Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong

Some Laotian and Thai people believe that serpent-like creatures (nagas) inhabit the chocolate-colored waters of the Mekong River. In Lao mythology, nagas protect Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, and beyond. These snake-like creatures also adorn many nooks and crannies of Laos’ jewel city, Luang Prabang. Some followers of Buddhism even attribute mysterious fireball-like projectiles to theContinue reading “Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong”

Twinkle, Twinkle Wat Xieng Thong – Luang Prabang, Laos

In the late afternoon sunlight, the small shrine’s mosaic-adorned walls shimmered like precious gems. As I shifted my footing and perspective — moving only mere inches at a time — different vignettes were illuminated by the vibrant rays. This Buddhist shrine, on which the cut glass portrays Buddhist imagery, is one of twenty structures inContinue reading “Twinkle, Twinkle Wat Xieng Thong – Luang Prabang, Laos”

An Afternoon at Angkor Wat

During my maiden (and solo) visit to Angkor Wat, I glimpsed the majestic Cambodian structure at sunrise. Seeing the inky sky gradually awaken over the site and then illuminate it with a shrimp-colored hue was a magical experience. But in the years since, I’d read that the sunrise experience had lost some of its luster,Continue reading “An Afternoon at Angkor Wat”

Threshing Rice on Christmas Day in Cambodia

‘Twas Christmas Day in Cambodia… The sun shone brightly overhead. Golden grass and towering palm trees danced in the strong gusts of wind. Cows mooed and baby chicks tiptoed about. Though we were far from our family and friends who are scattered throughout the world, we yearned to have a special holiday.  And indeed weContinue reading “Threshing Rice on Christmas Day in Cambodia”

A Day at Versailles: Visiting the Palace of the Sun King

On a September day that was replete with sunshine, we voyaged to Versailles, the decadent Baroque palace of France’s roi soleil (sun king). As Shawn and I wandered among the palace’s 250 gardened acres and peered through windows into the gilded interiors — just as a subject might have done 300 years ago — I was remindedContinue reading “A Day at Versailles: Visiting the Palace of the Sun King”