In Awe of the Pyramids

Before the time of time immemorial, the pharaohs of ancient Egypt built Pyramids as the tombs for their afterlife and the symbols of their majesty. After five thousand years, dynasties rise and fall, rulers come and go, but the Pyramids at Giza are still standing as the Nile forever flows.

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

Standing in front of The Great Pyramid, I am completely in awe. It is 455 feet tall, and was the highest building in the world until 19th century. It was built with more than 3 million blocks of stone, with the heaviest ones weighing 15 tons. It took more than 100,000 laborers for twenty years to finish. It is literally a manmade mountain.

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

Local Egyptians are very friendly. Sometimes they are too “friendly” – they try to trick you to buy souvenirs or ask for baksheesh (tipping). The children I met at the Great Pyramid flocked to me to say “hello,” and want their photos taken.

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

Riding a camel in the desert was absolutely a thrill and a lot of fun! It costs $4 for ten minute camel ride. Someone told me that it could be risky if you let the camel go too far into the desert, because the Egyptian guides could ask for as much as $100 (and if you don’t agree, they would threaten not to let the camel return).

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

In front of the second Pyramid is The Sphinx with a royal headdress and human face, faithfully guarding the Pyramids. Standing sixty-six feet tall, it’s tiny compared with the mighty pyramids around it. This is the oldest sphinx found in Egypt, dating back 2,500 BC.

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

Although I have seen the picture of the Sphinx many times, I was still astonished by its eminence. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was in a playful mood. So, with the right angle, I kissed the Sphinx!

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

The evening’s Sound and Light show was really amazing. In about an hour, the five thousand years of Egypt’s history and ancient civilization were revealed as a grandstand play in front of my eyes, leaving me with much to wonder and ponder for the following days….

Copyright 2007 Helen Wang

A Little Bridge over Brimming Water

Copyright (c) 2007 Helen Wang

The photo reminds me of a famous Chinese poem: “A little bridge over brimming water, and there is a hidden home….” Since the “home” is not seen in the picture, I named it “A Little Bridge over Brimming Water.”

???????????? “??????” ?????“??” ????? ???????“????” ????????????????????

Cancun Renewal

Who can imagine that was a former fishing village thirty years ago?

Surrounded by Caribbean sea, Cancun today has renewed its natural wonder with beautiful white sand beaches and crystalline turquoise waters. Walking barefoot in the sand awakens all my senses.

The beach is not the only attraction for Cancun. The ancient and the promise of the return of Kukulcan invite me to explore its endless wonders and mysteries.

A parasail over the Cancun sky gives a bird-eye view of its unprecedented beauty. Feeling like a bird flying into the infinite blueness, my heart sings with ultimate joy!

Looking back, a year has passed with much to be grateful; and looking ahead, another year is coming with more to be hopeful!

My Experience at Esalen

Before we went to Big Sur for the Memorial Day weekend, my massage therapist advised me to schedule a massage at Esalen Institute. “It’s right on the cliff overlooking the ocean,” she winked, “it’s an experience not to be missed.”

I did not know anything about Esalen Institute. From what I read on the website, it sounded very intriguing: “The word itself summons tantalizing visions of adventure, of unexplored frontiers, of human possibilities yet to be realized.” My innate sense of adventure and curiosity kicked in – that’s something I want to explore. Isn’t it a one-of-kind experience? I must go!

Only after I arrived on the Esalen property, I started to get a sense what I was getting myself into. On the way to the massage house located on the cliff, I saw people, men and women, lying around sunbathing – they were all naked.

At the entrance, a woman, noticed my confusion, kindly handed me a towel and led me to the hot spring lounge. Just as I turned around the corner, I was appalled to see an open shower room with both men and women in it taking showers. It has a huge glass wall facing the jet-blue Pacific Ocean.

Too shocked to enjoy the scene, I turned myself to the corner. For a moment, I thought perhaps I should just turn around and leave. I didn’t mean to act like a conservative “bumpkin,” but I was not mentally prepared for this! I reached out to open my bag. I could put on my bathing suit, no one would force me to be nude. As I was hesitating, I took a peek around me – there were both men and women, quickly undressing or dressing themselves. No one was paying attention to me. Of course, no one was looking at anyone else.

At this point, I realized putting on anything, even my very sexy two-piece bikini, seemed pointless. What the heck, I thought, if I have gotten this far, I might as well just do the rest. It’s not a big deal. I took a deep breath and slowly undressed myself. I took off everything like everyone else, except my sunglasses. Thank God, I just got a new pair of sunglasses with big dark lenses of this year’s fashion!

I rushed into the shower room to take a quick shower, and then rushed out to drop myself into the first hot spring tub I saw. After I settled in, I started to look around to get myself oriented. This is an open veranda with three hot spring tubs enjoying a spectacular ocean view. People were walking around care-freely like Adams and Eves. A picture of Medieval Greek gods amusingly came into my mind….

I sat stiffly in the water, trying to relax. Big drops of sweat started rolling down my forehead. The half hour seemed extra long to me. Finally, my massager came in to fetch me. I thankfully wrapped myself in towel and followed him to the massage room on the other side of the building.

It was a large open room with six massage tables facing a huge glass wall toward the ocean. The place was exceptional serene with the soothing sound of ocean waves. As I lay down on the massage table, pacing my breaths with the rhythm of the ocean, all the tension faded away. I felt my whole being dissipating into an infinite vastness.

The essence of Esalen massage is to align our body’s internal rhythm with the rhythm of the ocean, of the nature, and of the universe. It was transformative. It magically awakened my inner awareness and helped me to regain a sense of harmony, reverence and balance.

After the massage, I returned to the hot spring lounge feeling reborn. I was able to walk around like Eve. I discovered there were three outdoor hot springs on the cliff. I soaked into one of them like a mermaid, and crawled to rest my arms and chin on the edge, enjoying the bountiful ocean of dark blue waters in front of me. I no longer cared who was around me. The ocean, the sky, men and women became one…

I closed my eyes and let the natural healing hot springs penetrate deeply into every inch of my body. I felt the gentle sea breeze caressing my hair, and warm sunshine kissing my face, neck and back…. I sunk into a deep meditation. I prayed for the ocean, for the sun, for the land, for the tree, for the valley, for the mountain, and for the world, “where mention of God has been made, and His praise glorified.”

My experience at Esalen tested my “unexplored frontiers.” It expanded my horizon to a new level. No wonder it is such a renowned place for “revolutionary ideas, transformative practices, and innovative art forms.” I look forward to returning to Esalen Institute someday in the future.

, , , , ,