The Happiest Moment of your life

The Happiest Moment of your life

happiness joy

Jumping for joy in the sunshine!

To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice ~ Kahlil Gibran

Originally posted 2016

It is important in your life and in your pursuit of happiness that you take time to reflect on how good things have been.  Sure, at times, this means digging hard for silver linings in dark grey clouds but the mining is worth the effort.  I’ve written before about keeping a jar of happiness.  It’s a good way to remind you that good things are happening.  Reminding ourselves that good things are happening, that we have happy times, makes it easier for us to believe they will return when things are dark.

Tonight I got thinking about those pinnacle moments in life, those moments that we often describe as the happiest moment of our lives.   So what were the happiest moments of your life?  For me personally there are a number than come to mind, the night my little brother was born, a perfect sports moment, standing in the Himalayas on a 15,000 foot ridge looking up at peaks still rising 10,000 feet higher, watching her strut across a restaurant floor on our first date.

A little exploration on the web and a few general categories seem to evolve, including the comments I found on each.  The comments I found centered on falling in love, the joys of childhood, travel, the birth of children, achieving something and the bonds of friendship.  So hopefully tonight’s post got you thinking about those moments, feel free to share them in the comments and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Love

My happiest moment was when I found someone to love me. It seems so horribly unoriginal but it was more than just finding a husband and falling in love it was receiving that reward of completeness. We don’t realize just how empty we are until we find that one person who helps you see how much you’re worth. 

 Childhood joy/ Travel

My happiest, or one that stands out the most, was when my grandparents took me to Disneyworld when I was 11. The joy and wonder was beyond my imagination. I was lucky to spend that time with them and make those memories, as now they are gone.

Child birth

My happiest moments were giving birth to my three children. I never felt love like that before. I was overwhelmed with emotions. It was scary, but amazing.

Achievement

The first one directly involved me, the other really didn’t. When I received my first standing ovation after a dramatic, not comedic performance

Friendship

My Happiest Moment In My Life  The most happiest moment in my life is when my best friend Aileen and i went to Bluerose and had a great bonding moment between the two of us.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

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Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias

Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias

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Originally posted April 2018

So I’m back in Oviedo before heading up to the coast to Gijon for a few days. So I decided to catch some of the sites I missed when I was here a couple of days ago. Chief among them the Museo de Artes. The Asturias region has a really rich art history and the museum is really good. You also can’t beat the price, a museum that features pieces by De Goya, Picasso and Salvador Dali is completely free.

There was a nice spread of works from the 18th century up through modern works. Below I’ve posted some photos.  Enjoy – Rev Kane

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Happiness – On Being Alone

HappinessOn Being Alone

hiking, alone, lonely, happiness

Alone on the trail

Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. ~ Paul Tillich

Inspiration for these posts comes from a lot of places.  Recently an old friend contacted me and said that they had a friend who was considering hiking the Appalachian Trail.  He asked me to reach out and see if I could be a source of information and support.  I’ve done this for a number of folks attempting a thru-hike, I really enjoy doing this.  I both get to be helpful, make a new friend and get to relive through them my time on the trail.  The most recent person I did this with shares a lot of similarities with me and likely the reason my other friend asked me to reach out.  They are around my age, single, a definite individual and it goes without saying since they were attempting an AT thru-hike, adventurous.

Recently they posted a little thought to the universe about being alone, they’re tired of it.  They are tired of going to dinner alone, traveling alone, hiking alone, of seeing movies alone both at theaters and at home curled up on the couch.  I didn’t respond to the post, but I get it.  So tonight when I sat down to do my Sunday night post it hit me as something worth writing about for a lot of reasons.

I have spent most of my adult life alone, to those who know me well that really isn’t a shock.  I’ve never been a settled person, a good friend in college used to say the song the Wanderer by Dion really made him think about me.  I’m someone who has always had a desire to travel, as a kid when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always not here.  Yes, I was even a smart-ass as a little kid.

