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The 25th of April commemorates all the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have lost their lives serving their respective nations.
Here are some photos I took of the ANZAC memorials in different cities I visited during my Australia / New Zealand adventure in 2011 – 2012:
ANZAC Memorial at Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia:
Shrine of Remembrance at King’s Domain, in Melbourne, Australia:
Memorial to the Fallen at ANZAC Park in Nelson, New Zealand:
Happy Zoo Lover’s Day!! Yep, I guess there is a day for everything.
If you, like me, love zoos, I definitely recommend you visit the Melbourne Zoo in Australia at some point. The Melbourne Zoo is not only beautiful, but it is recognized for having great animal conservation programs (for local and international species).
One of its highest achievements is it’s Platypusary (yes, it’s a real word!), in which they conserve, protect, and help reproduce one of Australia’s most peculiar animals: the Platypus!
Did you know today is the International No Smoking Day? Yep, today is all about awareness of our health and how smoking affects us. Won’t make much of a difference to stop for a single day, but hey, smokers should count every triumph, little as it may be!
Luckily I never got into smoking, so I don’t have to worry. But for all you smokers out there, here is a little inspiration to stop smoking. I found this sign outside of Wat Rong Khun, AKA. the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Chalermchai Kositpipat, the famous Thai artist who designed and fully funded the (still ongoing) construction of the temple, had the theme of our soul’s ticket to either Heaven or Hell, based on our vices vs our positive actions. The Temple itself represents heaven, while the surroundings, this sculpture included, represent Hell. Not to say smoking alone is a ticket going down to a fiery inferno; however, according to him, it does contribute to our self-destruction
Now, whether or not you believe in Heaven and Hell, this statue is scary enough it might inspire you to not smoke… at least for today, No Smoking Day!
Congratulations to all the ladies out there!
To celebrate Women’s Day, here’s a picture of typical Mexican dolls. These dolls, although basic, are each carefully crafted and can be bought on the street for CDN$1 – $5 depending on their size.
I have bought a few of these cute dolls over the years (in different sizes, usually as souvenirs for friends, although I have kept a couple), and always pay the maker the equivalent of $5 for them, as I feel they are largely undervalued (they are the only means of income for many poor people).
I asked an elderly lady at the market in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, if I could take a picture of her creations, after purchasing a few dolls from her. I find the dolls adorable, and consider them an important part of my culture!
Wishing all my kiwi friends a happy Waitangi Day. I hope everyone enjoys the day with your family and friends!
To celebrate, here is a picture of me in April 2011, in Rotorua, trying to be a Maori Warrior (tongue is out; not much more seems intimidating).
Happy Australia Day!
Can’t believe it’s been a year since I celebrated Australia Day in Sydney, Australia, by hosting a BBQ for my friends, including lots and lots of beer, followed by a night out in the town – all in true Aussie style!
To celebrate this special day, here is Australia’s coat of arms… created with real animals. A little creepy, yes, but totally awesome. This Australian coat of arms is found at the Melbourne Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Go check it out!
The 15th of January 2013 marks two years since I officially got my domain, and specialized my blogging into travel-related posts only.
As mentioned on my 200th Blog Post, I have big plans for 2013, including raising my average readership from 50 views / day in 2012, to 75 views / day in 2013… and posting a heck of a lot more often than I ever have!
Thank you again for visiting my blog. Without my loyal readers, I probably wouldn’t be striving for making this a better blog.
No cake to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my blog, but how about a picture of Clausito’s Footprints to celebrate?
Día de los Reyes (Day of the Kings, or Day of the Wise Men) is the official celebration of the 12th day of Christmas, which falls every year on the 6th of January. Religiously, today celebrates the arrival of the wise men, bearing gifts for baby Jesus.
In Mexico, Día de los Reyes is a huge celebration with great traditions. The 6th of January is when Mexican children find gifts under the Christmas tree (although many celebrate Santa Claus as well, getting double dibs!).
We also like to celebrate the day by getting together with our families and friends, drinking Mexican hot chocolate, and eating Rosca de Reyes, a Day of Kings sweet bread in the shape of a giant doughnut, adorned with dry fruits. Hidden somewhere inside the bread is a small plastic figure in the shape of a baby; whoever finds this figure (which represents the moment in which the Wise Men finally found Jesus after his birth), is expected to host a party for everyone present, on the 2nd of February.
All in all, today is the end and last celebration of the Christmas season, and a great excuse to spend time with loved ones!
Happy New Years!
As I reflect on 2012, I realize that this is the year I’ve gotten to travel the most in my life. So far, at least. Traveling has become such an important passion in my life, that I cannot imagine myself living without it.
This year: 2012, began with me in Sydney, Australia, as the Sydney Harbour Bridge (and the entire Harbour, really) lit up with fireworks for their world-renowned New Years Eve celebrations. A fabulous spectacle to welcome an even more fabulous year.
