Beautiful Blogger Award~ Thank You!

My first blog nomination! Thank you to CanadianTravelBugs for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I started this blog in 2008 but life got in the way so my blogging went into hibernation. I felt the need to began writing again this year and this post will be the 40th  story I have shared on my blog. I am so appreciative of the readers who are following me, reading my content and commenting positively on what they find here. What began as a personal space to record my life’s journey has blossomed into a community of people who care and share interests. I was astounded at first to find strangers reading my blog, but now I understand the blogging world as a way to connect with people who inspire us even though we may never have the opportunity to meet in person. I find inspiration in the words and pictures of people all over the world now.

This award comes with some rules…

1. Thank the person who nominated you and Link to that person~ Thank you agian Canadian Travel Bugs!

2. Post the award on your blog

3. Nominate 7 (or less) blog and link to them

Since I am new to the blogging world I have been reading a lot of fabulous blogs lately. Here are a few who have made the world a more beautiful place to discover through their words and photos.

My nominations are:

The Blazing Trail http://theblazingtrail.wordpress.com/

Russle Ray Photos http://russelrayphotos2.com/

No Holds Barred http://noholdsbarredribataylor.wordpress.com/

My Beautful Things http://mybeautfulthings.wordpress.com/

Outbound Mom http://outboundmom.com/

Expat Llingo http://expatlingo.com/

Scintillatebrightly http://scintilatebrightly.wordpress.com/

Please stop by their blogs and see the wonderful things they are inspiring people with! Thank you again to the almost 100 Followers and the 123,000 hits on Global Anni and thank you for the great company. We are truly a GLOBAL community!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship is a Gem on Gem Island

Friends Looking at the South China Sea

The beauty of friendship is what makes life worth living. Traveling with friends just makes life perfect! For the years we have spent in SE Asia we have been fortunate to make lifelong friendships and share special vacation travels with them. One of our favorite spots is Gem Island on the East Coast of Malaysia. It is a tiny island with only one resort right off of Kapas Island. The snorkeling is gorgeous, the turtle sanctuary is uplifting and the peace and quiet is priceless. We laze in the sea snorkeling or frolicking in the gentle waves, comb the beaches for turtle eggs and shells, swing in a hammock and eat picnic lunches in the cabanas. After a nap and a shower in the garden inspired outdoorsy bathroom we head to dinner in the quaint dining room overlooking the ocean. It is a perfect family getaway and a great chance to unwind and rejuvenate with family and friends.

Frisbee on the Beach at Gem

Cocktail Hour by the Sea

Friends on the Dock at Gem

Gorgeous Gem

Dinner After a Perfect Day

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today~ Ups and Downs of Kuala Lumpur

TODAY some friends and I strolled through my favorite shopping area in KL, Petaling Street. This is in the bustling China Town area of the city.  Everywhere you look, you are assaulted with an overabundance of color and stuff everywhere! Your eyes and mind constantly rivet up and down as you try to take it all in. It reminds me of why I love living in South East Asia. Here are a few snaps I took today.

UP- Incense Burning in a Chinese Temple

DOWN- Looking into the Chinese Temple

UP- A Shop House

DOWN- Shop House Selling Umbrellas

UP- The Tower at Sri Mahamariamman Temple

DOWN- A Vendor Outside the Temple

UP- Looking Up Petaling Street

DOWN- Looking Down Petaling Street

Travel Theme: Rhythm ~ Cambodia

This week’s travel challenge is “Rhythm” thanks to Alisa at  http://wheresmybackpack.com/ 

Monk Reading Under a Tree

Monk In Temple

South East Asia has a slow rhythm that is rich with cultural heritage.  Each country has a distinct flow and Cambodia is peppered with forgiveness, reverence, patience and contemplation. The pace of the country is laid back and peaceful yet exciting and exotic. The first two photos reflect the rhythm of daily life in Cambodia~ Monks in quiet reflection.

