I have been back in Australia for three days; certainly not long enough to feel normal yet. I would like to share a few photos from my trip to the northern hemisphere. There will be more photos than descriptions in this post because my brain is still floating out there in jet-lag land. I am a bit fuzzy!
I was very fortunate to be able to witness a misedashi in Kyoto. This is a celebratory day; the day when a girl becomes a maiko for the first time. She has already worked long and hard to get to this point so a misedashi is an important milestone for her. Kiyono is the name of this maiko from Gion Kobu. Here, she kindly poses in front of the sakura (cherry blossom) by the Shirakawa stream. Though there were many photographers Kiyono stayed composed and good-humoured from start to finish.
From Japan, Matthew and I flew to Saint-Petersburg. We also flew from spring right back to winter. I have never seen a frozen river before. Walking was a continual issue – how not to slip over. Old ladies zoomed past me as I teetered on the ice. They were well used to these conditions! I did not know what I would think of being in Russia. I loved it! I had never been in such cold before and I was spellbound.
Poor Europeans! I know that winter has been extra long for you. For me, though, who lives in the perpetual summer of Perth, this was the biggest treat ever. I adored the snow and every time it snowed (often) I went out in it. (We went to Latvia and Estonia too but I will save some photos for other posts.)
Paris was raining as usual when I arrived. I expected that. However it felt quite warm after northern Europe. Last Sunday, though, it suddenly heated up to about 25 degrees. Everyone burst out into the streets. Those ubiquitous black coats came off to reveal – short sleeves, dresses, shorts, skin on arms and legs. There was a general air of festivity as people gratefully basked in sunshine.
To the other extreme, Singapore was BOILING. These water lilies are perfect for the tropical conditions of Singapore. I walked out a little and was soon panting with the effort even though I’m as fit as anything from so much exercise in Europe. I just couldn’t handle the humidity.
It was the most wonderful three and a half weeks. What is more, I have stacks of new material to draw from. The problem will be knowing what to begin with…but what a pleasant problem!
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