Day of Clay and Play in Kathmandu Nepal 

****~CLICK HERE to SKIP to MINI MOVIE~****


Spiritual awakenings are expected on visits to Nepal. (Have you had one? I’d love to hear about it). I think most of us imagine these bright moments of contentment, clarity and oneness to occur as they have for many others before, on beautiful mountaintops with endless vistas of peaks and fluttering prayer flags. Standing before the face of God. 

Mine was on the back of a motorcycle in heavy traffic. On the way to a kids’ camp, an invite from a new friend and local potter, my heart nearly exploded as I listened to him share his most sincere and lovely thoughts on the true meanings of life and purpose. 

Hope you enjoy my mini movie ~CLICK HERE~from that day. In the beginning you’ll ride with me down narrow streets and alleys of Bhaktapur, through its majestic gate and then on to Kathmandu. I took out the main highway and the traffic jams we endured but I do show a bit of winding around through a more affluent neighborhood on the outskirts of town, getting lost a little and needing directions. 
The rest of the film gives an inside look at a private winter break camp enjoyed by some of the wealthier kids here. It was a bit like going through the looking glass. My friend’s role in this is to share his love of mud and pottery with the children. Ceramics is a very significant part of their heritage and culture. 


I had a fantastic time and may go on another outing with him to donate art supplies to a school that can really use them.
Here’s a little more about him and his story:
Seventeen years ago, my friend, Srijan Prajapati’s father and provider was in a terrible accident at the age of 35 and lost his ability to walk and work. 
This brought great challenges to the family but they managed to survive and continue the family pottery business of several generations. 
Opportunities in Nepal can be hard to come by but Srijan was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship and spend six months in China to learn Mandarin Chinese, a very useful language here in Nepal for both business and tourism. China is a neighboring country with considerable wealth. 
Many of his peers were seeking higher-paying jobs and opportunities abroad but he realized the best option for him and his family was to stay home and bloom where he was planted. 
Over the years his love of pottery and mud has continued to grow and he and his brother have very ambitiously met the challenges. 
They’ve done their own rebuilding post earthquake and have taught themselves many skills useful in creating a very appealing and successful shop.  
Genuinely warm and friendly people when they welcome you in to not only see their wares but also to try your hand at making one, you can tell that they share in your delight. 
I was caught very much by surprise when Srijan invited me to join him on this adventure as we had just met but he told me later that when he mentioned in conversation that he would be going, he saw the light flash in my eyes and he knew that I would love it. 
It’s that kind of open heartedness that I love discovering. This day of clay and play with kids in Kathmandu was a really special one for me. A peak memory. 

****~CLICK HERE to SEE MINI MOVIE~****


setting: Pottery Square Bhaktapur Nepal, Bhaktapur ride through town, Kathmandu Neighborhood, Pragya Kunja School Winter Break Camp 

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Come along on a morning tour in the ancient city of Bhaktapur Nepal

Imagine a crisp morning in December. It’s early, about 7:30 am but things are quickly coming to life in the incredible royal city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley. It’s a place that most of us have never heard of but should have.  

So much to see, hear and observe; narrow carefully swept brick paved streets lined with stunning examples of hand carved dark wood details, flags fluttering, local farmers vending a kaleidoscope of fresh produce from spread blankets, old men sipping their small cups of steaming tea at roadside stands and discussing who knows what, maybe the upcoming elections, scores of faithful worshippers wrapped in bright flowing fabrics bringing offerings on colorful and carefully arranged trays to the many neighborhood temples, bells of all sizes ringing randomly, scooters buzzing by and goats joining in from the ends of their ropes with bleeting, as if to say Namaste to anyone who’ll listen. 

Come along with me as I walk around and share these sights and sounds plus my thoughts. We’ve spent several weeks here so I’ve learned some things but still have endless questions to ask. 

Just follow this link!  And please, I’d love to hear from you, get your feedback and answer any questions that I can. 

