Saturday, April 3, 2010

Curious eyes of a traveller

So often, we take for granted the city we live in.  I walk around, or should I say get driven around Jakarta partially blind.  I whip out my blackberry, work on my lap-top, read or sleep the moment I get into the car.

It wasn't until my last visit to Hanoi I reached a revelation.  After umpteenth visits to Hanoi, I am starting to  miss seeing the beauty of the city.  I used to be intrigued by sights of flower ladies peddling basket of flowers, street side cafes serving traditional food where people sit in short stools, the beauty of the lakes and ancient tube-houses.  I was starting to walk around Hanoi like I've seen it all and know it all.  It was a shame to take such a beautiful city for granted.

Likewise for Jakarta, it has its charm once you peel through its irony of chaotic and glitzy layers.  Once you step outside the malls and walk into the neighborhoods, it's common to see jamu ladies carrying bottles of traditional herbal medicine in baskets tied to their slender back by a sarong cloth, bakso vendors peddling pots of steaming beef balls served over rice noodles, vegetable vendors making their rounds with push-carts filled with fresh vegetables and spices and the warungs around every corner.

Perhaps it is the constant search for a topic to write that makes me more alert to my surrounding. Perhaps it is yoga that teaches me to be present. I am more aware and appreciative of my surrounding, I now see with the curious eyes of a traveller.    

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