Still trying to stay away from the news, the places we are staying in don’t have CNN, so its all French. Feels good to be drifting in peace and adventure, I buy a New York Hearld once in awhile to see how my man Obama is doing, and if the USA is still in crazy-fear mode. Yeah, so I will have to come back and get a job, if I can find one, and ride it out, but till then I will refuse to worry, and still dig my little corner cafe here, and these little cups of espresso, and the Monet museum, Paris is a passionate city I can live in. Just walking around is fun. I love getting lost in a new neighborhood.
Get this, today I am at this old mansion, turned into a museum, it is now an Oriental museum with an incredible collection of Chinese, Tibetan, and Cambodian art and sculpture, largest in Europe, especially from Anghor Wat, rooms filled, when I notice this small photo and a caption, in French of course, it says,”This is the room where Mata Hari did her first provocative dance.” What! Uh! Greta Garbo. Mata (not her real name) married young, and moved to Java and studied dance and the Java culture, came back to Paris and became a courtesan to the French generals and later to the German generals, She danced in a way people had not seen before, a Java-tease kind of thing, she was a good friend of Isadore Duncan. Later she is accused by France of passing on secrets to the Germans, but never proven, she just liked sleeping with men of power. That is what is challenging and invigorating about traveling-the learning part. Last month I lived in the country outside this village where Joan of Arc, at 16 or 17 showed up, I had to read and understand that, and Richard the Lionhearted was buried there, so Hollywood doesn’t always get this stuff straight. Then I discover, you probably knew this, but the Arc de Triumph was built in 1809 by Napoleon to celebrate his armies victories, but before it gets built he is looses all his power. …well the stories go on.
The best and most discriminating art exhibit I have seen here is an all French pastel show at the Musee D”Orsy called “Mystery and Glitter” The French word just doesn’t translate well, it really means mysterious and magical light. Almost a religious experience, well..I guess it was one.
Now the work begins,
so many artists to be inspired by,
where do I begin this task,
open the book, wet brush,
baguette, wine, cheese,
so maybe its not a good poem,
open book, wet brush, begin.
When times get tough, I recommend coming to the country side in France. I got a job picking grapes, the whole first day was a learning experience.
The morning breaks, they served coffee and 1982 Cote D’ Rhone wine with nut bread.
At lunch, all 45 of us got fed by the vintner at long tables filled with great wine, toasts, songs. Picking in the morning, the workers were singing French patriotic songs, laughter, throwing grapes, everyone was so polite to me, helping me get the drill.
By the afternoon, after a 2.5 hour lunch with lots of wine, we went back out, a little slower, way more mellow, less singing, and picked till 5:30, then back to the chateau to de-stem (by machine) and fill the stainless steel tanks with our days work.
The night before we went to a small cafe late at night in Huimes, about the size of Marine on St. Croix-tiny, they were having a French “Rhythm D’ Blues” singer. “ All in french and so polite, “Je Suis Hutshi Kutchi Homme.”
Hey how is the election coming, and the economy? I am trying to stay away from the daily news right now, and enjoy the little morning cafe, sitting outside, drinking my expresso and trying to get a drawing in. We are making most of our meals, soups, staying away from horse meat, and frog legs, but I will give them a try.
This is the largest dolman in Europe, 75 feet long, 5000 years ago, this was used as an above ground burial chamber for 25 bodies, or more. Covered with earth, there are 1000′s of these in France alone. A megatlith, like Stonehedge is different, that is more of a monument, not a burial chanber. Its unbelieveable to walk through it and feel the 50 ton of stone all around…..
It is so beautiful here, like a middle ages movie set. Many castles nearby here, and the coolest little cafes everywhere. I’m getting some painting-drawings done, my goal. We are loving being here. Joan of Arc started here in this little town. We are living in the country about 6 miles from this town of Chinon 6000. Here’s a link to the map in Google. This internet cafe has a french keyboard with different placement of letters, impossible to type on. Driving anywhere on these little country roads through grape fields with stone chateaux on rolling hills, its all a dream……
These adventures keep getting deeper. Bali is amazing on several fronts. The quality and craftsmanship of their arts and furniture and batik is extraordinary. Old wooded hand carved furniture is a mix of sculpture, spirit, and SE Asian design rolled into one. There are long beaches, terraced rice fields, jungle, active volcano, wonderful food. I can see why this place has that mystical ring just in saying the name.
You can get lost in the tourist shops on the main streets. The surfers and Aussies are all a little too much, but turn left, and you are in a surreal landscape temple. It’s all Hindu here, with a pool filled with lotus flowers and vine covered walls with statues of gods and this little cafe over looking all this with really beautiful and tasty food.
This sounds like tourist brochure words, but this place has captured me. It’s off season right now, maybe too hot, and some of the beaches were closed to rip tides. Many of the villas and hotels were empty. But the gamelan music was every where, with fresh wild looking fruit and flowers. I am coming back to this place.
I may buy a container of large stone carved Buddha heads, 5 feet tall, and sell them to pay for another trip back to Bali. This is an eyes wide-open dream.
Back to Bangkok and work, got to get this exhibit farther along, feeling some pressure to get it right, but it is coming along.
Scott, I have my feet firmly planted in the sand, listening to the waves here in Bali. Your assignment helps me ponder this dream I am deeply involved in. The sun is setting gently, a beautiful young Balinese woman brings me a cold lime and fresh coconut drink, when this man walks by with his bass. The melody I hear being carried to me on the wind is gamalan music, so perfect here. I am captured in the breath of the moment.
Enjoy these photos.
Here’s our favorite cafe.
Cleaning the moat.
Mario – - – - !
Twenty five feet tall statue.
We took a little break from Bangkok, and flew up to Cambodia, a short 45 minute flight. We had to see Angkor Wat. This was the capital of the Khmer Empire for over 500 years, 800-1300AD. A million people lived here then, One of the great and remarkable civilizations of Asia. What makes this place so unusual is it contains the world’s largest concentration of religious monuments, over 60 square miles of religious temples and ruins, large deep moats, still with water, long narrow causeway’s in to these temple compounds. At the height of the Khmer civilization, they controlled all the way to the South China Sea, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula. The temples were home to Hindu Gods Shiva and Vishnu, then later Buddhist kings added more elaborate architecture, some temples have both Buddhist and Hindu carvings. We both were moved by the jungle settings, the sacred feelings, the mysterious harmony, it’s surreal.
Today Cambodia is trying to inch forward after the Pol Pot years. Those times eliminated the educated, the wise, and the motivated, then it eliminated the few who were still loyal to the Khmer regime, paranoia ruled supreme. It will be a long while before this country heals. There is a Peace and Reconciliation Museum being planned with some of the people I am working with at UNESCO. I hope to be involved in a small way.
We loved the gentle open hearted people there, they have an elegance in the way they walk. The town of Siem Rep seems like a small village, compared to gritty Bangkok. We rented bikes and explored the town, small open air restaurants from the entire globe were represented. We ate Cambodia, and had the best meals of the whole trip so far. It was about 95 in the shade, we got to the ruins at 7am, the sun was already hot. Village ladies selling cut pineapples and cut up mangoes on the side of the road satisfied our thirst.