Syria and Lebanon 25 Dec 04 - 16 Jan 05: Damascus Part I and Part II, Aleppo Palestinian Refugee Camp, Lattakia and Markab Castle 

Luxor/Aswan 23 - 30 Jan 05: Nile Cruise 

21 - 29 Apr 05: Massawa, Ghinda and Asmara 

27 May - 4 Jun 05: Sana'a and its souq, Ta'izz, Jebel Sabir, Hajjarah, Kawkabam, Shibam/Thulla

Spain and France
15 - 24 Oct 05: Madrid and Paris

26 Dec 05 - 5 Jan 06: Vienna and Salzburg

Israel and Palestine
11 - 13 May 06: Jerusalem and Bethlehem 

6 - 8 Jul 06: Phuket

Spain (Camino de Santiago)
14-30 Oct 06: Estella to Logroño, Logroño to Burgos to Itero de la Vega, Itero de la Vega to León

19 - 22 Dec 06: Istanbul 

24-28 Feb 07: Ottawa

1-5 Mar 07: Manhattan

China 24-31 Mar 07: Yunnan

USA 9-26 Jun 07: Washington DC, Sacred Music Colloquium

Philippines 25 Jul-3 Aug 07: Manila

Switzerland 25-30 Sep 07: Berne

Portugal and Spain (Camino de Santiago) 16 May-9 Jun 08: Itinerary, Lisbon-Fatima-Batalha-Coimbra, Coimbra-Sao Joao de Madeira, Porto, Braga, Santiago de Compostela

France 8-17 Aug 08: Solesmes

USA 7-26 Sep 08: Washington DCNew York City

Morocco 24 Jan-1 Feb 09: Casablanca, Rabat

Indonesia 2-5 Apr 09: Jakarta

Australia 21-29 Aug 09: Sydney

Syria 27 Nov-9 Dec 09: Crak des Chevaliers, Aleppo, Qala'at Simaan, the Dead Cities, Palmyra, Damascus

Indonesia 8-11 Feb 10: Pontianak and Singkawang

Indonesia 26 Feb-1 Mar 10: Yogyakarta

New Zealand 20-23 Apr 10: Wellington

Malaysia 2-4 Jul 10: Kuala Lumpur

Indonesia 23-26 Aug 10: Yogyakarta-Surabaya

Indonesia 14-17 Oct 10: Bali here and here

Diving: Learning in Massawa, Diving in Hurghada and again, Sharm el-Sheikh I and II: The Return of the Sharm. And in Southeast Asia, Pulau Aur in West Malaysia.


Ah, Singapore

Was buying lunch at the coffeeshop near my hairdresser's today when I looked up and realised that the shiny new menu board said FLOGLEG PORRIDGE.


Back from Bali!

Returned on Sunday night from a four-day jaunt to Bali.  Haven't been there since 2003, when tourism was at a low after the 2002 bombings.  Well, the white tourist crowd has definitely returned, pushing up prices to match.

Our two-room villa was a dream!  In a little walled compound complete with swimming pool (well, it was only 8 metres long) and gazebo.  Someone showed up every morning to cook us breakfast before we headed off sightseeing.

We went for massages, horse-riding on the beach, grilled seafood in Jimbaran, toured the cliffside temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot, pigged out at Bumbu Bali, ate suckling pig in Ubud, and sipped drinks at La Lucciola watching the sun go down into the sea.  Bliss.


Colour meme

svan_1004 assigned me red.  In alphabetical order:
  1. Blood
  2. Chinese and Indian weddings
  3. Desert sunsets
  4. Lipstick
  5. Lunar New Year
  6. Mary Magdala's gown in Frangelico's "Noli Me Tangere"
  7. Pomegranates
  8. Roses
  9. Valentino
  10. Wine
Respond and I will give you a colour.


Looked up the Sarum Rite wedding vows. Rather conventional, with an extra interesting bit for the bride:

Man: I N., take thee, N., to my wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part, if holy Church will it ordain, and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Woman: I N., take thee, N., to my wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board, till death us do part, if holy Church will it ordain, and thereto I plight thee my troth.

No wonder the Sarum Rite never quite caught on in Asia -- too many flat-chested women.


Rite of Betrothal

In an event only slightly less nerve-wracking than open-heart surgery without anaesthesia, I got up there in church in front of God and my parents and promised to marry someone.

(Friend: "Which was scarier, God or your parents?"  Me: "My parents.")

Photographic proof!

See, that's why it's called a handfasting.

Behold, the ring!

Phew, that's over and done with.  Until the wedding.......


Opinions sought!

If you wanted a sapphire ring with diamond embellishments, which would you pick and why? (Don't worry about the colour, just look at the shapes.)

Emerald-cut sapphire:


Cushion-cut sapphire:


Asscher-cut sapphire:


Now, supposing you wanted it for an engagement ring ........ ?

Willow  :-)