Travel Thought Thursday :- Chinese New Year (Year of the Ram)

恭喜發財! 心想事成! 萬事如意!

Approximate pronunciation of the above Chinese characters in Cantonese: Gung Hei Fat Choi! Sum Sheung Si Sing! Man Si Yu Yee!

What do they mean?! Wishing you wealth and prosperity! May all your wishes come true! Smooth sailing ahead in all matters!

Today is the new moon of February. It also is the start of a new Lunar year for a few other cultures. For Chinese descendents, this is the year of the Wood Sheep. For those in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, Happy Losar 2142! Continue reading

Scenery Sunday : Antalya Ramazan

In the 9th month of the Muslim calendar, fasting occurs from sunrise to sunset. It is the Islamic holy month. 29 to 30 days. No water. No food. No alcohol. It is generally called Ramadan. In Turkey it is called Ramazan. For 2014, Ramazan is the month of July in the Gregory calendar.

Iftar is the meal taken every night to break the fast. Along with iftar is the gathering of family and friends. Celebration. Party. Elation.

Antalya is a key touristic city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Muslims gather in the coastal Karalioğlu park every day at sundown to share iftar and related festivities.
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Travel Thought Thursday :- Consumerism

As I sit in the breezy courtyard of my pansiyon in Antalya, Turkey – I get into a discussion about travel with a fellow solo female traveler from Tokyo, Japan.
After traveling to 43 different countries so far, I’ve walked through numerous touristic shopping areas, and markets. For a person who enjoy window shopping, real shopping and haggling, I could say I’m in my element.

However, I have noticed on my travels that it can be challenging to find that unique piece of souvenir which was not mass produced in a foreign land.

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Handmade plates found in Lindos, Greece

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Market life in Lhasa, Tibet

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet – the country which the 14th Dalai Lama had to flee from back in 1959.

Rows of souvenir shops in Lhasa

Rows of souvenir shops in Lhasa

During my 2008 visit of Tibet, I often wondered how the country would look if it was untouched by China. Continue reading

Side Effects of Tourism and Globalization

From my jaunts around the world, I have noticed that cultural boundaries are becoming a thing of the past. Regardless whether I am in the Himalayan mountains or deep in the Amazon or on a Safari in Africa – it requires no effort for me to find a man wearing T-shirt and jeans. On the contrary, the chances of seeing a local resident dressed in traditional, local attire are pretty slim, in most cases. Gone, are the days of partial nudism in the name of modesty, conformity – women are bound by restrictive bras and loincloths are things of the past.

Due to the power and spread of technology, mass media, western idealism, and “The American Dream” – more and more cultural groups around the world are allowing their cultural identity to diminish. Many reserve their traditional attire for special occasions or performances. In turn, tourists try on local attire for photos or buy them as a souvenir or as a novelty item. Continue reading