People look at me and they see someone who has a successful career, who has traveled the world, I’m intelligent, well spoken and a decent human being.  Heck, and according to my granny, I’m a damn good-looking man.  So people often wonder why I’m not married.  I’ve had other people in my life, confused by my wandering, ask me what I am running from.  Other people have assumed I have a fear of commitment.  None of those really explain the big question folks have about me.

Why am I alone?

Probably the first and most important thing is that being married was never something on my life list.  Not a box I needed to check off of that list.  I really love kids, my nieces and nephews are incredibly dear to me, I had always hoped to be a father, always thought I would have been a good one.  I was always a little less sure about the idea of being married.  Honestly, although I know some people who have great ones, a see a lot of unhappy ones.  But that has never left me opposed to the idea, if the situation was right.  I have been in love, really, deeply in love three times where I thought there was a chance for something special to work out.  But it didn’t, sometimes it was that the person turned out to not be who I thought they were, usually for me it was terrible timing.

Of course I’m a tough ticket, I’m an utterly curious person and the reason that makes me a tough ticket is that it is that curiosity that drives my incessant need for travel and new experiences.  So if someone is going to be with me, they need to be of a similar mind, and have a willingness to see far enough out the box to build a life that fulfills that.  There are not a lot of people who fit that bill.

Getting older

As you get older and life gets more established, dating becomes a really difficult thing.  When you’re in college there are a lot of people to meet who are around your age and at a similar point in their lives.  Then you move into the workforce and there are some people your age but more who are older, married, settled, your options for dating, hell even for friendships begin to diminish.  For me it was more extreme, by the time I finally left grad school and was working full-time I was 38, the others in a similar position were in their twenties, not 15 years on from that point, the other single people in the same situation are still in their 20s.  I’m not complaining, I’m good with the decisions I’ve made and the path my life has taken, just stating reality.  Of course it doesn’t help that I’m also a pretty strong introvert.

Rev Kane on his first day on the Appalachian Trail

I don’t like people

This statement usually catches people off guard as they see me as a fairly social individual.  The thing is, most people usually don’t understand what being an introvert really is all about.  Introverts are people who gain energy from time alone, more importantly we get drained by spending time with people in social situations.  Now, a lot of times that pairs up with people who are also uncomfortable in social situations, so that’s where the stereotype that introverts are socially awkward comes from.  However that’s not me, I’m social but being social absolutely wears me out.  I’m someone who far prefers one on one deep conversations to social situations and small talk.  Doing small talk drains my energy at an incredible pace and I find it incredibly boring.  As such I’m not the biggest fan of people, in general they drain me.

On being alone

So given that I’m not driven to be married, that my romantic timing has been terrible, that I’m a tough ticket and that I live an unconventional life it is not particularly a shock that at nearly 54 I find myself alone.  Now I know some of my friends and family might argue the point that I’m alone, and I get that, I have great people in my life.  But because of my lifestyle those people are spread all across the country, heck, all across the world.  So like my new friend posted on Facebook, although I enjoy solitude, hiking, going to the movies, shopping, etc…alone.  At times, I too am tired of going to dinner alone, taking vacations alone, more importantly not having someone to sit and talk to at night.  Of course, I’m not even sure I could live that life, I’m incredibly set in my ways, my high need for solitude has always been a bit of a barrier for others.  But of course, that’s what the “right” person is all about, someone who fits with who you are and what you need, while being that for them.  Sure, there’s always going to be some give and take, things will never be perfect, but I’m not willing to go there unless I think the situation would be pretty special, who I am is not something I willing to comprise.  If that position means I live my entire life alone so be it.

slower pace of life, can make you happy

A slower pace of life can make you happy

Being alone is not terrible

Being alone is not terrible, sure there are times when you wish you didn’t have to do some things alone.  But there is a lot of freedom.  I’ve felt the downside a lot lately as I’ve been going through some medical procedures and you need a driver.  Many of you have someone who you automatically turn to in those situations, I don’t.  But I also have a level of freedom most people dream about.  As an introvert, I’m able to easily get the space and solitude I need for my own mental health and the life I lead (alone as I may be) has brought me to a place of happiness.  A place where I’m able to share what I’ve learned and try to help others live a happy life as well.  I’ve had a really great life, sure it’s been an absolute roller-coaster, I’ve had more than my share of pain and tragedy, mistakes that I have and still pay for, but I’ve also been very fortunate.  I’ve worked hard, been able to travel the world, experience things many people never will, I’ve been blessed to have some really amazing people to call my selected family.  And hopefully, I have a long way to go and a lot more to do.  And hopefully, sharing some of it will help you have happy days as well my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

A little post-script to the post, my favorite writer’s take on being alone.