Travel on 🙂 

Board the ferry from New Orlean’s French Quarter to Historic Algiers Point for affordable adventure

On a hot muggy Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, finding a refreshing adventure can be challenging!  Lucky us, locals had recommended this authentic experience as an affordable treat and the moment felt right.  All Aboard!

this ferry crosses the Mississippi for just $2pp each way to historic Algiers Point

this ferry crosses the Mississippi for just $2pp each way to historic Algiers Point

We fearlessly hopped aboard the ferry that soon arrived.  Watched the attendant expertly stuff our $2 each down into a see through box with jaws and a handle that helped it progress down its metal throat.  The ferry’s interior seated area was significantly cooler than the steamy reality we had just come out of.

famous muddy water

famous muddy water churning as we quickly rumble away from the French Quarter

But unable to resist the view, I scurried across the lobby and exited out onto the deck, watching and listening in awe to the groaning heaviness pulling away from the dock surrounded by deep churning brownness.

The endless action on and in the powerful Mississippi seen all around us bordered by stunning sky lines; the ride was over way too soon.

you can ride inside or on the deck- it's a quick trip

you can ride inside or on the deck- it’s a quick trip

you'll see lots Mississippi River action

you’ll see lots Mississippi River action

With no sense of our destination when boarding we were deposited at the edge of Historic Algiers Point.  What a treat.  A lovely riverside village with its own history and independent spirit, it’s a community well worth visiting.  I suggest allowing a few hours at least to stroll the lovely neighborhoods and visit some of the scattered local hangs.

As you exit the ferry in Algiers, watch for a big walking tour sign on the wall straight ahead.  It’ll give you a good feel of which way to head out.  We laced all in and out around the town and enjoyed all of it.

arriving on the Algiers side

arriving on the Algiers side

easy walk from the ferry to neighborhood hangs

easy walk from the ferry to neighborhood hangs

edge of neighborhood very near ferry landing

edge of neighborhood very near ferry landing

Algiers Point sign

Robert E Nims Jazz walk of fame is right near the ferry landing

Robert E Nims Jazz walk of fame is also quite near the ferry landing- just up a ways to your right along the river

stuff to see along the Algiers Point side of the Mississippi

stuff to see along the Algiers Point side of the Mississippi

beauty every way you turn- hard to go wrong

beauty every way you turn- hard to go wrong

strolling through the neighborhoods of Algiers Point

strolling through the neighborhoods of Algiers Point be ready for color

beautiful Algiers Point

the king is loved

the king is loved

we just followed the trail of sweet sweet shade

we just followed the trail of sweet sweet shade

view of New Orleans from Algiers Point across the Mississippi

view of New Orleans from Algiers Point across the Mississippi

the Algiers Point ferry landing

the Algiers Point ferry landing

sunset over the Mississippi Algiers Point

sunset over the Mississippi Algiers Point

Remember…check the ferry schedule before you go…http://www.friendsoftheferry.org/

If you do mess up by chance and miss the return ferry, the uber solution ended up costing us about $20 to get back to the French Quarter.  There were really no walking options as it’s illegal to walk across the bridge.

check the ferry schedule or you'll have to uber it back like us

check the ferry schedule or you’ll have to uber it back like us

We slipped through a portal to the past in the magical New Orleans French Quarter

We were stumbling along on a stifling hot steamy day in the heart of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Despite the miserable conditions, the magical old place had us held tight in its grip and we just couldn’t get enough.

On this particular day, we were exploring near the corner of Conti (pronounced by locals Kontī) and Chartres when we discovered a little courtyard style alley. It was a shady brick space with shops and SHADE!

We meandered up a little ways and found some inviting open French doors on our right. There were two gentleman in a workshop that looked as if it were teleported from many years ago. They were crafting copper gas lanterns using some more traditional looking simple tool methods and some modern conveniences like a power drill.

a portal to the past

a portal to the past in the form of some french doors off a passageway in historic New Orleans

simple tool

simple tool

simple beauty

simple beauty

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

not finished yet but already beautiful It was so much fun to watch. The room could accommodate quite an audience but we were the only two there. When we’d seen enough, we walked deeper into the building and discovered their galleries displaying all of the various styles available. So very beautiful.

like a museum

like a museum

bevolo gas and electric lightsThis is a great free cultural activity with a real French Quarter flair.

