Friday, September 30, 2011

Quy Hoa Leper Hospital

Perhaps one of Vietnam's more peculiar tourist destinations is the Quy Hoa leper hospital in Binh Dinh province.

This is a large and quiet pleasant place situated on a beautiful beachfront just outside of Quy Nhon City. It is open to visitors (there is a small cover charge) and along the beach are cafes and restaurants that cater to visitors.
There is also a fascinating sculpture walk which has a series of busts of all of the great pioneers of medicine.

It's well worth a visit if you find yourself in Quy Nhon, one of Vietnam's best-kept secrets. People who travel to Vietnam rarely take the time to visit Binh Dinh province, which is a shame because it is a really lovely part of the country, and has a rich and fascinating history.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Canberra

Di Lac Phat (Maitreya Buddha), Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Lyneham, Canberra

I was in Canberra last week and dropped by the Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Canberra's largest Buddhist temple (and getting bigger). The abbott there is the Venerable Thich Quang Ba, one of Australia's senior Buddhist monastics, and a revered figure in the overseas Vietnamese community. Thich Quang Ba hails from Binh Dinh province in Central Vietnam, a place I write about a lot in my book about Vietnam, Destination Saigon.

If you ever travel to Vietnam, Binh Dinh is well worth visiting - well off the usual tourist track, it is a beautiful little spot, and filled with a rich religious history.

Quan The Am (Bodhisattva of Compassion), Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Canberra

Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre was established in Canberra in the early 80s, and at the moment is undergoing extensive renovation and re-building. When it's all finished it will look amazing. But just at the moment it is a building site and that's about it.

Model of Chua Mot Cot (One Pillar Pagoda), Kwan Yin Pond, Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Walter Mason to Speak on the Mysteries of Angkor Wat, Monday 24 October 2011

Angkor Wat: The Beauty and Spiritual Significance of Cambodia's Great Forgotten City

At the Southern Cross Academy of Light
Monday, 24th October 2011
St John’s Uniting Church Hall, cnr of Yeo Street and Barry Street, Neutral Bay. Enter off Barry Street. Session starts 7:30pm. Entry Fee: $15, concession $10.

Forgotten for centuries in the jungles of Cambodia, Angkor Wat was once the world's greatest and most sophisticated city. Re-discovered by French explorers in the nineteenth century, this massive stone structure was both a political and a religious centre, built to illustrate the creation myths of Hinduism, and later accommodating many of the schools of Buddhism. In this fascinating talk Walter will take us through the stories, history and meanings of the great temple of Angkor Wat.

Walter Mason is a travel writer whose book on Vietnam, Destination Saigon, was named by the Sydney Morning Herald as one of the 10 best travel books of 2010.
Walter is currently at work on his next book, a spiritual journey through Cambodia. He is also in the final stages of writing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Western Sydney's Writing & Society Research Group, where he is writing a history of self-help literature in Australia."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Busking at Pages & Pages

Yesterday I spent the most wonderful morning at Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman.

They were hosting a book busking marathon, and I was privileged to open proceedings with 15 minutes reading the funniest pieces from Nancy Mitford's comic masterpiece The Pursuit of Love, one of my all-time favourite books.
It was all in aid of Indigenous Literacy Day, a fundraising effort to help raise literacy rates among indigenous communities in Australia.
What a star-studded lineup it was. I also caught crime novelist P. M. Newton reading a fascinating series of letters by Aboriginal leaders from Australia's past, radio personality Robbie Buck doing a very spirited reading from Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish, and novelist Charlotte Wood reading a passage from Kim Scott's award-winning That Deadman Dance and, excitingly, a tantalising snippet from her soon-to-be-released novel Animal People!

Jon Page, the owner of Pages & Pages, is to be thanked for his energy and enthusiasm throughout the day, and for so consietently supporting such a good cause.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Busking for Indigenous Literacy Day

On Wednesday 7th September at 9.10am I will be at Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman doing some Book Busking to help raise money for Indigenous Literacy Day.

I'll be there reading some of the funniest moments from one of my favourite books, Nancy Mitford's comic masterpiece The Pursuit of Love.
What is Book Busking? It's when a whole range of interesting and talented Australian authors (this year including P. M. Newton and Charlotte Wood) sit outside the front door at Pages & Pages and read from their favourite book.
It's all in aid of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

The event is to help raise money to increase literacy levels and awareness of literacy issues within the Australian community.

What would I like you to do? Come along and hear me and have a laugh and maybe even make a contribution to a very worthy cause. All the money raised through sponsoring me or other readers goes to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.


Indigenous Literacy Day Book Busking
Pages & Pages Booksellers
878 Military Rd
Mosman Junction
Mosman NSW 2088
Phone 9969-9736

Wednesday 7th September 2011
I am on at 9.10 - Other authors throughout the day!

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