Life, travel

Tibet (I): The colorful cities

Hi all, sorry for real long absence. It’s been a strenuous few months, the tough time of my life when God decided to test my inner strength and helped me grow. I’ve been everywhere, with wonderful nature, from SoCal to NorCal, with the most evil city, aka New York, and with God (Buddha, in our language) in Tibet. I will fill you in slowly.

Let’s start from Tibet where I was filled with so much positive energy that helped me heal and got me closer to understanding the real meaning of life, where I learned that forgiving and letting go feels beautiful and powerful, even though sometimes to hate is way easier. Everything happens for a reason, always for a good reason. Because of this, we should be grateful, even of the harsh things that test our strength in an unpleasant way. It is what we learn out of the difficult time and what we become that matter. Here are the photos I took in Tibet and Samye. I will show you the incredible natural landscape and talk about travel tips in another post.

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The Potala Palace , home of the Dalai Lama until late 50s. It is situated on a slope of Moburi (Red Mountain) and considered the quintessence of Tibetan architecture. You must get tickets at least one day in advance in order to get in. It is about 30 min walk from the ground level to the main entrance of the palace. Don’t walk too fast, otherwise you will get elevation sickness. Quite a few people pass out during/after the trip.

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Jokhang Temple (Lhasa), the most sacred temple in Tibet. Everyday thousands of pilgrims arrive at dawn to walk clockwise around the temple three times. When they pray, they place palms, elbows, toes, knees and forehead on the floor, in order to show reverence. It is quite disrespectful to take pictures of the pilgrims without their consent, so remember to ask them before you do so. Jokhang Temple was built for Princess WenCheng (Chinese) and Princess Bhrikuti (Nepalese) and therefore the architectural style is a mixture of Indian, Chinese (of the Tang Dynasty) and Nepalese style.

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Barkhor Street, the busiest street to shop and dine. If you heart bohemian style, you may go overboard with the jewelries like I did. Make sure you bargain, try starting from about 50% of the price they ask (yes, I said 50%!)

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Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery built in Tibet. Its layout is based on the structure of universe in the eyes of Buddha: the main temple in the center symbolizing the mythical palace on top of Mt. Meru, surrounding this is the “ocean”, with 4 smaller temples representing the great island-continents, and 8 representing subcontinents. It takes about 4-5 hours to get there  from Lhasa, not at all an easy trip, but it will worth it if you are a Buddhist. Here’s how to get there:

  1. by bus & boat– First, take a bus from Lhasa West Suburban Station to Samye Dock. It will take you 3 hours. Second, take a boat to Samye Monastery.
  2. by bus– There are buses bounding for Samye Monastery at Jokhang Temple Square at 6 and 7 a.m.

 

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My Daily Wear, travel

Behind the colorful walls

They say New Orleans has the biggest party in the States. It’s true and the parties are on every day, not just during Mardi Gras. If you have never been to French Quarter, you have no idea what crazy means. I guarantee you Vegas and Hollywood can’t compare. It’s like 100 different concerts happening at the same time in just two blocks of a street, free entrance. You’d think life just couldn’t get any better.

However, to every story, there’s always another side. Behind those colorful walls is the deepest sadness and utter horror. Number of the dead buried in this city is 10 times to the living, not sure if millions of slaves who were tortured to death 200-300 years ago are included (NOLA used to be the biggest wholesale market for slaves). Every resident I talked to acknowledges existence of ghosts. We visited the most haunted mansion in the country, once owned by the most brutal human in the world, lady LaLaurie and 2 centuries later by poor Nicolas Cage, whose career went dramatically downhill after he made the purchase. The façade of the building was frightening enough. If you’ve heard of lady LaLaurie, you’d understand what I am talking about. NOLA is a city with macabre history of inhuman violence and therefore cursed. Besides infamous hurricane Katrina and Rita, there has been countless catastrophic fires and floods that destroyed the city again and again. However terrible a disaster is, man’s inhumanity to man is worse.If you ever visit New Orleans, please don’t ignore its history.

May those spirits find a way to forgive.

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3.1 Phillip Lim moto leather jacket,
Zara sweater
B Brian Atwood booties
Saint LaurentEasy‘ bag

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French quarter. Food is generally pricey and horrible. Do not waste your money on that very well-overrated brunch in The Court of Two Sisters, unless you are curious how bad a pancake could taste. Plus there’s good music on the street, all free. Cafe Amelie was the only place that didn’t fail my stomach.

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Magazine Street. If you are a vintage lover, spend one afternoon or even one day to explore. I highly recommend a boutique named Lily New Orleans, their jewelry collection is amazing.

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Warehouse District, artsy but not as touristy as French Quarter. It has a great number of lovely galleries, boutiques and cafes. You’ll also find the best Po-boy in Mother’s restaurant on Poydras St.

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Life, My Daily Wear

Oak Alley Plantation

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The first morning in New Orleans, we rent a car, drove for 1.5 hours, past endless swamps and woods to get to this sugar cane plantation, blown away immediately by the world famous 200 year old oaks lining the walkway that leads to a spectacular antebellum mansion. It felt like travelling into the past, like stepping into Gone with the Wind. Everything was glorious and romantic, but I soon started to have a weird feeling, it was so extremely cold that I couldn’t even stand straight, while the temperature wasn’t really that low, consider I was in Vancouver only a week before. A tour guide told us some do feel uncomfortable when they are in the mansion, he had a visitor claiming that she was surrounded by ghosts and yelling out “get me outta here!” as soon as the tour started. I believe in the ghost tales, all the staff there do. Later we took a peak at the enslaved life at a recently added exhibit “Slavery at Oak Alley” where slave cabins were re-constructed to showcase the living conditions of slaves, who made all this happen, the garden, the house, and the luxurious lifestyle of the owners. Needless to say, those are humbling shabby huts you can’t imagine sleeping in. We left with a lasting impression of the breathtaking scenery, and meanwhile an uneasy feeling about the ugly truth underneath. It was just the beginning, tip of the iceberg, the feeling only got stronger during our stay in New Orleans. You’ll know more in my next post about French Quarter.

on Bella:
Burberry wool coat
on me:
3.1 Phillip Lim leather jacket, here
T by Alexander Wang skirt
BCBG Max Azria ‘Arcade’ cuffed ankle wedges, on sale here

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