07 August 2012

Around the World...Asia

Second stop: Asia

Asia is the largest and most populated continent on earth home to 60% of the worlds' entire population, or 3.9 billion. I found out that in the 20th century alone the population of Asia quadrupled.

Some of the worlds' oldest civilizations are found here, originating in the fertile river valleys across this vast continent. There are 48 countries in Asia with distinct personalities.

There are two places that I would like to travel in Asia: Thailand and India. 
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Thailand

Thailand is one of the oldest nations, with human habitation dating to 40,000 years ago. It is a sprawling country influenced by its geography: from mountains in the north to a fertile river valley in the northeast with the border of the Mekong River and the flatlands leading to the Gulf of Thailand and the southern isthmus of the Malay Peninsula.

{Interesting architecture. Photo by mykaul}
The architecture does it for me once again but this time with the fanciful buildings and temples in Thailand. Meticulous details are everywhere. Tiled roofs, elegant facades, carved details and everything with a touch of gold. Buildings have a sense of national pride about them compared to most buildings that I see each day do not. Of course I am sure that to go shopping for beads in Thailand would be an ultimate dream come true. I have some hand fabricated Thai silver beads that were carried back for me from a local professor who went there a few years ago, and I can just imagine what a shopping trip that must have been! I gave him $50 and said bring me back anything with a hole! I still have hand made dragonflies, hand carved jade frogs and some amazing silver origami box beads that I am hoarding.

{Wouldn't it be cool to live in a building with mosaic tiled dragons on the roof? Photo by mykaul}
While looking for places that would be cool to visit in Thailand, I came across a statistic that Thailand is the leading exporter of rice in the world. I love the look of those stepped rice paddies and the climate must be just right in that fertile river valley.


I also found out that there is a floating food market that is very popular in Bangkok. What started as a few boats with fresh produce now is like a little floating city with snacks and meals prepared daily. Visiting this would be like pretending I am Anthony Bourdain ;-) This would be the best way to experience the vibrancy of spirit and immerse yourself in the culture of a people!

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India

The Taj Mahal is arguably the most beautiful and recognizable structure on the planet. The graceful lines of the roof, the spires standing sentinel, the meticulously groomed gardens and the meeting between sky and water are all iconic. I have seen so many images of this place and they are never the same. The way the light hits it is magnificent.



Traditional Indian rituals, like those to get married, are fascinating to me. I love the rich color of sari fabrics and would one day love to wear one. I think you could not help but feel regal in it!



I am not a big fan of tattoos. But I have always wanted to get a henna mehndi painted on me. There is something so lovely about the patterns and intricate swirls and the way the artists do this freehand. I also love the impermanence of it all. That reminds me that nothing lasts forever. Maybe this fall when our community celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Festival of India, I will have to get one!


So there you have it. Two places in Asia that fascinate me.


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Next stop: Europe

Your turn...
What images do you associate with Asia? What countries would you long to see on this vast and ancient continent?

6 comments:

Courtney said...

Your pictures are absolutely intoxicating! (a bit jealous of your bead stash from Thailand)

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

My full-time job is at a small university. I used to rent out a room and I've had a boarder from both Thailand and India (and South Korea). Lovely young women.

A Half-Baked Notion said...

Erin, I would love to hear more about your local Festival of India. I feel a connection to India, not because of any ancestry or personal ties, but a spiritual affinity, perhaps. Thanks for the lovely colour inspiration!

Kim Stevens said...

Fun stuff, but I'm intrigued by your local Festival of India, and yes get that henna, my daughter and I will be right behind ya!

P.S. - nudge, nudge - I almost forgot to remind you about the pendant!

Kristen said...

So regal and beautiful! We have a small population of people from India in the city and I have to say they are the sweetest people.

Kristen said...

Oh and you should totally get the henna mehndi!!!!

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