Alone with everybody ~ Charles Bukowski

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

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Happiness: Handling Worry and Uncertainty

Happiness: Handling Worry and Uncertainty

01Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. ~ William Ralph Inge

Well to say it’s been a tumultuous week for some people in the United States may be an understatement.  With the election of Donald Trump and some of the rhetoric he espoused during the election, and some of the past views of his Vice-President related to the LGBTQ community, there are a number of people visibly worried about the change in US leadership.  So, it seemed like a good time to do a reminder post about worry and happiness.

We often worry before we have to, this isn’t to say the things we worry about are unwarranted, they may very well be, but we often spend a lot of time worry before things have actually happened.  This is really counterproductive and really doesn’t solve anything.  Thinking about and preparing for a possible issue is smart, but think about it, make a plan and move on.  Letting it run over and over in your head accomplishes nothing.

Now I get it, telling someone not to worry is like telling you not to think about a monkey playing a tuba, where was your head just now 🙂  So what I suggest is that you worry for a purpose and move on.  Right now a lot of people have a lot of uncertainty about the future and that is causing them to worry.  That’s ok for a minute, but in the end, all we can do is go forward and live out lives.

All of this causes stress and stress will ruin your happiness and make you ill.  So my friends, as always, take a deep breath, do all of the things you know you need to do.  Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, limit your access to things that exacerbate your stress.  Stay busy and focused on the positive things in your life and you’ll have happier days.        ~ Rev Kane

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Worry, the Enemy of Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is Reducing Stress

 

 

 

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Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to buy the Book

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to Buy the Book

at-happPlease forgive my shameless plug tonight but I wanted to provide all of the purchasing information for my book in one place ~ Rev Kane

What I hope you can get out of this book is a feeling for the Appalachian Trail Community: thru-hikers, hostel owners, trail towns and trail angels who all conspire to make hiking the AT an amazing experience.  I knew the community existed, but the positive impact it had on me—the power of this community—completely caught me by surprise, a really pleasant surprise.  Sure, there will be a good bit about the trail, the geography, the weather and the mountains, but it’s mostly about the people, the culture and my own twisted brain.  The book is drawn out of three things: my journal entries, descriptions and definitions of trail terms, and the writings I undertook while hiking the trail. I also answered three questions every day; what was the most beautiful thing I encountered, what did I learn, what made me happy today?

Amazon & Kindle   – You can find both the paperback ($9.99) and ebook ($2.99) at Amazon, if you buy the paperback you get the ebook as a bonus for 99 cents if you are so inclined.

Createspace  – If you order through Createspace ($9.99), Amazon doubles my royalty.  I’m assuming they do this to help drive traffic to the Createspace store.  So if you want to help maximize my royalty this is the best way.

Signed Copy – If you would like a signed copy please contact me directly at happinesskane@aol.com.  For these I have to order a copy from Createspace, then sign it and ship it to you directly, due to the double shipping I charge $15 for this option.

