Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadan Kareem

The hilal, or crescent moon, has been seen! Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic year, has begun.

from the streets of Abu Dhabi
For Muslims, it is a time of dedication, prayer, holistic fasting (abstaining from food and water, as well as undesirable emotions and sinful actions), charitable giving, and family time. To put it in North American terms, the season reminds me of a mix between Lent and Christmas.

For non-Muslims, life also changes a bit.
  • It is illegal to eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke in public during daylight hours. (This includes your car as well.)
  • Cafes and restaurants are closed during the day.
  • There is no swearing, singing, loud music, or dancing allowed.
  • Everyone is expected to dress more conservatively.
  • Most business and companies work a shorter day.
Urban legend says that if you break these rules, you will be put in jail until the end of Ramadan. Or maybe you will just get away with a big fine? I'm not exactly sure and don't plan on finding out!

After sunset, many Muslims break their fast by drinking milk and eating dates. (This is what Mohammad did.) They follow this up with an Iftar meal. I was able to attend an Iftar my first year in Abu Dhabi.

The food is laid out and ready while we wait for the signal that the sun has set.

Time to eat!

Everyone sits together on the floor. Instead of forks and knives, you eat with your right hand.

1. A big spread
2. Lime and mint juice; local water; milk
3. Waiting for sunset
4. Desserts: sweet, syrupy, and fried

رمَضَان كريم
Wishing you Ramadan blessings!
♥, Molly

Saturday, July 30, 2011

100 Reasons You Should Go To Thailand (91-100)

91. Old ruins, new life
Sukhothai , the heart of the kingdom during Thailand's 'golden age', was pretty spectacular. I don't think a trip to Thailand would be complete without a stop here.

92. Puddle jumpers. (Particularly baby elephant puddle jumpers.)
The day we went to the Elephant Nature Park was my very favorite day of the whole trip. Even if you don't have time, you should make time to stop in and visit.

photo by Jill
93. Orange
The bright, vibrant colors everywhere were an unexpected but much appreciated simple pleasure.

94. Wat Arun, Temple of the Dawn
Lonely Planet may not rank this place an essential attraction, but I really enjoyed the beautiful river views from the top of this temple.

95. Clean public restrooms.
Although it's an unglamorous topic, the availability and cleanliness of washrooms can make a big difference in one's experience. (Hint, hint Nepallll!)

96. Treehouses (Can you see it? It's tucked into the jungle.)
Climbing trees = One of my favorite things; Treehouses = Even better. This was like the Thai version of Swiss Family Robinson. Fun!

97. Timelessness
I like the contrasts of this picture. And the overall mix of modern and ancient that we saw throughout the country.

98. Checking things off the life list
Before we started planning the trip, "riding an elephant" was on my life list. After learning more about the training process however, it was enough for me just to be close to them. It's pretty great to get to do things you've always dreamed of doing!

99. Happy surprises around every corner
Seems like every moment we turned around there was something new to appreciate or try. Several months and several trips later, I think I can say that Thailand was one of the happiest trips I've ever had the pleasure of taking.

100. 2 THUMBS UP for unforgettable experiences and wonderful stories! Thanks, Jill! Thanks, Thailand!

♥, Molly

Friday, July 29, 2011

100 Reasons You Should Go To Thailand (81-90)

81. We Thai folks!
So kind. So friendly. So happy.

photo by Jill
82. We ♥ novelty snacks!
Correction: Jill quadruple
novelty snacks!!!! We named these little street treats "Sweet Thai Tacos". To learn more about our snacking habit, please read Novelty Snacks of Thailand: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

I like how the statues look like they're praying over this little pooch. He he!

83. We ♥ sleeping pups!
Correction: Jill isn't really a dog person. She prefers sleeping cats. Or awake cats. Or non-orange cats, friendly cats, tourist cats, climbing cats, model cats, and cuddlesome cats. The proof is here and here.

84. We ♥ giant toes. Especially with sparkles.
Correction: Jill does NOT like feet. Not even statue feet. Not even one little bit.

85. We ♥ our blessings!
Both Jill and I saw a lot of people living in challenging situations. It made us even more grateful for the opportunities we've had and for our life experiences. We are both very fortunate.

86. We ♥ roasted plantains!
Correction: I
♥ plantain bananas! Mostly because I associate them with my time in Cameroon.

Jill on the left, Molly on the right
87. We ♥ rock climbing!
Correction: I double
♥ rock climbing, but Jill is not a fan of heights and consequently not too keen on the sport. But she gave it a go and I'm very proud of her. You can read Jill's thoughts on the matter right here.

88. We ♥ biking! Especially with company so grand and scenery so beautiful.

89. We ♥ men in uniform.
Correction: J/K!!!!!

photo by Jill
90. We ♥ beauty. And in Thailand there's a lot of it to be found.

♥, Molly

P.S. I
♥ all these corrections. There got to be so many of them that I started to find them kind of funny. I guess they just go to show that there's a little of something for everybody in this place. ;-)

View from Here//Blueberry Treat

inspired by {this moment} by soulemama
an image // from the week // no words

♥, Molly

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Third Chemo.

3 down, 1* to go!

♥, Molly

*The odds are in my favor. Yesterday, the doctor said there's 70% chance that I'll be finished after 4 treatments! (The alternative being there's a 30% chance I'll need 8.) From what we can tell, the chemo is doing its job. Yay!

a favorite.

the first time i saw these my jaw dropped. and the second time... and the third time...
i think they might be some of my favorite photographs of a long time.

aren't they just amazing?
please head here to see the rest of sebastiaan's work.

♥, Molly

Monday, July 25, 2011

100 Reasons You Should Go To Thailand (71-80)

71. Locusts. I hear they're the new bacon.

72. Geeky graffiti

73. Intricate details
When my brother was little he used to ask my dad all sorts of unanswerable questions. Dad, how many snakes do you think are out in that field? Dad, how many bears do you think are in those mountains? Dad, how many fish do you think are in that river? When I saw all of the mosaic work at the Grand Palace I felt like doing the same thing. Dad, how many little teeny tiny little tile pieces do you think are in that statue?

74. Fresh watermelon

75. Friendly faces (Another feature from the Grand Palace)

76. Thoughtful moments

77. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, even though you can't tell because the picture's so small, it's me! And I'm FLYING!!!

78. Cute artists who paint cute elephants at the Chatuchak Weekend Market

79. Ruins in the morning (Just another day in Ayuthaya)

80. Ruins at sunset (Just another day at Sukhothai)

♥, Molly

La Mer//Charles Trénet

In honor of summer, I thought I'd share this classic song plus a few pictures of the French seaside.

(I also like the version by Françoise Hardy.)

St. Malo, 2005

Nice, 2005

I hope you're outside enjoying the sunshine. Happy Summering!
♥, Molly