 In my opinion, it’s likely to please most any age and makes a great travel tip for anyone coming to visit beautiful New Orleans where Southern Hospitality is alive and well.  

Where in the world has Big Boy been? Here’s a glimpse…

Over hill and dale, hither and yon, our home away from home, “the Big Boy” has rolled and rolled and rolled. This links to my facebook “Where in the world is Big Boy?” album. You have to look closely in some of the pics haha

Click here to go to the album

Ask the locals where to go

I learned many years ago that when traveling, the most sure fire way to find the best adventures is to talk to locals.

We’ve been here on the coast of Oregon now, working a short-term gig at the Lincoln City KOA, for about a month and a half. We have not seen as much as I thought that we would have. As it turns out, working 30 hours a week at the campground leaves me feeling like using my time off to just relax more than to seek adventure.

But yesterday, I did feel the urge to explore and decided to take the advice of several area locals that I’ve spoken to. They recommended that we take a hike to see Drift Creek Falls. After about the fourth mention of this, I knew it would be worth the bit of effort it took to find it.

As is often the case, natural wonders in our national forests are in areas that are completely off the grid meaning our smart phone’s GPS positioning didn’t even work out there.

It’s times like these when it pays off to be patient and listen closely and ask plenty of questions. Locals will often be very familiar with how to get somewhere so much so that they don’t necessarily remember details like street names.

It took a little bit of doing and a couple of wrong turns but we did eventually find the beautiful heavily forested road that led up to our adventure.

The road is paved, a bit bumpy and narrow. It’s not terribly steep but does go up and occasionally offers a glimpse out to the ocean.

We meandered our way through magical woodland scenes with soaring trees, shaggy green moss, and lush fern beds until abruptly we were at a parking lot with several cars gathered pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.

Summer weather here is amazing, actually just about perfect with moderate temperatures and sunny skies nearly every day.

From what I’m told, the other seasons have considerable rainfall and the wind really likes to blow but it doesn’t get much snow.

The hike to drift Creek Falls is fairly short (1-1.5 mi) and just hilly enough to get you breathing a bit. It winds through the forest and it’s easy to imagine that you could stumble upon a family of elves or leprechauns. As in many areas where we’ve been along the West Coast, the tree stumps are often gargantuan and mind-boggling. You begin to see places where the trail opens up along little rocky . Rather suddenly it opens up to an expansion bridge some 200 feet in the air where you have a nice vista of Drift Creek Falls.

For those who are afraid of heights and unwilling to go out on the bridge, you can see the waterfall before crossing. It’s very sturdy and well supported but quite scary nonetheless.

All waterfalls are beautiful as is this one. I imagine it’s significantly more spectacular other times of the year when there’s greater water flow. You can hike on an additional half mile down to the base of the falls. Which of course we did. If you come to the Central Oregon coast, you will certainly enjoy the dramatic coastline itself but don’t miss a side trip like this up into the surrounding forest. Logging is still the primary industry around here and you’ll see why. Definitely a worthwhile adventure.

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the simple and spectacular Barraston Ponds free camping near Mona UT

as our story continues…

after an enjoyable night along Utah Lake (just a bit south of Salt Lake City) our adventurous caravan* moved a bit farther South to the wonderful wonderful spot of Barraston Ponds (near Mona UT just off hwy 15)

not hard to find- the landscape is generally quite open and the patch of green is evident even from Hwy 15

not hard to find- the landscape is generally quite open and the patch of green is evident even from Hwy 15

You can read more details on this spot here: http://freecampsites.net/#!8385&query=sitedetails

These pics are from when we first got there and started getting to know the place.  Vail went from site to site looking for the best waterfront spot where the puppies could play.

This simple campground was close enough to humanity to make it very convenient.  It was surprisingly beautiful and serene.  There were very few other campers who showed up during the days that we were there.  It was a bit warm during the day but having spent so many summers in Orlando, couldn’t complain.

Home is where you’re with family.  This spot made a wonderful home for us while we were there.

*Ryan and I, Vail our daughter and her boyfriend Blake, and the two extraordinary pups Melon and Bear

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