No matter how you buy the book, I’m thankful that you have and thank you very much for supporting my work and I hope you enjoy it. A quick synopsis is below. ~ Rev Kane

Please check out my blog the Ministry of Happiness

Find us on our Facebook Pages, Appalachian Trail Happiness or The Ministry of Happiness

Checkout my photos on Instagram at @reverendmichaelkane

Find us on Twitter at @ministryofhappy

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Great TV Shows for your next binge watching weekend

Great TV Shows for your next binge watching weekend

television, great shows

Old School Binge Watching Device

A good story can travel in time and borders; it hits you no matter where you are. ~ Hakkan Nesser

Originally posted June, 2018

The beauty of television and Twin Peaks

I think I am falling in love with Legion the way John Thorne fell in love with Twin Peaks.  Now, who the heck is John Thorne you might ask, he’s one of my oldest friends and one of the world’s leading experts on Twin Peaks, he shows up in the Twin Peaks documentary on Showtime, was one of the co-founders of the fanzine Wrapped In Plastic, the book, The Essential Wrapped in Plastic: Pathways to Twin Peaks and currently the Blue Rose Magazine, A Twin Peaks Journal.   He was also the editor of my first book, Appalachian Trail Happiness, a good writer, a good editor and a good friend as well as a fellow fan of good television, books and movies.  He fell in love with Twin Peaks and got me hooked the first time around.

So back to Legion, a quick warning there are some minor spoilers in what’s below but nothing that will reduce your enjoyment of watching this utterly amazing show.  Beyond my discussion of Legion, a list of of other shows that would be way worth your time if you’re looking for a binge watch, unfortunately not all are available.

Legion on FX

I always liked Twin Peaks, but never obsessed about it, thought about it, or wanted to analyze it. I’m becoming that way about Legion. I love that the story takes intellect to follow, although I don’t find the storyline nearly as obscure as most seem to. It is so well written, the non-linear choices made at times I find absolutely brilliant and entertaining. The connections are unbelievable, Sydney Barret as a schizophrenic, Syd Barret the schizophrenic former lead of Pink Floyd, coincidence, I think not when they start season 2 with Pink Floyd music. I love the sets, the costume designs, even the lighting which they use brilliantly, the concept of the characters amazing (I’ll need to jump into the comic at some point to see how much comes from there). There are so many little amazing details in scenes some that I catch and squeal with delight, I know there are a lot more I missed and much like my friend John, I find myself re-watching episodes to get what I missed.

The bottom line is what I desire in a television series for me to really dig it is entertaining storytelling, intelligence in the story, performances and directing, great performances, complexity, attention to detail and most of all to be surprised. My real test these days, is this a show I watch where I multitask (on my phone or laptop) or is this  a show that engages me to the point that I have no interest in multitasking.

The list below is a list of these types of shows, I’ve done a little categorization and thrown in a note two here or there.  There are some shows not on the list that may deserve to be, The Americans for instance and The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m sure there are others.  Those two are missing because I have not personally watched them.  I’m sure there are others that people will feel should be on the list, Westworld, Stranger Things, and Mad Men come to mind, all good shows but not shows that do it for me.  Westworld is a great concept with a good storyline but gets boring at times, Stranger Things I feel is over-hyped, definitely an entertaining show but I’m usually on my phone doing other things when it’s on.  There is a lot to like about Mad Men, but I got really tired of the story line, so perhaps the earlier seasons should be on the list.  Anyway, I hope the list gives you a find or two that helps give you a happy day.  ~ Rev Kane

Shows over time that have done that for me in no particular order:

Dramas

The Wire – maybe the best TV show ever
The Sopranos – right up til the last season, spectacular
Deadwood – couldn’t believe this show was canceled early
Breaking Bad – A really magnificent series that was as addictive as meth
6 feet under – perhaps my favorite series finale ever, very satisfying
Band of Brothers – if you like war movies, this will do it for you.
The first couple of seasons of Oz – season one blew my mind, so gritty
Homicide Life on the Street – As good as the Wire is, homicide is just a click below
Fargo (Seasons 1 and 3) – love, love, loved season 1
True Detective Season 1
The Newsroom – great first episode, great speech, amazing cast
St. Elsewhere
Hill Street Blues
First season of ER
West Wing
Dexter – serial killing done right, wait, what did he just say?
American Horror Story (season 1)
Mr. Robot – My only beef, to a degree this is Fight Club the series, but soooo well done

