Category Art

Images from the Slot Canyons

Last week I had posted a short video from my unexpected trip through Canyon X.  During the same journey and prior to Canyon X, I had visited the lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona, and captured the images you’ll see below of the stunning rock formations which have become what they are today through billions of years of transformation.

To give you an idea, there are two types of slot canyons in Page – the lower and the upper canyons.  What makes them different is that the upper is on the ground or upper level, while the lower canyons are under ground level. By definition, slot canyons are narrow canyons formed by the wear of water rushing through rocks over time.  And they are significantly deeper than they are wide.  In some canyons the drop could be more than 30 meters (100 ft or similar to a 10-storey building) to the floor of the canyon.

Although they are very beautiful, it’s always important to check flash flood warnings prior to hiking.  If it rains in any surrounding area, the probability of water from anywhere upstream flowing down to the canyons can be very dangerous, and in most slot canyons, it could be miles before you find the nearest exit.  In the image below, you will see behind the girl and before the slopes are interesting patterns on the ground.  These are the surface areas of the lower canyons. The gaps on the surface let light come through, and you will see in the photos that follow what they look like when you’re inside the canyons.

Documentary : Clay

Good craftsmen are a rarity these days.  I had the opportunity to document Ryan Van Hoy, a potter from Indianapolis, as he shares his story on how he came about to doing pottery, and what influences him in his profession.

Anchored Away in Cancun

Towards the end of last year, my husband and I (I’m still not used to calling him that) decided to go on a relaxing trip to Cancun.  In case you didn’t already know, Cancun is best to visit in the months of December to February, when the country experiences milder temperatures thanks to the cold winds of the North.  This being their peak season, we dreaded flocks of tourists so we decided to avoid that by going just a bit earlier.  And our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
One of the many reasons we chose Cancun to holiday in is because it’s undeniably close to the United States.  If we can’t go back to the pristine beaches of Asia, where else could we turn to?  From L.A. we took a direct flight to Cancun, which took about 4 hours and under $300 for a return ticket.  Not bad eh?  And then we landed here.     Luckily because we came at the end of November, we didn’t have to face a crowded island and rub shoulders with other tourists.  There was plenty of space and privacy, it almost felt like the resort was all ours.  We stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna Cancun using our SPG points and we think we made the best choice, because we loved the colonial style architecture and the spaciousness of the resort (compared to the JW Marriott next door).  Going to Cancun cannot be complete without visiting one of the seven wonders of the world.  The Chichen Itza, the world renowned historical city which dates back to 600 AD, was an amazing sight to see.  Walking through the grounds felt different, or at least to me I imagined what it must have been like to live there in that era.
And while you’re in the Yucatan Peninsula, I highly recommend dipping yourself in one of the mysterious cenotes.  The cenotes are natural sinkholes that could be deeper than 60 meters or comparably like a 20 to 30 floor building.  It’s so deep that when you look below all you’ll see is an abyss – dark, mysterious, and scary.  Naturally, the water is cold and will make you shiver on your first dip, but feels very refreshing on a warm summer day.  In the photo below you’ll see all of us wearing life jackets because it’s a requirement. The depth of the hole is not to be joked about.  One good thing I took away from this trip was I learned the Mexican way of appreciating life as it is, and to enjoy the art of doing nothing.  Though we explored the city, we put aside a lot of time to just relax by the beach, play in the pool, or enjoy a good meal.  It gave me a relaxed and peaceful feeling which felt like something I hadn’t felt for a long while.  I’m the type of person who can’t stand sitting by the beach all day – although some people really enjoy doing that, I never understood what good came out of it.  So I can almost say it felt like my first time to go on a holiday.

Travel in Morocco…of a Time Past

Looking outside the moving car window one day during our journey in Morocco, I couldn’t help but feel like being transported back to another age, that of decades ago when digital wasn’t even a concept yet.  As the sun was setting and turning a mellow pink and purple, teenage children were coming out of schools like sheep out of a cage, some of them in groups and most of them looking happily content and talking to each other.  It made me realize how different kids are here in another world, where gadgets are in closer proximity to their faces than real human interactions.

Though there certainly were mobile carriers and data connectivity almost everywhere we went in Morocco, I did not find the urge to look at my phone either, even probably spending the entire day outside without needing to check my phone.  There was a certain peacefulness to the place, even in Marrakech in the midst of the chaotic souk.  Or perhaps it’s because the country is brimming with so much art and color that the people didn’t need to distract themselves from the otherwise gray drudgeries of our familiar world.  I would like to believe that rather than think that the country’s technology has been lagging compared to other first world countries.

If you ask me what I think of Morocco, I would never deny that it is beautiful.  It’s natural rustic beauty is so inviting that I would not mind staying there for a few months just to explore the towns and absorb the culture.  With it’s expansive farms sprawling with olives and sweet oranges, you can tell that nature has been kind to the locals in giving them great harvests, never having to withstand severe winters that take away dear life out of plants.

If you scroll down below, you’ll see some of the photos I had taken from our route from Marrakech to Essaouira.  And if you pass through the goats picture, it’s true – they do climb trees to get some of their favorite olive skins.

The Journey to Ouarzazate

The journey from Marrakech to Ouarzazate is one that I think I will remember for the rest of my life.  If not, it is one of the most scenic routes I have ever taken, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that.

From the city of Marrakech, we joined a group on a tour and all of us went together on a shuttle.  It came as no surprise later on when we noticed that no big buses ever came along this route.  You know why? Because as we climbed up through the Atlas Mountains and onto the side of Ouarzazate, we faced narrow winding roads which can cause you to get car sick even if you normally don’t.

So what’s so great about the journey?  It’s the changing landscapes, from dry arid deserts to cold snow capped mountain peaks, to Berber villages on the side of the road and huge rock formations that seem like pebbles that have been thrown by giants down the hills.

Not only that but you get to see a great deal of Moroccan art in the villages too, and in the market places.  We saw natural crystals being sold on the side of the road, local women making argan oil, artists making water color art with tea and saffron, weaved carpets, colorful tagines, pottery, and so much more.

Scroll down below to see some of the things we saw on our journey, and see why I fell in love with the landscape.