Five Facts I’m Willing to Share, Part III

I know it’s Five Facts Friday but I’m taking the liberty of making it 5 plus 5 as we’ve run out of Fridays for August and I missed the first two.

1. When my kids were away studying, I decided to have my own adventure. I sold my house, car, and piano and moved to Bangkok to work with a company affiliated with the United Nations. My days were filled with challenges and I had countless exciting, pleasurable, moments.  One day I helped children plant trees in a barren field in Kanchanaburi, west of Bangkok. For most, it was their first experience with volunteer work and they were very proud of what they accomplished.2.  If you follow my blog, you know that I love to travel and learn about other cultures. I visited my son while he was teaching English in Japan. It was fun to join him and his friends     singing in a karaoke bar and laugh ourselves silly.

Kyoto is a very beautiful city with just the right blend of old world and new.  I saw many women dressed in traditional kimonos going about their daily life. This lovely geisha posed so that I could take her photograph.I was given the opportunity to be a guest at a private Japanese tea ceremony.  It takes years of practice to learn the art and the ceremony is carefully choreographed like a dance in slow motion. It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

3.  I love seafood and the best paella I ever tasted was in a restaurant up high on a hill in Roman ruins, (Vila Vella,) just outside the seaside town of Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava, Spain.  We sat on the patio caressed by the warm, evening breeze and watched the lights twinkling across the Mediterranean and the town below. I savored every morsel of the paella that was filled with jumbo prawns, chicken, chorizo, rice, and green peas. The paella paired with a crisp white wine created one of my most memorable meals. Magic!

Julia Child

4. My favorite kitchen tool is a big, stainless steel, wire whisk as it’s perfect for blending sauces and whipping cream or egg whites.Years ago, I taught cooking classes and published a cookbook. I became a member of the International Association of Cooking Schools, (now called International Association of Culinary Professionals.)  At a conference, I was awarded my membership pin by Jacques Pepin and had the unique privilege of attending cooking demonstrations by Julia Child.

5.  Although photography is my current passion, I also paint in watercolours and acrylics when I have time.  I sold this original 11×14 watercolour of Mt. Baker, Washington, about five years ago.


1. It was thrilling to climb the Great Wall of China with my daughter.  I confess to not being a history buff but am always moved and honored to be able to walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before me.   It is almost impossible to comprehend that thousands toiled, in all seasons, for years to create this phenomenal defense system.

2.  My favorite local meal is fresh, steamed, Dungeness crab with drawn butter and lemon wedges, Caesar salad, and crusty French bread.

3.  I don’t often fall into tourist traps. While travelling in Singapore, I went to the famous Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel to take in the ambience and enjoy a Singapore Sling. I was disappointed when I saw the bar tender take out a plastic jug of pink syrup, pour some into a glass, add a little gin and ice, and top it with the obligatory piece of pineapple and a cherry.  I was expecting fresh pineapple juice, grenadine, cherry brandy, gin, and bitters frothed to perfection. It was an interesting experience and, yes, I joined the locals and other tourists, and threw my peanut shells on the floor.  When I was there, it cost $18. I understand that the current price for one Singapore Sling is now $27. Too much to pay for a pre-mixed drink. The hotel, however, retains it’s old world charm.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore

4. The work of a wide variety of artists always inspires me. Three years ago, I spent part of a morning with my photography instructor, Julian Hyzler, viewing the frescoes called “The Legend of the True Cross” by 15thCentury artist, Piero Della Francesca. If you get a chance to go to the town of Arezzo in Tuscany, do take some time to see this exquisite body of work in the Basilica San Francesco.

Colourful flags in Arezzo, Tuscany

5. My favorite summer dessert is meringues nests filled with fresh fruit topped with a dollop of whipped cream.  My kids always request this for their birthdays.  The meringue shells are quick and easy to make and stay nice and crispy if you bake them on a sunny day.

This is my last post on Kim Klassen’s challenge for 5 Fact Fridays .

Kim’s website is brimming with inspiration.  Take a moment to check it out.

To see more of my images, please visit my website

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

4 thoughts on “Five Facts I’m Willing to Share, Part III

  1. What an amazing life you are having, just love reading about all the places you have been to. Julia Child, how wonderful. Keep up the good work.

  2. Wow! You’re so brave and adventurous! I want to live in Kauai someday, but would feel bad moving away from my kids… I love that you just went and followed your dreams…the kids move on & live theirs, right? You’re an inspiration! 🙂

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