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Star Trek (the original The Next Generation and Deep Space 9, haven’t seen the latest)
Babylon 5 – the best written Scifi series of all-time, and if you disagree we can step outside
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – On the surface, pure pop candy, but so much more!
True Blood
Firefly – the best series ever cancelled early
The X-files – early on
Lost – the first 2 seasons, the series finale was utterly awful and dissatisfying
Game of Thrones – if he’d only publish the next damn book
The Leftovers – really under the radar good show with a spectacular series finale
Doctor Who – Been in love since Tom Baker, fell back in love when David Tennant arrived
Battlestar Galactica (the remake) – Had few expectations and all of them were blown away
Kolchak the Night Stalker – the original X-files
Life on Mars (the British Version) – Unbelievable show and oh, Gretchen Mol was so good
Jericho – Great dystopian series, probably shouldn’t be on the list but I loved it so
The Walking Dead – the new standard in Zombie TV
Fear the Walking Dead – I love origin stories and this does so much more of that
The Expanse – next to Legion another new show that really has a chance to be special

Anthology

The Twilight Zone – do I have to say anything
The Outer Limits – campy at times, but so good
Alfred Hitchcock Presents – really clever storytelling

Comedy

Mash – best comedy ever made, with better drama than most dramas
The United States of Tara – Really interesting look a multiple personality disoders

Other

John from Cincinnati – Maybe he was God, cancelled before we found out
Carnivale – twisted and lovely
Happy! – maybe a comedy, a drama, a fantasy, it’s definitely beautiful, nuts and awesome.

And Legion truly does it for me

What shows would you add?

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Walking in Oaxaca

Walking in Oaxaca

Dia de Los Muertos Poster

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Originally posted October 30, 2018

So today I decided to take a walk to find the location of the apartment I move to in eleven days.  It’s a nice spot over offices for a doctor and a lawyer, only a couple of blocks from the zocalo at the edge of the tourist district.  There’s a nice restaurant next store, a laundromat around the corner and a small market about a half a block away.  I’ve also found my barbershop for the time I’ll be in town.

barber, krampus, mexicoI then took a walk past where I’ve been so far.  I started by heading out past the cathedral and immediately ran into a hoard of skeletal ladies.

I quickly found myself in the store area of town, the streets lined with stores and the occasional restaurant, lots of shoe stores.  But on several blocks the street is also fully lined with vendor booths.  If you like shopping, Oaxaca is definitely your kind of town.  I even found a little plug converter I’d forgotten and had to borrow from my host.  At one point I stopped and wanted to buy a bottle of water but the woman just said no, she couldn’t make change.  I’m finding this to be an issue, not having sufficiently small enough money.  It seems that change is at a premium in Oaxaca.  Luckily a bank was kind enough to break my bigger bills into smaller bills.  So now my smallest bills are the equivalent of $5 US bills, this works some places but not at booths or small mini-markets.  So my new goal is to use bills to break them into smaller change whenever possible.  On the way I also found a little cutie selling Mescal.

day of the dead, skeleton, travelYou can see she’s obviously flirting, she’s staring right at me.

I kept walking and even found a market I was looking forward to visiting, the market on 20 de Noviembre that is filled with every kind of food you could possibly imagine being served.  There’s even a grilled meat passage, that smelled amazingly good as you walk through stall after stall of grilled meats on either side of you.

I came out of the market and turned back toward the zocalo, or so I thought and walked for a while until I realized it was time to check the GPS.  Yup, I was completely reversed and had been walking in the opposite direction of the zocalo. During my walk I discovered Halloween is also a thing here because there were a number of Halloween mask booths.

halloween, mask, travelSo I reversed and headed back that way and eventually once I got back to the zocalo decided to eat.  I stopped at a cafe on the zocalo and got some enchiladas verdes com pollo covered in lovely Oaxacan cheese, really tasty and a bit salty.  The meal was great, but it was on the zocalo so you pretty much have to say no thank you to a walking vendor every couple of minutes.  The zocalo is really gearing up for Dia de Los Muertos and the big altar is fully up, with another couple of altars under construction.

