5 of the Coolest Places We Visited in 2018

It’s year-in-review time, and I thought I’d do list of the most interesting places we visited this year. We stayed in the US for six weeks for visa renewal, and so that ate a lot of travel time an energy. That said, we still visited more places than I had room for on the list. We had fun visits to Mumbai, Kodaikanal, and Galveston Island — not to mention a road trip that took us on a supremely scenic drive through West Virginia. But a few places stood out for various reasons.

 

5.) Lincoln Park: This sprawling city park along Lake Michigan hosts a free Zoo, a Conservatory, museums, beaches, and beautiful urban green space.

 

4.) City Palace: Udaipur offers one of the most scenic urban spaces in all of India. This palace was home of Mewar ruling dynasty, and, sitting upon Lake Pichola, is the heart of this historic city.

 

3.) Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum: This “annex” to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum takes advantage of the wide open spaces of Chantilly, Virginia (near Dulles Airport) to house some huge exhibits such as Space Shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, an SR-71, and commercial aircraft.

 

2.) Neil Island: This small island to the northeast of Port Blair is beloved for its snorkeling, beaches, and laid-back atmosphere. Full disclosure: I’m including this island of faith as we won’t be visiting it for another week or so, but by the time we return from the Andamans it will be 2019. For those unfamiliar, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands form an archipelago that is governed by India, though geographically it is nearer to Myanmar (Burma.)

 

1.) Annapurna Base Camp: There were lots of places in our visit to Nepal that could have made this list, but, forced to choose a highlight of our trip to Nepal, ABC wins hands down. It was the culmination of a tea-house trek of the Annapurna Sanctuary that offered spectacular views and experiences throughout.

 

As for what to expect in 2019, I have a trip to Laos planned early in January, and we are tentatively considering a hiking trip to Central Asia (probably Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.) Of course, we are not so good sticking to long-term plans, so who knows where the winds will take us.

There remain plenty of awesome travel destinations in India, though our challenge is that the low hanging fruit has been partaken of, and we are left with many locations that are a challenge to get to when one only has a few days with which to work

Nepal Haiku

birthing Buddha,
distant looming mountains
breed wisdom

 

glassy lake,
mirroring boat hulls,
a world below?

 

standing aside
as beam-totting porters
pass us on the trail

 

tea-house quarters
cozy and quaint lodging,
’til snoring starts

 

cool air in face,
trudging up — oblivious
to cloud-freed snowcap

 

glacier gone,
scoured trench, gouged in earth —
maybe next year

 

monkey overlook,
from sacred stupa to
the human warren

 

POEM: Joker, or: Disruptive Forces

Among the brick rubble, down a side street from the temples encased in spiky, cuboid scaffolds, next to a bulging wall bolstered by beams knocked in at a slant, someone painted this graffiti of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

I stare at the maniacal face and can’t help but wonder whether someone painted it in the seven years between Ledger’s portrayal and the 2015 earthquake that broke Bhaktapur, or whether it’s a commentary on disruptive forces.

DAILY PHOTO: Puppies and Goats of Bhaktapur

Rubble Puppy

 

Temple goat

 

Dog disappointed with a package

 

Goat resting on a plinth; Taken in May of 2018 in Bhaktapur, Nepal