-hati” with caution.

It is a beautiful island though surrounded by the Indian ocean, complete with volcanoes, lakes, and temples. Full of geckos, chickens, bats, dogs, and ceremony. Accented with daily flower offerings at every doorstep, arch, and pillar. Ornate with ancient architecture, a light with modern art and classic styles and beaming with a vibrancy I’ve never seen anywhere else on earth.

Travel Time-Flux Capacitor Style


Travel Time-Flux Capacitor Style

Well the 4 flights it took to arrive on the other side of the world was moderately treacherous. I think it was the 7 hour layover in Doha that did us in. . . which p.s. Did not exist when I purchased the ticket- however 2 weeks before our flight I was sent an updated itienary from the airline. Doha is one of the younger and richest capitols in the world-capital of Qatar the Arabian peninsula in the middle east. The architecture of the city looks incredible built around a vibrant blue bay but only viewable by photos and Internet for everytime we inquired about leaving the airport we were met with the phrase, “Not Possible” although we hear the city is quite safe.

So we hung out in the most deluxe duty-free of all time selling cameras, Lap tops, and yes, luxury cars. At one point I went to the bathroom and it has this dressing room style mirrored corridor and about 30 Qatar stewardesses were all sitting on the counters with their burgundy hats, burgundy blouses, burgundy ascots, doing their charcoal make-up and all giggling like girls in high school. I wanted to take their photo so bad-but when I asked they said they are not allowed to be photographed in uniform-so may my mental photo serve you well.They were so cute!

We flew from
Doha to Singapore (and man oh man do I wish my layover was there instead). If you are ever flying on this part of the world I highly encourage you to spend some time at the Singapore Chaingi airport. Free leg massages, butterfly garden, cactus garden, movie theater, game station, Internet stations and if you have a layover longer then 5 hours they will even take you on a free tour of Singapore!! Sadly our 3 hour layover was shortened to a 30 minute layover on our updated itinerary but I hope we get some extra time there on our return flight.

From Singapore to Indonesia the flight is only 2.5 hours and we landed in the middle of an epic sunset onto the magickal island of Bali. Airport procedures went smoothly and Justin and I negotiated a cheap cab outside of the airport walls to Ubud-our final destination for the day. Initially we were to arrive at 1pm but that unexpected change in flight put us here at 7pm so by the time we got out of the airport it was already dark. Even then the city of Depensar was alight with totems, sculptures, and fountains as motor bikes came racing past us. The drive took a long time-like an hour and a half? Justin and I were both drifting in and out of sleep from our grand time zone tour and I barely even noticed it was pouring rain. Next time I opened my eyes there was moss and roots hanging from high off branches dripping with rain as we made twists and turns through this mountainous pass. Monkey pillars and hand laid brick roads were noted. We didn’t have a place to stay worked out but also thought we’d have daylight to deal with it- and neither of us expected to be so out of it-so we eventually just had the taxi driver pull over and started to look for a room. Each guest house had a sign, accompanied by a small alleyway that led deep back behind the street with gardens and ponds and frogs and sculptures and masks. I’ve had my fair share of turning up in cities in the middle of the night and it usually proves to be a pretty sketchy scenario- but. . . not here. The city had an ancient wisdom with it’s 2 ft tall curbs and sidewalks, and immediately, even in the dark and the rain, an intricate beauty seeped from every archway. Elegant details were etched in every stone. The second place we stopped at was good enough for me. I was so exhausted I didn’t even rally for dinner or a trip to the store for water and goods. Laying horizontal was my prime objective. Successful, i passed out cold and have now awoken in the middle of the night-which has allowed me to share this detailed account with you all* 😉 I have no idea what time it is but knowing me and my 6 hour sleep cycle I’m assuming it’s about 3 am. I stepped outside onto our huge porch overlooking hand made roof tiles that slide down to a beautiful water garden amongst an orchestra of frogs, gekos, bats, crickets, and dogs. Every now and them I hear a rooster, but know it must be confused. A bug dive bombed me when I walked outside and I quickly and delightfully realized it was a dragonfly-which happens to be my spirit animal and I always take as a sign that I’m in the right place and it has sat above me this whole time while I type this 😉 -I never really see them at night either-so today-it’s extra special. 😉

Okay well thanks for reading and I look forward to enchanting you with stories to come.

Luang Prabang


Three days traveling and I have now arrived down and across the Mekong River into Luang Prabang, Laos. A place that you could not reach by road until the 1990’s, a place where the average working person makes less than $1 a day, a country that has been devastated yet carries on working toward a brighter future. In the late 60s early 70s America dropped over a million bombs on laos-I imagine trying to get the vietnamese along the Ho Chi Minh Trail-however only 60% of the bombs detonated –leaving fields and fields of ticking time bombs for anyone playing, farming, or walking by. Removing these bombs is expected to take over a hundred years.

We took the slow boat here, which has been the main mode of transportation for hundreds of years to Laos-PDR (which the locals joke stands for Please Dobt Rush). It took one day of driving 120km an hour on twisty curvy roads and two full days on water through the mountains on a big ole long slow boat. My favorite spot on the boat is up at the front-sitting on bags of rice under a bamboo mast with the Laos flag flying high above us. The boat is maneuvered with a steering wheel and people using 20 ft bamboo poles to push off rocks and other boats to lessen the impact when pulling over.

