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The Reclining Buddha

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The Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas is 46 meters long and 15 meters high (150 ft by 49 ft). Sihasaiyas refers to the sleeping/reclining posture of a lion.  

Phra Vihara, the hall of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 during the reign of Rama III. The figure is made with lacquered and guilded stucco over a brick-based corpus.

The Buddha’s head rests on two box pillows inlaid with glass mosaics and is supported by his right hand.
The feet of the Buddha is 5 meters in length and 3 meters in height (16 ft by 9.8 ft). Notice his toes which are all even in size and height.
The soles of the Buddha's feet are inlaid with mother of pearl and have 108 panels showing the auspicious symbols with which he is identified. These auspicious symbols can be grouped into three categories: symbols of fortune and prosperity such as the lotus, attributes of greatness of the king such as the throne, and religious cosmology such as the ocean and heavenly forest. There are two circles, one on each fo…

Planta, From Ice Plant to Art Space

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There's a burgeoning art scene in Roxas City. Following the successful run of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (Viva Excon) Biennale in November 2018 led by Black Artists Asia, the seafood capital is welcoming a new outdoor art space in the heart of the city. 
Planta is just across the river from the cluster of cultural heritage structures of Roxas City. It recently hosted Primero, an arts and crafts fair which formally introduced the murals painted by the group, Vinyl on Vinyl (VOV) of Manila with the help of fourteen local artists hand picked by Lloyd Develos. This project is the gift of Atty. Blas Viterbo who owns Planta, a former power station and ice plant, to his hometown.
The first mural (above) is of a hand lifting the curtain to reveal a wider perspective of what Capiz has to offer. Alternatively, it may represent how artists from neighboring towns perceive Capiz from an artistic point of view. A monitor lizard has planted itself on the hand of Dr. …

October

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What does October remind you of? Pumpkins and marigolds
Golden trees and falling leaves
"O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled, Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day; At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away." Robert Frost
Discovering there are other types of pumpkins Orange you glad
Crawling vines turning red and gold
Corn with black ears 
Pumpkin pie. But can you make pies from these pumpkins with warts?
Pleasant walks with a warm sweater Cool, crisp air Steaming and sweet apple cider
Ghouls and trolls Trick or treat Candy Pumpkin wishes and Halloween dreams.
What are your October feels?
*****
Images by TravelswithCharie

Albi on the Tarn

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Having arrived by train from Toulouse in early afternoon, I was greeted by a peaceful ambiance that belied the bloody history of this river town. Albi was an active center of Catharism in southwestern France in the 13th century. The Catholic Church considered their beliefs heretical and was challenged by their existence. In 1209, Pope Innocent III launched a crusade against the Cathars led by Simon de Montfort. The Albigensian Crusade as it was called, was a ruthless 20-year war that extinguished the Catharis until they no longer posed a threat to the Church. In the aftermath of the crusade, the King of France solidified his stronghold in the Languedoc by taking the estates of the Counts of Toulouse and the independent princes. The Catholic Church reclaimed their hold of Albi with the construction of the fortress-like Cathedral of Sainte Cécile which started in 1282. Sainte Cécile is the largest brick built cathedral in the world. The Cathedral's 78-meter (256 ft.) steeple served …

Suite Dreams

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When someone wishes you “Bon Voyage” and they really mean it. You arrive at the gate and they give you a boarding pass listing your seat assignment in first class. You are the first to board the aircraft and when you get to your suite, the flight attendant asks you if you would like champagne, mimosa or orange juice. Pretty soon it’s time for cocktails. Delta Airlines warms up the mixed nuts they serve. Can’t get enough of it. Then a four course dinner paired with the right wine from a list drawn by a connoisseur follows. After the dinner service you may close your door and enjoy a movie or two. When flying across the Pacific I indulge in Japanese movies with powerful stories about ordinary people. It’s a long flight home and you wish to lie down and stretch your tired, old body. The seat reclines to reveal a bed. You have a warm comforter and fluffy pillow. Suite dreams.

The spacious first class cabin of Delta Airlines.

Delta amenity kit in a Tumi bag, slippers and bottled water.

How to…

The Aura of Calm

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On a recent unexpected layover in Tokyo, we were lucky to find a hotel in Shinagawa with a beautiful strolling garden. I would have missed it had I not caught a glimpse of greenery from the lobby after my morning walk. Since there was not much time before checkout, I skipped to the back door to discover this secret garden in the shadow of towering buildings. I wanted to learn more about Japanese gardens after this trip and found that there are several elements  defining a Japanese garden. 
First of these are the trees and plants which are especially chosen to provide texture. Various types of shrubbery, grasses, moss, conifers and trees are carefully selected depending on the type of garden. There are no shade trees. Subtle use of color is achieved with flowering trees and shrubs like azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas. A stone pagoda lantern completes the picture. Water and carp. The Japanese garden is a refuge of calm especially for city dwellers weary of the daily grind and water has …

Marc Chagall Museum in Nice

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In 1966, Marc Chagall donated the group of paintings collectively known as “Biblical Message” to the French State. These paintings were exhibited at the Louvre and became the inspiration for the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice which was inaugurated in 1973 and attended by the artist himself. This biblical series of 17 large scale paintings form the core of the exhibition. 250 works were initially donated by Chagall. Aside from the paintings, there are sculptures, bas reliefs, a ceramic piece, lithographs and copies of his illustrated books. A mosaic wall called, The Prophet Elijah, presides in the courtyard.

Every Chagall painting has more than one story to tell. I learned to watch for the little vignettes scattered throughout his canvases so I wouldn’t miss the rich narratives that define his works.

The Creation of Man, 1956-58 An angel carries Adam from the ocean where animals thrived prior to the creation of man. The rays of a swirling sun evoke the artistic style of Delaunay (who…

One Enchanted Evening in Carcassonne

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It was a cool evening in mid-April when I first laid eyes on La Cité, the fortified medieval village of Carcassonne. I was on the Pont Vieux with a few other souls enjoying the view of the illuminated citadel. Looking up at its outline against the darkening sky was like stepping into a fairy tale.
The new bridge and its reflection on the Aude river added a romantic ambiance to the crisp night air.
Daylight gave La Cité a different presence. Stone cold walls and watchtowers rise above the Aude whose banks were wrapped in green and early spring blooms.
La Cité has a double set of fortifications. The inner walls were built during the Gallo Roman era and the outer walls which can be seen from the image above, were constructed during the reign of Louis IX in the 13th century. La Cité was in decay in the 19th century prompting the French government to order its demolition. The outcry from the residents brought about the extensive renovations made by the architect, Eugène Viollet le Duc, who wa…