The Travel Ahh…A Lasting Impression

© Stephanie Glaser

When traveling with kids, you hope they will appreciate culture as much as you do. You also, when they are young, hope they will remember what they have experienced. In 2010, the beautiful dances of Bali, in particular, Legong Dancing, definitely made an impression on my daughter Kasey.

We went to a show in Ubud that was spectacular. Then, little did we know, we would see more Legong dancing in several restaurants (geared for tourists). The striking music always caught our attention — especially Kasey’s. She would look around and wait for the princesses to come out.

For her, these beautiful princesses, who were unlike the Disney princesses that she loves, captivated her even more. The music that complements the dancing so well also stuck with her.

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The Travel Ahh…Walking

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

On the move. Many of my travel photos share a theme of walking.  It’s such an ordinary action. However, I love scenes of people walking in towns, villages and cities. It shows people in motion and conveys a feeling of a vibrant place. Walking photos also can show a casual, laid back environment.

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Gimme Shelter — The “Bonsai Tree” Temple in Bali

© Stephanie Glaser

Pura Taman Ayun Temple — or the Royal Temple of Mengwi in Bali, has structures that remind me of neatly groomed bonsai trees. I realize that does not sound technical, but who wants to sound technical when talking about such a spiritual and serene place? Balinese Hindu Temples have a calming effect — especially since the settings for many of these religious sites involve water. This beautiful open-air temple complex includes a moat, garden, terraced courtyards and holy shrines.

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Avoid the Oops — Not Trying the Language

Katerina, my new Greek friend who taught me the proper Greek alphabet
© Stephanie Glaser

During a layover from Athens to Amsterdam, I took advantage of a free minibus tour of Budapest, arranged by the airline company on which I flew. Because the tour was conducted completely in Greek, I didn’t learn much about Budapest, but I befriended the seven other travelers on the van who were all from Greece.

The only Greek word that I knew was “Efharisto,” (thank you) so whenever I could use it, I did.

Katerina, a seven-year-old girl who was part of the minivan crew, giggled and said something to Gabriella, one of the two English speakers in the group. Gabriella told me that Katerina found it funny that the only thing I could say in Greek was “thank you.”

Through Gabriella, I told Katerina I actually knew the Greek alphabet. I spared relaying the details of how I had learned her language’s alphabet, along with such skills as playing quarters and other drinking games, while in a sorority at college. Then in a moment of silliness, I sang her the version I had learned courtesy of Delta Gamma.

For a minute, as everyone sat in silence, I thought I had offended them. Then all the Greeks broke out into uproarious laughter. Clearly they got a big kick out of the Alpha Beta Gamma ditty, and they had a hard time composing themselves again.

Although slightly embarrassed, I never felt like they thought I was an idiot. Entertaining, yes, but stupid, no. In fact, Katerina and her grandfather offered to give me a proper lesson in the alphabet. They patiently waited for me to repeat each letter after them.

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The Travel Ahh…

© Stephanie Glaser

Even at our hotel in Sanur, Bali, we saw a lifeguard place a “Canang Sari” and sticks of incense on the cement pool deck near the waterside. These simple but beautiful baskets are traditional offerings meant to thank the Hindu gods, and you see them everywhere in Bali.

The baskets, made out of coconut leaves, contain flowers, rice and sometimes money. It is a comforting sight to see the Canang Sari and these offerings remind everyone, including tourists, the importance of following traditions and being thankful.

The Travel Oops Interview (The Rickshaw Wreck)

For a Westerner, India seems ready made for a Travel Oops. Certainly, at the very least, visitors, inevitably, encounter the unexpected.

Jane Whitmer, a program manager who teachers a Nurturing Parenting class for the Family and Youth Initiative in Salida, CO, says her travel mantra is “Be open to the Possibilities.”

With that attitude, she traveled to India in the summer of 2012, and at one point, she even told one of her traveling companions, “You’re in for a ride now, Helen. This is India.”

A seasoned traveler, Whitmer had wanted to visit India for the past 10 years. After arriving there in June, her adventures included having a cobra rest on her head; meditating and doing yoga at an ashram; staying at a rickshaw driver and his family’s house; walking on a back road that included obstacles like irrigation channels, barbed wire fences and bulldozers; and riding on a bus that traveled via a one-lane road over an 18,000 ft. mountain pass — just to name a few.

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Ditching the Strollers in Bali

At the Denpasar Airport. No car seats
© Stephanie Glaser

No kid car seats. I convinced myself this was no big deal as I looked in the eight-passenger seat van that had arrived to pick us up at the Denpasar Airport. Calm down. This is Bali and things are a bit different here. I asked the driver, Waylan, if there were some seats lying around that needed to be set up.

“No, I am sorry, we don’t have car seats for the little ones,” Waylan said as he hoisted up my three-year-old daughter Kasey and tickled her chin. He then leaned over to give her five-year-old brother, Eddie, a high-five.

“They will be fine,” he reassured my husband Kurt and me with a smile displaying the most reflective set of white teeth I’ve seen aside from a Crest White Strips ad. “I am an excellent driver.”

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The Friday Travel Ahh….

Even holy men need a break!
© Stephanie Glaser

As anyone who travels knows, there are missteps, mishaps and misadventures, but then there are those perfect moments when we say: “yeah, this is why I travel.” A Travel Ahh..

When we visited Tanah Lot, a sacred Hindu temple in Bali, Kurt and I were excited to get a rice blessing at the site of a holy water spring below the temple. The Hindu holy men brush water on your forehead and then they adhere a few rice grains. After the rice cluster is secured, the priests place a plumeria behind your ear. It’s lovely event. I snapped the top photo while waiting for our turn. Even holy men need a break! The bottom photos are of our kids Eddie and Kasey getting their blessings.

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The Friday Travel Ahh….

© Stephanie Glaser

As anyone who travels knows, there are missteps, mishaps and misadventures, but then there are those perfect moments when we say: “yeah, this is why I travel.” A Travel Ahh..

This series of photos was taken at a beach in Sanur, Bali. My son, Eddie, who was five at the time, was intrigued not only by a traditional fishing boat but by some local boys who were playing in the water. Eddie slowly made his way over to check things out. The local boys included him in their water games. Eddie definitely had some Balinese buds by the end of the day. This, to me, is a little slice of the world in perfect harmony.

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Ballistic Bali Belly, a Squat Toilet and the Perfect Sunset

The sunset we almost didn’t see.
© Stephanie Glaser

I knew it would happen. We were in Southeast Asia; it was inevitable. I just didn’t think that our encounter with a squat toilet would take place at Bali’s spectacular Tanah Lot right as the sun moved in for an incredible and blazing appearance.

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