these here are the tales of...

Belarus (2) Canada (7) China (2) creative (4) Czech (5) dance (4) design (1) Egypt (3) Estonia (3) family (10) festivals (2) health (6) Indonesia (1) inspiration (14) Japan (2) Korea (1) language (11) Lithuania (1) London (2) nature (24) philosophy (6) photos (8) politics (5) roadtrip (4) studies (8) sustainability (8) Taiwan (38) teaching (5) Thailand (9) Turkey (2) video (3) wisdom (3) workie (2) yummm (6)

HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back in the steamy Taipei of August

It's Day 2 since I landed and I'm up bright and early. It's been kind of exciting to be back in Taipei, as if exploring a new place again, after the details of it blurred a bit in my mind, layered over by all the places I visited on my trip.
Thanks again to my family and everyone I saw over my brief weeks in Canada. It was a truly lovely (and needed!) vacation and I feel full of great new memories and conversations. ;-)

I watched two great movies on the plane, and definitely recommend both.

1. Oceans
Filmed in over 50 countries by the makers of "Winged Migration," I thought it was really interesting to watch a nature documentary that's quite different in style from BBC's Planet Earth, but no shortage of "is that real?" incredible scenes. In fact, a lot of the time I wasn't even sure if I was watching real footage, or computer animation. I think this may partly come from them getting in really close to many animals, where you as a viewer, really spend time with their faces and I found them both very alien and humanoid at the same time.Warning: there is a pretty disturbing part about 2/3 of the way through - guess what about? Humans wreaking havoc on the oceans, of course... At the very end, there was a sentence en francais on the screen that I translated to mean: "No animals were harmed for the purpose of making this documentary; all the massacre scenes were re-enacted." I found that difficult to believe, but maybe what it really meant is they didn't stage any deaths, just found them happening and filmed them. Very sad.
If you're not shy about downloading, I have found one link online, but no English subtitles, although there is minimal talking and the visuals would be more than powerful enough on their own
Also, check out their cool (all in French) interactive website

2. Men in the City (or Männerherzen in its native deutsch)

Althought IMDB gives it a pretty low rating and it's true, it's all a bit simplistic with stories set up so we watch lives quickly fall apart, then wrap up neatly again with a feel-good ending, I thought this was a totally enjoyable watch. Very funny, clean enough for the whole family and great editing that really helps the stories weave in and out of each other, finally incorporating just about everyone whose face you've seen onscreen.
The plot is set around a bunch of men, strangers at first, who go to the same gym, their love lives and successes (or lack thereof) and how we can all step up and be the better people we can be.

Friday, August 6, 2010

in the WIDE OPEN spaces of Canada

Aaaah.... a sigh of relief as I arrive in Vancouver... Fresh air, stylishly dressed people and all... this... s-p-a-c-e-! My mind suddenly has a chance to unclutter itself, spread out, empty... rest.

What a treat staying in my old neighborhood hugging Commercial Drive! I wake up to seagulls calling to the morning breeze, wander the shady residential streets, house after house lounging beneath regally old trees, splashes of colorful blooms crowding front yards. So nice to reconnect with old friends and meet a few wide-eyed toddlers who've taken their parents lives by happy storm since I've been living the Asian expat life.

I spend three days digging through years of accumulated stuff , piece by piece finding its way to new owners or the recycling bin, with some hard-to-part-with bits weighing me down again. Oh, STUFF! It'll be nice to have a stereo again though.

On my last day the weather's still beautifully sunny, if chill with the sea-kissed gusts of wind, so I hop on a bike and go for a mondo ride to see the fair city of Vangroovy. Aiming for the oceanside at Stanley Park, I detour along False Creek and haul uphill and along the Granville Bridge to visit Granville Island. Yay! There are totem poles in various stages of carving, shaved wood blanketing the ground,
spirit faces emerging from the fallen trees. A whimsical potter is crafting a fantastic fish-and-human-face-encircled fountain as an afternoon project. An accordion player busks sauntering down the street.

Inside the Public Market, it's Foodie Paradise - it's BC blueberries season and they're piled alongside heaps of squashes and peaches, there are cheese and olive counters, fresh pasta, seafood and famous BC salmon, teas, smoothies, fudge, home-made chutneys, bulk bins aplenty, foods and spices from around the world at the trendy South China Seas Trading Co. This whole enormous cornucopia of delights is at first seductive, but I slowly notice that the dangerously laden shelves at one bakery after another are actually starting to become overwhelming... I finally leave feeling completely full after buying nothing... The ultimate diet plan?

Outside again, I stop to buy some Haida art postcards and admire huge masks, costumes and sculptures at one of my all-time-faves: Eagle Spirit Gallery.

Pressing on, I head to the beach. Dipping my feet into the ocean's salty waters has been put off for too long! People are lying around sunbathing, which I haven't seen in ages, and the newly-acquired Asian in me is appalled at their careless skin-sizzling in the high-noon sun. Water's freezing though, and anyone actually venturing in seems to be doing it with a lot of squealing.

I jump back on my trusty peddle-stallion and make one last stop in Chinatown. Then off to re-pack and de-own and donate things for the umpteenth time, with some small acquisitions (haha, I know, but it's to support the underground arts!) from my very talented and über-unique artist friends at Trypton Media.

My verdict on Vancouver: what a great city for enjoying life! (disclaimer: having money significantly helps)

Next stop: flying into Toronto on my birthday! Family, friends and nature time! My sister and I serendipitously wander into a Dusk Dances performance and two nights later take in some modern Japanese taiko drumming at the Musical Garden at the Harbourfront, after kicking back at Toronto's new Sugar Beach. There is so much going on in this city, doing just the things you are interested in would be a very very busy full-time job!

It's summer and minus Taipei humidity, the outdoors is a wonderful place to be. One more week before another long flight whisks me back to the capital of Formosa.