Rothenberg, Germany’s finest medieval town.

Rothenberg is a charming medieval town  that survives largely intact (even the World War II bombings) and thrives into the 21st century.  It’s probably one of the cutest town that we have ever stepped into. But at times, its highly curated appearance has an uncanny resemblance of a theme park. Unfortunately a big contingent of tourists roaming every alley of this little town doesn’t help the cause. But I also get the sense that Rothenberg is a real functioning town as we interacted with the locals and toured the neighborhoods.  We had a joyous time walking on top of the medieval wall that encircled the town. It provided many scenic views of the town.  Another highlight of the day was our visit to the crime and punishment museum where we could see various medieval objects of torture and punishment, some of which were horrifying while others were amusing. We capped our day with dinner at a local restaurant and had our first taste of German food ( handmade pasta) and beer (tucher) which I have grown to love.
I can’t think of a better introduction to Germany than what we experienced in Rothenberg.

Orlando!

We are finally here after making a thousand mile journey. So many parents, over the years, have made pilgrimages to this humongous cluster of theme parks in search of entertainment, rites of passage, or even magic. We knew our kids would enjoy this place but we weren’t quite sold on it because it seemed so artificial, overblown, crowded, and expensive. But we’re here… perhaps it’s the fear of depriving our kids of the essential childhood experiences or the pressure to keep up with the Jones’s. By the end of the day, I was feeling nauseated from all the rides and going to puke if I see another hint of the artificial color! But kids seemed to enjoy it and thanked us for the experience. In the end, I was glad to check this one off of my bucket list!

Cancun in November!

With all the drudgery of flying behind us, it was quite shocking to step into the hot tropics and jump into aqua water in November!
Had to walk around for a mile or two in search of ATM machine to get some cash to pay for lunch at a restaurant. The ATM machine was broken and I was getting grumpy walking around in Summer-like heat but also fascinated to be surrounded by all the vivid colors of the flora. The restaurant owner was gracious and trusting enough to let us come back and pay the next day.

Day of the Dead in Cancun

Caught a local bus to downtown Cancun  to go to the day of the dead event.  It’s a unique cultural event for celebrating the lives of deceased members of the families and friends by welcoming their spirits back to earth. The bus ride itself was entertaining as we passed through all the glitz (both glamorous and tacky) of this built up resort town. But what I enjoyed most was the enticing summer breeze blowing in through the open windows of the bus.  The event was full of people with a variety of skull makeups and outfits,  many of whom had set up alters for their deceased family members and were busy cooking and serving food.
We were just speechless and totally absorbed with the people watching. The timing of our trip worked out perfectly and we were so fortunate to participate in this event and immerse ourselves in this unique tradition.

Looking back and forward

I hear the usual chattering of my kids echoing out of the bedroom, breaking the weekend morning calm. It’s truly a welcome sound, reassuring of their good mental and physical health. The house is fully awaken now with their footsteps and the clanking at the breakfast table, followed by my wife asking me if I want fig, cherry or blackberries. Before I get caught up in the hustle and bustle, I managed to fit in a moment of gratitude and hope for the new year. And I patted myself for being a multitasker.

Feeling like a Centaur

Today’s bicycle ride was as sweet as it can be.

As if I tricked my eyes into seeing a 3D world in a stereogram, I got dialed in to a zone where my bicycle was an extension of myself.  We were totally in sync, effortlessly rolling through a quiet wooded trail and hearing nothing but my heart beat and a low humming of the bike chain, until  this abstract reverie was abruptly ended by a big woosh of a nearby highway traffic.

Lunch special that was truly … special

I wasn’t looking for a fine culinary experience. I came to the restaurant mainly to satisfy my hunger. Conditoned to look for value in every purchase I make, my eyes were naturally drawn to lunch specials section on the menu. With my order of rice, kimchi, and beef soup placed in front of me, I dutifully lifted up my spoon and tried to go through the motions. But, something about my lunch looked different today. Imbued with transcendent qualities, one bite was enough block out the murmur of the restaurant and transport me to a happy and wholesome place. Locked in and shielded from the outside world, I began to slow down and savor the flavors by deploying all five senses. These are flavors that connect me to the innocence of my childhood and touch upon the very essence of who I am. I don’t know of any art form that has moved me so deeply and effortlessly as if opening up a backdoor to Nirvana.

If I’m unfortunate enough to be on death row, this humble food is definitely what I would request to be my last meal on earth.

First snow

It’s Saturday afternoon.  After checking off on my weekend chore list, I finally parked my butt in my comfy chair which I turned around to face the big living room window.  With a warm coffee mug nestled in my hands and the classic Xmas songs whispering  in the background, I entered a  transformed view of the back yard christened with first snow of the season. In the midst of getting lost in the looping Gif of falling flakes, it dawned on me that  snow has power to beautify everything, even my neighbor’s normally unsightly shed.

I hear kids yelling and wife just got home and  abruptly, I’m ding-dong back to reality.