Loving Laundry: When It Is Not Mine

When I look at my more recent travel photos, I notice a few things.

  • I still can’t take good photos 🙂 but I try (an “A” for effort, a “C” for results)
  • I take photos of everyday things, in fact, things I would never take photos of in Canada – doors, people cycling, people walking, people talking, people eating, us eating, and yes, even laundry
  • I take fewer photos of the regular “touristy” things like ruins, forts, museums, statues and on and on…

Having grown up with a historian as a father, I think I have rebelled. There is something about being “dragged” to every fort in Canada, that makes me, well, a little less engaged in that side of life, and more inclined to the present everyday kind of life.

So this is how it came to be that I have recently started taking photos of laundry, other people’s, of course. And oh how I wish, that I had done so, when I was younger and travelling more, but well… in those days… my focus was more on me, how I looked, who I met, and where to have fun. Any recent photos of me travelling indicates this is no longer the case!

Yes, things change even as a traveller. So here’s to me, now, a somewhat older traveller, who loves laundry, when it’s not mine.

How it all begins.. sometimes in a lake (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala)

How it all begins.. sometimes in a lake (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala)

Laundry in Venice (of course, it looks beautiful)

Laundry in Venice (of course, it looks beautiful)

Laundry in Chefchaouen, Morocco (everything in Chef is gorgeous)

Laundry in Chefchaouen, Morocco (everything in Chef is gorgeous)

Laundry in oh so sweet, Isla Janitzio in Mexico

Laundry in oh so sweet, Isla Janitzio in Mexico

Laundry in Ollantaytambo, Peru ( a bit more on the rustic side)

Laundry in Ollantaytambo, Peru ( a bit more on the rustic side)

Laundry in Jardin, Colombia

Laundry in Jardin, Colombia

Laundry in interesting shapes

Laundry in interesting shapes

Even backpackers have to do laundry, but it is never as pretty as the locals' laundry

Even backpackers have to do laundry, but it is never as pretty as the locals’ laundry

And, oh I know that the anticipation is almost too much to bear, but more laundry posts – Middle Eastern style – are on the horizon. I can’t wait 🙂

The Super Model of Swimming Pools Goes to South Africa

Seriously, would you ever return to a country for a swimming pool? Especially when swimming is not really your thing?

Well… some swimming pools are so beautifully situated such as the one shown above in Graskop, South Africa (Panorama Chalets) that yes.. I would consider dragging my family to South Africa to experience this pool, situated on the edge of a cliff over looking the Graskop gorge. I have been twice and this pool, stands out as one of my top memories of South Africa and that is competing with charging elephants in Kruger Park, Table Mountain in Cape Town and the oh so cute penguins on Boulder’s Beach outside Simon’s Town. That says a lot for a simple swimming pool.

When we were on our honeymoon, it was a pool at IL Poggio dei Pettirossi, on a hill overlooking the valley of Bevagna in Italy that made us miss our kids the most. We couldn’t even enjoy it knowing that they would have died and gone to heaven if they were swimming in it overlooking the Umbrian valley and all its sparkling lights at night. Chris honestly said we had to go back to Italy so they could swim in it… and yes, see Rome and Venice and a million other sights but that pool… again stands out.

We didn’t have Abby with us in Guatemala and we missed her the most at the Jungle Lodge in Tikal National Park when we floated in the pool watching and listening to the spider monkeys above in the trees.

So seriously… a pool can definitely play a part in a family’s travel experience when backpacking. I know of some “beyond brilliant ones” in Bali too… another reason to return there as well 🙂

Why Imperfect Trumps When Travelling

It started a long time ago for me and has continued now that I travel with my family. I am a “buck the traditional” kind of woman (“maiden name” – ridiculous words… but I still have mine; quit “traditional” law the minute I became a lawyer; had one daughter and ended up with four daughters (happily); changed careers many times and probably will once more. So needless to say, it is not a huge surprise that my favourite cities are NOT Paris and London as I much prefer grittier Amsterdam. When choosing Spanish language schools in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango beat out perfect Antigua so it was not too shocking that as a family we preferred Lake Atitlan villages again over Antigua, the “jewel” of Guatemala. After visiting Mexico, Chris declared Patzcuaro over San Miguel de Allende, another “expat haven” which is “perfectly aesthetic” but less us, I guess. Hands down we loved Essaouria over Marrakech and Fez in Morocco, strangely for some but again that is how we roll. I do have to admit that I love Bangkok but not for its touristy temples or other “must see” items. I prefer to wander, explore, people watch and get lost. Phnom Penh is my idea of perfectly “imperfect” but that was years ago, and I fear that it might have changed; as most places do. And I know I am very odd… but Cape Town was not a favourite for me; it was beautiful but not me. I much preferred the wild scenery of Lesotho, Swaziland and parts of Kwazulu Natal. When I look at my pictures, I gravitate to the regular, to the gritty side of life. Maybe that is why I am so obsessed with India because it has both; perfect and imperfect; all at the same time. Soon two of our blended family may be headed to a new city (one that when we tell people, the response is usually… umm) so granted to say, it is no Paris, no Vienna, no Florence, no Singapore. But because it will most likely be “perfectly imperfect” , we are not worried, we will be content and of course, find things to love.

And The Oscar Goes To…

Which country is your all-time favourite? A popular question to ask and a difficult, if not impossible one to answer.

I guess, not surprisingly, the nombre un pays to visit in 2014 was France, but I am surprised that Italy came in at 5th with the US (what?) beating it in number 2, Spain in number 3 and China in number 4.

I probably wouldn’t place any of the top 5 as my all-time favourite country but Italy did win the genetic lottery in terms of overall beauty. Hard to deny those basic facts. Given that, Italy was the choice for our honeymoon (much to the chagrin of our children who got to go to Boston for the family honeymoon). So in honour of the Oscars, I present pictures for 5th place Italy.

Maybe some day we will be really shocked and the Oscar will go to Bangladesh!