Another Day in Maya’s London Life

One of Maya’s favorite pass times in London was going on adventurous walks. On this spring morning, Maya took us to some of her favorite London sights and shared some of her thoughts.

 

At the Wellington Arch

“You want me sitting where?”

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At Buckingham Palace

 “I cannot wait for my Corgi friends to come out and play in the Royal Gardens!”

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Standing by the Red Phone Booth

 “Indeed, one must admit to oneself that there is a presence of brilliant odours enveloping these boxes.”

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The Bobby by Big Ben

“Who’s Bobby and who’s Ben anyway?”

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On the Westminster Bridge with a View of the London Eye

 “We are allowed on the London underground and buses but not the fun ride. That’s not very nice and it makes me sad.”

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Across from The Parliament Building

 “Can I please, please, please jump in and swim?”

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At Westminster Abbey in Quiet Contemplation

“What is my life’s purpose? To eat, to sleep, and to go on walks but most importantly to teach my humans about love, patience, humility and loyalty.”

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London Taxi Cab

 “My human says London cabbies are the best in the world… that’s interesting… ooh, I think I see a doggie friend over there.”

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Modeling Along the Mall

 “This is definitely getting old, can we please please just continue walking. I see another park down the road!”

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Riding the Bus Home

 “I’m really tired now, oh but is that a potato chip I see over there?”

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Time for a Nap

“Exhaustion overtakes me… I must rest up today for tomorrow will bring another adventure. ”

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The National September 11 Memorial and Museum

My summer travels brought me to a very special place, to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The Memorial commemorates the almost 3000 people killed on the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center, at the location near Shanksville, PA , and at the Pentagon; and the 6 people killed in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993.

The 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial

The memorial features twin reflecting pools, each with a waterfall in the middle that appears to go on forever. The massive pools, each measuring approximately one acre, sit where the Twin towers used to be. The names of all the victims are inscribed into bronze panels surrounding the pools. The victims’ names are very specifically organized by location of attack, by company or crew they worked with, or by first responders. There are even computer screens that allow you to type a name and find its location in the Memorial.

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Honoring Angela, Susan, William Timothy, Ronald, Horace, Amenia, Gerald, and Patricia and her unborn child.

I grew up in New York City and experienced the construction of the Twin Towers. My father even has 8mm film footage showing the World Trade Center in the making. As for many fellow New Yorkers, this attack was extremely painful. Not only had we lost the Twin Towers, a favorite New York City landmark, we had lost thousands of innocent people in this attack. I had visited the World Trade Center site several years after the attack, and the new buildings and the Memorial were still under construction. Walking around the site then was still extremely emotional. In August I had the opportunity to visit the completed Memorial and I felt it was beautifully done. The emotions were still there. I walked up to the pools and gently passed my hands over the many names of the victims in hopes of paying tribute. It was hard to keep the tears back. As I walked around the Memorial I noticed that some of the names had white roses. A white rose is placed on the victims’ names on their birthdays. This whole area felt like sacred ground to me.

Remembering Jon Charles Vandevander's birthday.

Remembering Jon Charles Vandevander’s birthday.

If you are in New York City don’t miss the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The Museum was not opened yet when I visited but it is nearing completion. The 110,000 square feet museum is built over the World Trade Center archaeological site where you can see some of the original architecture of the Twin Towers. For more information on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum go to:

 http://www.911memorial.org/

The 9/11 Memorial uses water as part of its beautiful design. To me water symbolizes “cleansing”, starting anew, but knowing the lessons of the past.

I also share the following excerpt from The Healers Journal Blog.

Water carries all life. But water is beyond time, for it bears in its flow the seeds of future life, as well as the memory of past life. Water mediates between life and death, between being and not being, between health and sickness. – From: http://www.thehealersjournal.com/2013/05/24/the-hidden-metaphysical-properties-of-water/#sthash.fVicxoqO.dpuf

Spring Break in the Maldives

…I am walking towards my villa which sits over the water. I am surrounded by turquoise and blue colored waters with white sandy bottoms. In some areas the sand banks appear glittery white like sugar sprinkles. Off the back of my villa I descend down the steps and I find myself in two feet of water with colorful fish swimming around my legs. The blue hues of the sky blend into those of the water. The warm weather permeates my being. I don’t want to wake up from this dream…”

Before we moved to London we had no idea what the Maldives were. We had heard of Mauritius and Seychelles but the Maldives? After getting a very positive recommendation from a friend we decided to visit.

Interesting Facts

Male, Maldives

Sea plane view of some of the atolls.

The Republic of the Maldives is an island nation located in the Indian ocean southwest of India and Sri Lanka. It is a 10 hour flight from London to the capital of Male. It is made up of 1,192 coral islands forming a double chain of atolls. Atolls are coral reef islands surrounding lagoons.

Only 185 of these islands are inhabited. The Maldives has the lowest average altitude on the planet, of about 1.5 meters (3-4 ft). Scientists fear that Global Warming will lead to the disappearance of the country by 2050. The government of the Maldives has started buying land in Australia with the eventual plan of a massive migration when needed.

Getting There and Where to Stay

There are approximately 100 resorts. Most resorts occupy their own island. With a variety of resort options there is something for everyone. Once you arrive in Male you take either a car, boat or seaplane transfer to your resort.

Boarding the Sea Plane

In our case, we boarded a sea plane and flew 30 minutes to the Lux Resort on the island Dhidhoofinolhu in the South Ari Atoll. We worked closely with a travel agent and did a lot of research on-line before making our choice of lodging.

We stayed in one of only three family villas over the water in the resort and selected the all-inclusive package. Beach bungalows, B&B, and half-board were also available.

The Front of the Family Villa

The family villa consisted of 2 interconnecting villas over the water, one with an American size king bed and the other with 2 single beds. In addition, each room had its own bathroom and an additional day bed/sofa. Our deck had a table and lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, and steps descending into the water.

The Back Deck

I highly recommend the all-inclusive package. Menu choices for food and drink were very good and it’s probably the best way to go since you are a captured audience on the island. The resort offered 2 buffet restaurants open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 3 a la carte dinner restaurants, and 3 snack/ bar restaurants open all day long. There was also a a very popular ice-cream stand. At first we thought we would be bored staying in the confines of the island for a whole week. But instead we found ourselves very busy swimming, snorkeling, diving, riding bicycles, jet-skiing, kayaking, working out, and visiting the spa. The resort provided snorkeling equipment free of charge and operated complimentary daily boat trips to the coral reefs in the vicinity. Available also free of charge were kayaks and paddle boats. They also operated a PADI Dive center. In addition to the pristine white beaches the resort had two infinity swimming pools and children’s and teen’s clubs. And the piece de resistance was complimentary Wi-Fi in the rooms and premises for those of us who need to be connected.

A View from the Front of Our Villa

You always know you’ve had a wonderful vacation when you are sad to leave and you start planning the return trip. This vacation was enjoyed by all of our family members and received the Official Teen-Approval of my children.

Sunset Over the Indian Ocean