My one and only balloon trip was over the vineyards of Rioja and the town of Lograno in Northern Spain. It was both exhilarating and exciting but I’m not sure I would do it again! It was dark when we got to the spot and dawn was just breaking when we took off – it was magical, wonderful, and a time I shall always remember.
Here are a few photographs of the Ascent.
I apologise to the readers, I cannot get rid of the white space between two of the photographs. I shall have to work on this and try and re-edit.
It’s scary when the flame goes Whoosh (Is she praying, by the way?)
What cold be more orange that these gorgeous Spanish oranges. The very sight of them makes me salivate remembering how they tasted. How come we never seem to get really juicy oranges these days?
I never did find out why these young monks were changing their robes in the street by the Grand Palace in Bangkok, but they did it discreetly and looked decidedly pleased when they had accomplished the task.
I’m a sucker for anything that looks ‘local’ even though I know I shall never use it when I get home, but in my minds eye I can see me producing succulent food smelling of rosemary and garlic, mint and oregano, the whole resting on a bed of peppery olive oil and maybe some ciabbata. Dream on. I get home, realize it’s another foolish buy and it ends up at the back of the cupboard. But I love the orange colour of these dishes and yes, I did buy some.
Shine can have many meanings: a high gloss polish, a brilliant lacquer finish, a light on a mirror, moonlight on water, a child’s freshly washed face before bedtime any or all of these can be offered. I’ve found one or two that fitted these categories but they weren’t my favourites, instead, I’ve gone for the photographs below.
The first ‘Shine’ is the colourful and exquisite marble floor of the covered-in Galleria Emmanuelle in Milano, the trendy, upmarket shopping area that stretches from the famous Duomo to the Opera House. All the top-named brands have shops here (dare one call them shops, I wonder?) and apart from the gloss of the beautiful marble, the whole place has a ‘shininess’ that seems part of this monied world.
Exquisite marble floor of the Galleria Emmanuelle in Milano – Mari Nicholson
And now for something completely different. The photograph below was taken when I visited a workshop outside Hanoi where dedicated instructors were teaching children who had been injured by landmines in Vietnam, a trade that would eventually enable them to work in the world outside. The glass jar on the table is full of wafer-thin sheets of gold leaf and this young girl is painstakingly applying it to parts of a picture.
Vietnam, Applying gold leaf to a picture to make it shine.
On on the same trip in S.E. Asia, in Cambodia, we came across a school .with something of the same idea. A group of young students were being taught how to use gold leaf on religious icons, how to make Buddha statues, how to do intricate woodwork etc. To me, it seemed incredibly difficult and needing great patience, but the ever-smiling children assured me it was easy for them and better than working in the rice fields where they never had enough to eat.
And what is nicer than a sunset with the falling sun shining on the water, the rustle of palm trees, and the lap of the waves.
And lastly, probably the best shine of all, the moon on the water, in this case a silvery moon that turned the sea a shiny gunmetal grey that could have been anywhere but was actually in a tropical land.