Berlin: Reichstag Building VS Berliner Dom

“Whoa! Look at that glow! I’ve never seen it like this before!” I chatter, bouncing in place as the red signal glares across the street. Shadows are beginning to form at the bottom of the Berliner Dom.

“C’mon, c’mon.”

Green flashes and J laughs as I sprint across the stripes. Snap. Snap. Snap.

“I’m going to the top! I want to see the city lit by the sunset!”

Huffing up the steps while begging my legs to carry me to the top in time I dash onto the first layer of the viewing deck. Where’s the exit? Where? Where? Where? There! With a twist of the final doorknob I stumble into the sky.

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Pha That Luang in Vientiane, Laos

The Disappearing Man

Pha That Luang glistened in the distance, a beacon on the far side of the sea of tarmac. On my side a few stubbly trees gave shelter to a smattering of dozing songthaew drivers. Their makeshift hammocks, strung across the bed of their little pick-ups, rustled as they spotted me and began to lazily shout.

“Tuk tuk! Tuk tuk!”

I ignored them as I searched the shaded oasis.

The driver I’d arrived with, and not yet paid, was gone.

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Hindu Temples: The Unknown Temple

We had just left the Kuantan Firefly Park and driven up the road surrounded by mangrove trees. When we came up to the main road a brightly lit building shining across the road caught our attention. It stood out like a New York theatre on Broadway in the darkness.

“Wait, what is that?!” I asked my friend as I pointed through the windshield.

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Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, Nan, Thailand

During my first semester in Thailand I had the opportunity to listen to at least two fellow exchange students grumble about how, “once you’ve seen one wat (Thai word for temple) you’ve seen them all”.

I’ll admit this wat displayed many familiar features: a massive stupa, a humble temple, a tall surrounding wall, a line of Buddha images ready to receive coins and two growling nagas racing down the hill to greet temple visitors. But it was the details that were the most intriguing.

With the initial awe wearing off I was starting to wonder about the meaning of the curious objects around me.

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Wat Phanan Choeng: Ayutthaya

Orange. And through the haze of orange a stern face looking down upon me. Red walls gilded with golden patterns enclosed the space, protecting an enormous buddha. The face was shining though there were no windows. The corners of its lips cracked upward. Its gaze was unwavering. Continue reading “Wat Phanan Choeng: Ayutthaya”