giovedì 16 febbraio 2012
Thong Bay, a little bit out of the center but easily reachable by tuk tuk. The rooms are big, clean and basically furnished with an exquisite taste. They also have a cooking school inside and the owner cooks marvellous food. I took my first tour of the center of Ventiane where I basically strolled around the gravel roads and had about ten chats with Buddhist monks who also invited me into their convent to stay for praying time. Have you ever heard buddhist monks pray? It's one of the most spiritual experiences you can have. The guttural sound they make at the same moment in one voice makes you shiver for its beauty. Papaya owned by a Basc man married to a Laotian woman , but the best experience was to have a herbal steam bath and a massage on the terrace at Wat Sok Pa Luang also called forest temple. It is really in a forest and the temple itself is nice and extremely peaceful. The herbal saunas are amazing . The place may look a little scruffy at first but after you try it and then have a massage outside in the shade of the forest trees, that is real paradise let me tell you. Other things to see and do include of course visit to the temples like Pha That Luang the symbol of buddhist religion and Laos sovereignty with its golden cupola and Wat Si Sakhet or Wat Si Muang or monuments like Patuxai the local Arch of Triumph in the very center. Also a little bit out of town there is Xieng Khuang or Buddha park a very peculiar place where you can see very bizarre sculptures of different gods and of course of Buddha made of concrete.
mercoledì 1 febbraio 2012
I loved this movie when I saw it a few years ago! If you haven't seen it you definitely should especially if you're a woman. Of course the reason why I posted it is because it is set in Beirut, a magical place where I went for a long weekend to meet one of my dearest friends who was instead coming from Syria. In the beginning everybody was concerned that I was going to such a dangerous(?)place ..Dangerous. really? Why? I called the consulate and as a matter of fact they basically talked to me as if I was a paranoid.. It's funny how sometimes problems from the past can affect us all the time. Anyway I took a very bad Alitalia flight (as always) and got there late at night. I booked a room at Bristol hotel very beautiful old fashioned luxury hotel where for the price of a single room I got an amazing suite. Mind you Beirut is very expensive for tourists,especially hotels, so you should really try to find a good deal. I went there in April and the weather was fantastic. Pleasantly warm and sunny. When I got out of the hotel in the morning I saw a typically Mediterranean lively city. Nevertheless apart from the apparent calm and non chalance, it is not just a Mediterranean city. While in the taxi I breathed the light scent of oranges and sea wind and lost myself in the apparent peace until I started seeing some buildings still carrying the signs of war, the UN jeep trying to back up in a one way street and a tank (which I only has seen bfore in the news)stationing outside a government building, and was abruptly brought back to reality. Al Balad,a traditional restaurant where the food is exquisitely good and where I met my friend by chance. The specialty is red hummus which is absolutely to die for. Lebanese cuisine is one of my favourite in general and the food in this restaurant is absolutely delicious. And in truth: who can resist hummus? I certainly can't. Abdel Wahaba beautiful and lively restaurant with excellent food in Achrafieh and then went on to Buddha Bar where we danced until 3 in the morning and that was basically the leit motiv of the weeekend. Waltz with Bashir which I consider almost a masterpiece and I strongly suggest to see it. The highlight of it are the rocks of Rauchè which are the symbol of this amazing city. I saw them from the plane as I was landing and then when I was leaving, but the most amazing sight was at night when a Lebanese friend of a friend took me there to watch them . By the way Ladies, WARNING: Lebanese men can be extremely dangerous. Velvety looks given with fiery dark eyes, captivating smiles, very attractive looks but most of all very charming and fascinating behaviour. Can tempt you even if you are in the most solid marriages. I warned you so don't say you were not advised.