Another lovely day in Oaxaca, sixty degrees in the morning and eighty by siesta time around two o’clock in the afternoon.  One final note today on Oaxaca, prices are amazing.  My giant plate of enchiladas, with bread and a coke was $6, a two-liter bottle of water is a dollar.  My trip to the market in the neighborhood (avocados are 25 cents) for an avocado, 2 carrots, a cucumber, 3 heirloom tomatoes and 4 bananas cost me $2.  My laundry that I dropped off this afternoon, a weeks worth of clothes will be ready tomorrow afternoon, wash, dried and folded will cost me $1.15.  Prices are pretty nice.

I’m finally feeling a bit comfortable in Oaxaca and looking forward to a tour I’ve booked tomorrow night to visit three cemeteries that have been decorated for the Day of the Dead.  Hope you are having a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Welcome to the End of the World

Welcome to the End of the World

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Originally posted September 2018

I left Santiago de Campostela on a bus today for La Finestre, the emd of the world.  At least that’s what the ancient Pagans and the Romans thought.  This place is the end point for the old Pagan walk to the end of the world.  The hike ended at the point where the lighthouse now stands, I’ll make the hike to the lighthouse tomorrow.  There is a party tonight in the harbor, so I took a little walk down along the harbor, got a kebab and snapped a few photos, enjoy. – Rev Kane

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Happiness is wanting less

Happiness is Wanting Less

bottle wall 2

Happiness is a way station between too little and too less ~ Channing Pollock

Originally posted in 2014

For today’s post I decided to write about happiness and wanting less.  You see we are all always, particularly as Americans, told that more is better.  We’ll be happy when we get a bigger house, a pretty spouse, more kids, a nicer car.  But that’s not the answer; the real answer is underneath all of that.  What is it that you really need to be happy?  Does what you need to do to make you happy require that you be rich or famous?  Or is it that you simply haven’t truly addressed the question.  This is to the core of why the Ministry of Happiness was created, to help all of us, you and me, to find out the true answer to the question, what makes you happy?

What is it that you need in your life for you to live the happy and fulfilled life we all dream of living?  Below is a link to an article that addressed this question magnificently and hits the point perfectly, enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

How to want less and be happy about it

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A Really Wonderful Day – Mexico

A Really Wonderful Day – Mexico

mezcal, mescal, mexico

Sunset at the Mezcal Distillery

Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit. ~ Frank Borman

Originally posted December, 2018

The Institute I’m studying Spanish at has two tours they support, a Saturday tour that I did last weekend.  That tour goes to Monte Alban and several other places and I’ll get a post up about Monte Alban at some point soon, it was a really amazing place.

monte alban, travel, mexicoThe Sunday tour goes to several places as well, we started our day by stopping at Santa Maria de Tule, the home of a really giant tree.  This tree is a Montezuma Cypress, at least 1600 but likely over 2000 years-old, almost 60 feet in circumference and 31 feet in diameter.  It is truly an amazing tree.

tule, tree, mexico

Next we went to a family run business, this is a Zapotec traditional weaving family who use wool, clean and dye it using things like flowers, seeds and insects.  The tapestries they make are absolutely beautiful.

tapestry, weaving, mexicoWe then visited Hierve El Agua, the boiling waters.  The site is someplace that has natural boiling water that comes up through the rocks.  The water is mineral laden that deposits along the rock faces as it drips down over the rocks.  This creates the effect of a frozen rock waterfall.  On top there are also some really beautiful pools that fill with water and people swim in.

hierve el agua, travel, mexicohierve el agua, mexico, infinity poolFinally, on the way back to Oaxaca we stopped at a traditional Mezcal distillery that was beautiful and I tasted a five year-old Mezcal that made me considering picking up drinking again.

mezcal, travel, mexicoIt was a full-on nine-hour day, with a nice buffet lunch that included chicken with grasshoppers, the food was really good and the buffet was loaded with vegetables and I ate a ton.  I was the only native English speaker on the trip although there were four Chinese tourists who also spoke some English and after our guides left the tour, the driver asked me to interpret between him and the Chinese tourists which made me feel pretty good about my Spanish skills.  So a really great day.  I hope you had one as well my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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