Child in a Cooking Pot “Boat”

This photo reveals the rhythm of the Mekong River. After spending a day exploring a floating river village, we had a line of chattering children following us in cooking pots. Towards the end of the day, their mothers called out to them and the children paddled home so the evening meal could be cooked!

Land Mine Victim Music Group

The land mine victims in Cambodia were a heart-wrenching vision! And yet true to the humbleness of the culture the victims gathered in musical groups to play at many of the temple sites playing melodic rhythm on local instruments. The music set the tone of the historical sites which deserve to be honored and respected as some of the greatest pieces of architecture and history.

Bali Stone Carvings

Bali is paradise with lush green rice paddies, fabulous culture, steaming volcanoes, beautiful beaches, friendly people and the most amazing stone carvings. The statues are lurking around every corner, tucked into nooks and crannies where ever possible.

The statue styles vary as much as the landscape of this tropical island. The forms range from artful to creepy or obscene to spiritual. Mold and moss cover the statues adding to their character as they stand guard outside of temples or in gardens. I took hundreds of pictures of the cold gray pieces of stone carved into lifelike works of art.  These are just a few of my favorites.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer- An Expat’s Life

Kayaking in the mountains of New York

Living overseas for a large portion of my life as a Third Culture Kid and now as an expat, summertime has always meant “going home” to see family and friends in the USA. The best time of the year! Summer means hiking and kayaking with my sister in NY, hanging out at my grandparent’s farm in Bucks County, PA and of course lazing at the Jersey Shore in Ocean City.

Climbing Bonticou Crag in New York

Summer at the Buck’s County Farm

Family- Summer at the Buck’s County Farm

Lifeguard Stand Ocean City, New Jersey

My family on the beach in OC, NJ

Corson’s Inlet Ocean City, NJ

I will be fortunate enough to spend another perfect summer with family in the tri-state area starting in a few weeks. (After traveling for about 40 hours.) I cannot wait to make some new memories. What do summers mean to you?

Travel Theme: Street Markets

Travel Theme: Street Markets.
I am reblogging an old post of mine because I saw an interesting travel theme from http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/05/25/street-markets/

Global Anni

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Sunday night in our neighborhood is the Pasar Malam or the local night market.  Traffic is impossible and people are wandering everywhere with bags, trolleys, small carts, back packs.  A road is closed off and in the middle of the road are stalls with rickety tables, portable awnings, and a massive throng of people.  Smells of fresh fish, flowers, and cooking food waft through the air and your mouth begins to water.  You brace yourself and push headlong into the crowd to begin bargaining. 

 

Every Sunday I have a rendezvous with the nut man at the Bangsar Pasar Malam!  He and his wife and son run the first nut stall on the street with giant 10 kilogram bags of nuts that are loosely covered with old plates.  Nuts are my favorite snack and these are the best nuts in the…

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Chiling Out at Chiling Waterfall

The heat, the smog, the buildings, the people, the noise! When I just gotta get out of  Kuala Lumpur, I head for my favorite place in Malaysia, Sungai Chiling Waterfall with my favorite hiking buddy, Kathleen. The easy drive up to the mountains takes about an hour and a half with gorgeous views of the rain forest and a reservoir.

Sungai Chiling Waterfall, Malaysia

Hiking to the falls takes about one hour on mostly flat ground but with enough hills, roots and rain forest trails to keep you on your toes. It is an easy and peaceful hike where you will see many varieties of carnivorous pitcher plants, wild orchids, and lots of wild life such as monkeys, colorful butterflies and tropical birds.

Wild Orchid

Carnivorous Pitcher Plan

The real adventure begins when the trail ends suddenly at the river and starts again on the other side! You must traverse the river 6 times to get to the falls. Depending on the rainfall, the river can be as high as your ankles in some places or up to your waist in other places. The adults make long chains and pass the children along. Sometimes there are ropes to hold or we grab long bamboo poles to keep upright.

Crossing in Waist Deep Water

Crossing the River~ Using Bamboo Poles

After an hour you come out of a bamboo patch to the roaring of the falls. The mist hits your face as you gaze out at the rushing water.

A glimpse of the falls and 3 monkeys!

