Thursday, March 6, 2014
Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Bonjour, Montreal
"Bonjour" means good day in French and it is always a good day in the French speaking Canadian province of Quebec, especially in the lively cosmopolitan city of Montreal. By taking to Montreal's streets, neighborhoods, natural places and waterways, Joseph discovers that joie du vivre is not just a French phrase; it's a way of life in Montreal. And summer is the time for celebrating. From music and dance to fireworks and circus acts, festivals abound! In addition, to the official celebrations every one of the scores of cultural neighborhoods throws a party! Extraordinary markets, majestic cathedrals, trendy cafes, the Latin quarter, a 70's era drum circle, activities on the St. Lawrence and warm fun-loving people all add up to a joyful time in Montreal.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Tokyo, Japan - Celebrating The Past and Present
Like every other first time visitor, Tokyo's idiosyncratic pop culture, flashy neon-lights, garish billboards and hoards of people threaten to overwhelm Joseph's sensibilities, yet it doesn't take long for this episode to find its cultural center. Ancient temples, revered practices, natural beauty and graceful personal exchanges take the lead as this episode unfolds. On his Tokyo journey Joseph learns that while the glitz and glamor of modern Tokyo excites the senses, the heart and soul of the Japanese is found in their ancient customs and honored traditions.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
The Bonin/Ogasawara Islands - A Land Far, Far Away
On the Bonin or Ogasawara Islands Joseph is reminded that travel is a treasure hunt. Even though one is told where the riches are buried, the real gems have to be discovered on their own. On this voyage to Tokyo's most distant possessions - more than 600 miles and 25 hours by ferry from the mainland - Joseph partakes of kayaking, snorkeling, trekking and whale watching. Yet, in spite of all the activities, he discovers that interactions with the islanders and what one learns by exploring their heritage are the most cherished souvenirs. His personal discoveries among the islanders, whose roots lie in an American past, open up a world still shrouded in mystery and little-known to the casual day tripper.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Bhutan - Part 1 - Gross National Happiness
Travel is a life-changing experience, though often these changes come when least expected. Joseph heads to the Kingdom of Bhutan, a devout Buddhist country, fully aware of the possibilities for enlightenment that Bhutan offers him and his viewers. His trip through the "Land of the Thunder Dragon" begins in Paro with a conversation with an esteemed Buddhist master and an invitation to watch a local thangka (spiritual art) artist at work. From there he travels to the Bhutan capital of Thimphu where he is confronted by the modern pressures that ancient Bhutan faces as it strives to preserve and promote its cultural heritage, pristine environment and the "Gross National Happiness" of its people. In dzongs and monasteries, in shops and schools, in valleys and on mountaintops, every experience becomes a journey of discovery. And in a country where the traveler is surrounded by prayer - prayer flags, prayer wheels, prayer walls, sacred memorials and historic monasteries - every encounter is a blessing.