I loved watching the tribes in the river cleaning their fish, doing laundry, lil kids running down the banks and jumping into the water. There were many times we d pull up into a village and families and chickens, gallons of fuel for generators, and various market goods would be tossed on board. Water buffalo bathing in the sun and cooling off in the water spotted the land. The water line from monsoon seasons past was well beyond 50ft above us on the rocks. Such a wild and untouched place. It makes you realize what earth was like before civilization became a popular trend.

I arrived just as the sun sunk behind the mountains blasting rays of sherbert pink sun off into the sky. Laos was a French colony for a while so there are super yummy baked goods everywhere!! Sap sap sap (yum yum yum)!!! Croissants, cakes, chocolate, downtown Luang Probang looks like a little French town and even the guesthouse I’m staying at feels more European than Asian. Walking through town we found a night market, mostly run by Hmong Hilltribe folks, and the. A small alleyway had some food stalls– once I turned the corner I saw that it was hundreds of food stalls!!! Fresh cooked food galore!! And pigged out on yummy vegetables I’ve never seen before for 5,000 kip( ~80 cents) and fresh rolls which are appearing more and more the closer we get to Vietnam.

The whole city has a midnight curfew so the bars close at 1130pm to get everyone home in time. Which was kind of nice since everyone in pai is up til 6am every night. Also after traveling all that way I was pretty tired.

The main alcohol here is Lao Lao a cheap local rice whiskey that’s “at least 50% alcohol.” I had a super yummy coconut drink they make with it–it was awesome. I also learned about this really great project for sponsoring Laos children for education. The laid goverberment is only 16 years old- probably younger than most people reading this blog. A big focus for them is education. You can learn more about their education system here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Laos
There was a great organization listed on the wall where I was earlier where for $50 you can sponsor a Laos child to go to school for one year including supplies ( which are in great scarcity ) but I’m not able to find it through google so I will add it next time I see it around town.

Today I look forward to taking a tuk tuk an hour up the mountain and lounging and hooping at the multi-tiered clear pool waterfall at the top and then visiting the beautiful temple on the top of the hill in the middle of town for sunset.

Tomorrow perhaps the caves with ancient buddhas in them!

The adventure continues!! Much love and thanks for reading.

Bye Pai!

Pai is a pretty special place. Tucked away along the river a place where people come and go and stay. Lil shops, handmade goods, lots of smiles and friendly hellos-yummy street food from lil puffed black rice tortilla s with sweet milk and sesame wrapped in a banana leaf, mooya-a pork sausage marinated in lime chilli sauce, lil custards, so many yummy treats. Waterfalls, hot springs, elephants, and every night a party and multiple Bon fires–secret farms in the jungle and sunset scooter rides.

The older Thai man that runs my guest house has been here for many many years-last night when I got home he was carving diligently on one of the beams of his bungalow-a work he says that is never finished. He told me about how his grandmother used to put out an open jar at sunrise and all the Mosquitos would fly inside she’ d then cover it and place it in the sun- once they all died she would feed them to the fish -at this point his eyes welled with tears and he sat there with me crying. It was touching. So nice for him to share his stories with me about his grandma.

I have a long journey ahead of me for the next three days. In an hour I board a bus that takes me to the Thai-Laos border and in the morning we cross over and then board a slow boat that goes down the Mekong River for a day and a half and then another bus and I’ll arrive in Luang Probang by 5pm-two days from now. I have two new books and a dress to sew by hand so I think I’ll be kept busy in the mean time* I was going to have a dress made I’m Thailand for $180 but then I found all the fabric I needed for $10 soooo I have made it my new project. All afternoon I’ve gone around town collecting beads, ribbons, needles and thread ($3)to help me along. It will be nice to have something fruitful to work on.

After Laos I was going to head to Cambodia but that really depends on how the current border dispute goes. Some tanks and soldiers are hanging around and I prefer to go no where near them. Lol. We will see.

Telah went back to NYC and we have had some good fun-but from here out I’m headed off alone but I’m sure I’ll meet some friendly people wrong the way.

Much love, creation, and adventure to all of you.

Xo

-=ali*

Phonological ponderings

I remember first hearing these phonemes of general Thai phrases and thinking that I’ll never remember this–but now I sit and the words flow effortlessly from my lips.

So interesting being a phonologist and listening to tonal languages
And all these travelers from all over the world all speaking different languages than their own with their own personal dialects. A lot of variables are at play.

One day I really had to force myself to not interupt this hilarious conversation of a woman from Spain who speaks English trying to understand this man from Sussex speaking English—she was flabbergasted–really floored –having him repeat words over and over. The voyeuristic auditory experience was very endearing.

Brilliance

So many days spent in
The sun, in houses with no walls, in oceans with perfect brilliance, on small boats navigating multiple and opposing currents, on land glowing from the moon, in the jungle lit by fireflies, on the rock this whole island was built upon being washed away by the forever crashing waves.

Beautiful swells of amazing and enlightening humans enjoying every moment of each place their feet touch the ground–grounded yet flying, breathing and living fully, wishing not for anything more.