Once you reach the falls you can swim, picnic and relax at the foot of the spectacular falls. The surrounding rainforest, river and small pools are tranquil and the silence is a soothing welcome after the bustling city.

Anni and kids enjoying the cool pool at the foot of the falls

Kathleen and I usually head up to Chiling with a large group of people and make a daylong outing. The children love this hike with the ease of walking and the adventurous river crossings.

Hiking Pals cooling off

My favorite hiking buddy and her family are leaving Malaysia this year so it won’t be the same without her when I go next year.

My favorite hiking buddies, Kathleen and Derald

Fish in the clear mountain water

Hiking to the falls along the trail

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands ~ Kecak Dance in Bali

Kecak Dance in Bali

The Kecak (Ramayana Monkey Chant) is performed by 100+ bare-chested men with checked cloths tied around their waists. The men line up in concentric circles around a fire as they sway, throw their arms up, wave their hands, lay prone and even create the illusion of a giant snake as the story progresses. This performance does not use any music except for the cacophony of synchronized chanting, “Ke, cak, cak, cak”. The backdrop of the dance we saw was an ancient temple and the central fire was the only lighting for the stage. As the story unfolds the rhythmic chanting sets a trance-like atmosphere as the audience sits transfixed watching the swaying of hands in the firelight. Pure Magic!

Learning to Breathe…. Underwater

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” James Stephens

I started to learn how to SCUBA dive as a teenager in the Middle East but it was not a happy ending. I will spare you the details of the real life horror story involving a death and a shark during our Open Water Dive test and just state that it has taken 35 years to complete that course. Three friends and I flew to the Perhentian Islands in Eastern Malaysia nestled in the South China Sea. The island is a feast for the eyes with palm fringed white coral sandy beaches and crystalline water. We would complete our open water dives while on the tropical island at Watercolours Resort and Dive Center with Sharon, our fabulous dive instructor.

View from Watercolours Dive Center in the Perhentians

On the first dive we suited up and sped in a motorboat to a small lagoon. As soon as I hit the water I began to look for sharks, but luckily there were none to be spotted. As my head went under the water and my brain began to scream, “STOP IT! Get out! You can’t breathe underwater. There could be sharks here!!  Are you insane!?!” My body started to respond to the commands with panic, but luckily I was able to prevail over my shark terror and ignore my claustrophobia so that I could begin the descent under the water.

Anni Getting Ready to Dive

Once I was under the water, my sensibility returned, my breathing steadied and the dazzling clear blue water and the world of wildlife below astounded me. After completing our skills on each dive, Sharon led us on our fun dives where we were able to see some remarkable sea life. Blue spotted rays floated by while the spikes of lionfish poked out of crevices in the coral. Tiny translucent feeder shrimp pecked at our fingers and a batfish frolicked with my yellow fins. Moray eels snapped their jaws, as hundreds of fish lazily drifted by like a rainbow.  It was a magical scene that we were able to experience four times that weekend. After passing our tests and completing our open water dives, the boat pulled up to the resort where a sign was waiting to congratulate us all on our success. It took 35 years, but I was finally able to conquer my fear of sharks. Another “Mind over Matter” accomplishment! Another bucket list item checked!

Gorgeous Perhentians! Our first dive spot.

Sharon, Angie, Ann and Alexis

Sharon, Angie, Ann and Alexis

It wasn’t until later that day, while snorkeling, that I finally spied a shark. The meter long black-tip reef shark glided in front of me, camouflaged with the white sandy bottom. To my surprise and delight the shark instilled wonder instead of alarm in me. Instead of turning and swimming away in fright, I grabbed my friend by the arm and swam as fast as I could after it, trying to get a better look. He was breathtaking, free and peaceful. Conquering my fear was as magnificent as he was! Anticipation of disappearing below the surface sits in the back of my mind as I return to mundane everyday life. I have spent a lifetime in appreciation and awe of the beach and ocean, but it has been heightened to an elevated level of understanding now that I can breathe under water!

Anni Looking Fearless

Have you overcome a fear?

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