During my last days in Australia, I escaped my then-daily life in Sydney to visit Tasmania for a week and Melbourne for a weekend. After my mid-winter return in February 2012 to rainy Vancouver, Canada, I took an escapade to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico, for 10 days in March, before coming back to reality. A few months in, I took one week off to see Alaska, USA aboard a Princess Cruise in August, followed by a quick four-day conference for work in Turks & Caicos in September.
To celebrate the Halloween season, some friends and I went on a five-day trip to Disneyland in California, USA, another dream come true. Less than a month later I went on my last trip of 2012: a two-week trip around Thailand, with a one-day visit to Seoul, South Korea.
What a ride 2012 was!
The realization that I don’t have enough time in my lifetime to visit everywhere I want to visit, nor see everything I want to see, saddens me deeply. On the other hand, the unknown opportunities which still lie ahead, to discover new places, meet new people, and see new things, really excites me.
In short, 2012 was fantastic, and although 2013 isn’t looking busy with travels as of yet, I will make sure to make the most of travel opportunities for the rest of my life. Travel has become a huge part of who I am, and I love to admit it.
Happy New Years, and may 2013 bring you lots of love, health, and many new adventures!
Day #12: Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas everyone, from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Hope everyone is celebrating whatever you celebrate with loved ones, wherever you are. Best wishes for the season xx.
Christmas is almost here, and the 12 days of Christmas activities list in Vancouver, Canada, have almost come to an end. Today’s treat, is a Christmas classic not exclusive to Vancouver – one of the season’s most famous ballets; one who most people surely have heard of at some point in their lives.
Day #11: Goh Ballet Academy’s ‘The Nutcracker’
On Friday the 21st of December 2012 I went to see the Goh Ballet Academy’s production of the classic Christmas tale: ‘The Nutcracker.’ This was the first time I saw ‘The Nutcracker‘ and the first time I ever went to the ballet – I really enjoyed the experience!
The story is reminiscent of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ but set in a Christmas world. The ballet, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was performed for the first time 120 years ago just this past week. This classical ballet continues to have multiple yearly productions all over the world; the ballet today continue to captivate the minds and hearts of the audience. And it’s easy to see why: because it’s truly magical.
‘The Nutcracker‘ is a beautiful story about a girl, Clara, who is given a wooden nutcracker as a Christmas gift during a Christmas party. As Clara falls asleep, she goes into an adventure along with the nutcracker, who soon becomes a handsome prince.
When Clara falls asleep, the set around her grows bigger, giving the illusion that she has shrunk. Shortly, a band of rats (and impossibly adorable little kids, dressed as mice), led by the rat king, attack the girl. The nutcracker comes to the rescue, along with his army of toy soldiers, and after a battle, the king rat is defeated.
The nutcracker (who has now turned into a handsome prince) and Clara go on to an enchanted winter wonderland, where they are greeted by a the snow king and queen, along with dancing snowflakes. Then, they take a sleigh over to a beautiful place (the Kingdom of Sweets) where they are entertained by a number of performers from all corners of the world: Spain, Arabia, China, and Russia. There is also a sequence of dancing flowers, before the Sugarplum Fairy takes to the stage, dancing various numbers along with a prince.
At the end of this beautiful string of ballets, Clara, with the wooden nutcracker in her arms, is woken up by her mother. The ballet ends leaving the viewer with the question of whether the entire thing was a dream, or if the girl was actually transported to the beautiful wonderland.
Goh Ballet Academy’s Take on the Ballet
Let’s begin with the sets. The sets were amazing. The detail on every component of each set was impeccable, and it was sometimes hard not to pay as much attention to the set itself as to the performers. There were a few set changes: the outside of a mansion, then the inside of it, followed by a winter wonderland in Act I. Act II begins with a Heaven-like set, complete with clouds, before moving to the Kingdom of Sweets, a beautiful city-like set, which appears to be carved of wood.
Costume-wise, the costumes are fantastic. Everything from the beautiful glittering tutus of the fairies and snowflakes, to the outfits of the citizens and the soldiers, to the stereotypical clothes of the world performers, to the rat disguises, were captivating. There was so much detail and care put into the costumes that they enthralled the viewers, make everyone feel connected to Clara’s adventure.
As for the ballet itself, it is outstanding. The principal dancers in this production are members of the New York City Ballet and are expectedly talented. What was surprising (simply because of the hype given to the guest stars), is our local talent. Vancouver’s own Goh Ballet Academy has some admirable dancers. Everyone, from the older, more experienced dancers, to the little children dressed as mice, were a joy to watch. The synchronicity of the performers in some of the numbers, when there were a dozen of them dancing along, was admiringly perfect.
Kudos as well to the Vancouver Opera Orchestra for providing their talent to bring to life the magic of The Nutcracker with Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music. Another talented bunch, hidden under the stage, out of sight, but a crucial part of the story telling!
Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker only played from the 19th to the 23rd of December 2012, at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. However, if you get the chance to see the ballet in your city or in a future year (I know we get a production of it in Vancouver every year – this year we got two different ones!), I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!