.: The Teahouse
I wrote in an earlier post that I have been playing around with Google Gadgets. One place you can use these gadgets is on personalised iGoogle pages. I shall not delve into the privacy and security pros and cons of iGoogle and personalisation now, because I'm feeling strangely inspired by iGoogle's Teahouse theme. This Japanese inspired theme features the daily routine of a fox character outside his teahouse and orchard by a pond.
The Teahouse theme's gentle simplicity is seductively relaxing. I have always loved cartoons like that, especially lantern lit night scenes which hint at life after sundown. Places where the night air is pleasant and mosquitos never annoy you. I would love to be that fox staring into the night sky with his telescope, though mine is red and the skies are obscured by the city lights. It is winter now, not the endless summer of the teahouse. Time for snuggling under the doona, for hot fires and warm drinks.
Roland Harvey is another who's cartoon world I wished to experience. I treasured his Australiana Christmas card scenes, regretted posting the cards away. I miss them now that they are no longer sold.
Memories are stirred by the teahouse. I recall our two week trip to Japan last year. Walking through the lantern lit Kenroku-en gardens in Kanazawa during the cherry blossom festival. Sipping green tea on a tatami mat and gazing across a gorgeous garden and pond in the Samurai district of that same city. Hot baths at the end of the day at the ryokan, then laying down on the unrolled futon, surprisingly comfortable, breathing in the scent of the straw floor.
As we drove back along the F6 on Saturday under clear blue skies we realised that it had been over a year since we had gone on a decent length road trip in the country. That morning we had taken Kita to Hanrob for his weekly obedience lessons. He still has a bit to learn, but we are so glad that his personality is so very different to the rottweilers and staffies that were also at the class.
It was too nice a day to waste indoors so we continued on to Stanwell Tops and ate the famous hot dogs while gazing down the cliffs at the Pacific Ocean. There were no hang gliders that day, but the view is stunning.
Took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up driving southwards for quite a distance before we found a turn-off back to Sydney. I miss the long drives through the country.
The recent holiday to Hong Kong, China and Japan (hereafter referred to as HKCJ07) was our ninth overseas. Each trip is special for its own experiences, but I have favourites whose memories I savour. On each holiday I want to recapture the essence of what made those favourite holidays so special. Unfortunately, much as I enjoyed our recent holiday I don't think I can classify it as in the top three and I think it's important to find out why.
Without any doubt the gold standard in my holiday memories is our honeymoon in Paris. Nothing can compare to the joy of just getting married, the utter contentment we both felt. I doubt that we can ever recapture the amazement of seeing Paris for the first time either. One aspect that I thought contributed a lot to that trip was spending the night before in a good hotel overlooking the airport. By doing so we eliminated that last minute rush to pack and get to the airport, allowing us to savour the trip there. The outlook across the airport also served to whet the appetite.
On our previous trip to Japan, which is probably the second best holiday overall, we also spent the night prior to departure in a hotel. The last minute work completed in the hotel and the very early start somewhat negated the positive aspects of the hotel stay, but it still offered that crucial break before the journey's beginning.
I spend a lot of time considering the beginnings of journeys as I often find the excitement of being underway to be the most memorable aspect of a trip. We didn't stay in a hotel prior to flying out on our HKCJ07 holiday. Instead I spent the day at work furiously trying to complete my projects while B stayed at home. There was the pleasant aspect of a farewell lunch with friends as well as the feeling of the journey beginning as I walked out of my workplace into the late afternoon light.
Less than a week I have been back and already I pine to begin another journey. I listen for the jets as they fly over, look up at the clear sky and think I would like to be up there, on my way to Europe. It is an addiction.
Why do I love to travel so? Is it the intellectual stimulation of travel. Everyday new sights for the eyes. The mind busy trying to understand different languages, abstracting the world around it from maps, planning transport connections, writing thousands of words every night. In comparison the routine life of home and work is the habit of the unconcious. The familiar is scary, the unknown is welcomed.
My Hong Kong, China and Japan holiday blog is at http://allriteinasia.blogspot.com/. Click on the photo to view the gallery (link updated as the gallery has been moved to Picasaweb).
As usual it's near panic stations as we rapidly approach our trip to Hong Kong, China and Japan. You would think that we have it all down pat by now, but each time we decide to do things just that much differently. It is partly due to the destination; we may need to be more independent in China than Japan or Europe, security concerns also differ between locations. Our holiday strategies also evolve. This time we are trying to travel lighter. Yet travelling lighter involves purchasing a new backpack, lighter, faster drying clothes. Independence and rougher conditions mean travel towels, inner sheets, TraveLAN medicine to guard against illness, a Swiss Army knife for situations that scream for multifunction gadgets.
I've been busy with last minute household chores, purchases, going to the doctor (it's all good), ripping music and movies into formats suitable for travel and searching for plugs, locks, cables and all the other bits and pieces that go in the luggage. In the meantime I've barely been at work, having been kicked out of the office due to safety worries again.
I'm tired and I appear to be sick, just before we are leaving. It has reminded me of how important leisure time is. The pleasure of sitting down and watching TV or reading a novel. I overdosed on travel books the other week and needed to read a decent science fiction story.
There has been fun as well. Last Sunday we took Kita and the in-laws' two cavalier king charles spaniels down to the beach at Kurnell. Kita took one look at the water and ran straight in. He loved it! We are going to miss him so much while we are on holidays.
Now, time to mow the lawn, wash to fish tank etc, etc, etc...
"Shanghai, a coastal haven located midway on China's mainland..." - CNTO Tourist Map of Shanghai
And I always imagined a coastal haven to be a small town on the beach...
The Korea Tourism Organisation's Korea Seoul Tourist Map's Jeju-si City section displays one location as the Myeongdoam Tourist Recuperation Pasture. Somewhere to graze after a holiday? For our friends across the Tasman?