A caravanserai was a sort of inn with rooms, stables and food, not far from modern-day guesthouses, where traders and merchants could rest for a few days with their animals, usually for free.
Our chai master near Song Kol lake wore traditional Kyrgyz clothes of bright kök (blue) and kara (black), worked the fresh sheep fleece with her bare hands to make saddle cushions and sewed pillows and tapestry in her free time. She welcomed us in her yurt to learn and live with the Kyrgyz shepherds in the wild plains of central Kyrgyzstan. Rahmat chai master!
Kyrgyzstan is that little country landlocked between Russia, China and its other Central Asian sisters had for a while now caught my attention with its mysterious culture, a mixed heritage of the old Soviet Union, Asia and the Middle East, that I wanted to discover.
Hiroshima is also a modern, elegant and chill city with its eerie Peace Memorial Park and its castle, the famous Hiroshima okonomiyaki and the many streetcars crisscrossing around the city.
Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island is only one of the most photographed landmarks in the whole of Japan. If you’ve never seen the iconic orange-ish torii seemingly floating on the ocean, you should travel more.
Vietnam is a fascinating country to live in. It’s warm, laid-back, beautiful but it can also be frustrating and overwhelming. It takes patience, strength and resourcefulness to figure out how to interact with the locals and how to fit in the dense Saigonese jungle.
Well, guess what? Cantonese fried rice is not all they eat in Guangzhou, ha ! My trip to the third biggest city in China was savory, inspiring, stimulating and much too short. Guangzhou, or Canton, struck me as an intense painting of grey skyscrapers, flashy neon signs and colorful blurs everywhere, from the boats on the Pearl River to the Canton Tower overlooking the city, undisturbed.
Mongolia is like a place out of time. Time is definitely not of the essence around here. Only the elements dictate everyone’s rhythm, everything revolves around the next heavy rain or the next below zero temperatures.
Have you ever thought of dropping everything, quitting your job and traveling to faraway countries? Well, getting up one morning and walking out the door isn’t the hardest part of the trip. Here is my own personal to-do list before moving abroad.
Italy offers so many spectacular landscapes, from deep blue seas to white-top mountains and rolling vineyards and it has such a rich past that it would be silly to mention but the negative aspects of it. In the past year, I have visited the narrow streets of Parma, where I tasted slices of savory crudo ham and cheese.
When you decide to become a citizen of the world, to move to another country and experience life from a different point of view, things change (duuh). You become a different person: you reevaluate everything, you cast a different look upon all those little things you may have taken for granted before like organization, time, structure, human behavior, long-distance relationships, social integration and most of the time, you adapt. The act of decentralization, but more specifically, the act of relocation to another environment from the comfortable to the challenging, from the known to the unknown and from the old to the new is quite understandably a very big step to take.
I miss India. I miss it so much. I miss the smells and the spices, so very different from the colorless stuff that we get in Europe. I even miss the mouth-burning yogurt sauces, eyes-watering samosas and the stomach-ache that usually followed.