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December 1, 2015 – 2:31 am

Good eating, an eclectic Toastmasters group, hospice training, Zen meditation, depression, social phobia, orgasmic meditation, tears — and laughter — all come into play in Cravings: A Zen-inspired memoir about sensual pleasures, freedom from dark places, and living and eating with abandon (Say Yes Press), an insightful gem of a memoir: writer, editor, foodie and adventurer Wanda Hennig’s first.

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Hare Krishna Festival of Chariots Durban

April 18, 2017 – 3:18 am
Goddess at Hare Krishna parade in Durban.

Singing and chanting Hare Krishna devotees of all ages—and the interested and curious—gather in Durban over Easter weekend to pull their three lofty chariots that sail along the beachfront festooned with thousands of flower garlands and billowing brilliantly colored fabric canopies. Travel blogger Wanda Hennig joins the devotees, who also prepare fresh vegetarian meals for the hungry. It’s a celebration.

Zen, mindfulness and overcoming depression

March 19, 2017 – 1:24 am
Buddha at San Francisco Zen Center

Current brain research and the discovery that neurons that fire together, wire together is producing concrete evidence for something Buddhist practitioners have maintained for centuries: the sustained practice of mindfulness can change the workings of the brain at a molecular level and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness. In light of this the San Francisco Zen Center has been offering mindfulness and depression workshops for the past ten years.

Travel to Poland: visit Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow

January 8, 2017 – 4:52 am
Wieliczka Salt Mine Poland

Entering Wieliczka Salt Mine is like being transported into another world. A unreal, mystical, subterranean nether-world. Salt mining started here in the 13th century. Not surprisingly if a little eerily, the adventures, the stories, the lives of men and women who have lived and worked (and sometimes died) here, deep in the bowels of the earth, infuse the place. You feel it, sense it — or at least I did — as you descend after entering. As you climb down, down, down the narrow wooden stairwell into a nether world of caverns and tunnel-paths and overhangs. Small wonder this UNESCO Heritage Site is one of Poland’s top tourist attractions.

Plentiful: The Big Book of Buddha Food launch notes

December 10, 2016 – 1:10 pm
Picture: Alan Wilson

Plentiful: The Big Book of Buddha Food (Jacana) is the Buddhist Retreat Center’s third cookbook. Plentiful was launched at Adams Bookstore in Durban by journalist and longtime Zen student Wanda Hennig. Plentiful’s chef is Paul Atkinson. Editor is Chrisi van Loon. Photographer is Angela Shaw.

Foodies and yogis head for South African Buddhist Retreat

December 9, 2016 – 1:23 pm
Paul Atkinson at the Buddhist Retreat

Pudding and Prana had us do a lot of yoga with Amy Best and cooking demos (followed by eating) with Paul Atkinson. Vegetarian curries and a Moroccan stew. A beet and feta salad. A “bejeweled’ cous cous. Poached pears in a yummy rich chocolate baked pie topped with whipped cream blended with double-cream yogurt. All were recipes he had perfected while working in the Buddhist Retreat Center kitchen and were destined for Plentiful: The Big Book of Buddha Food (Jacana).

Travel to Poland: Na zdrowie from Krakow

October 27, 2016 – 12:22 pm

On her “roots” and culinary travel trip to Poland, Wanda Hennig comes to appreciate her vodka-pouring hosts, learns about nalewka — a traditional vodka-like drink infused with herbs, fruit, and/or spices — first at Krakow’s legendary Cafe Jama Michalika and later at upscale seasonally-inspired Pod Baranem restaurant (among other places). Not surprisingly, she comes home with the T-shirt…

Welcome to Berlin: now beware the U-Bahn station bandits

October 22, 2016 – 12:10 pm
Berlin Welcome Card pictured.

At the risk of inserting a spoiler at this point, my yoga friend’s Berlin Welcome Card didn’t serve as a lifeline when she was robbed — of her passport, credit cards, debit card and entire stash of cash — the first time she used it. Embarrassing as it is to admit, it was ‘streetwise’ and travel-wise me who fell prey to pickpockets. On the ‘up’ side, getting back on track was not the train-smash I imagined it might be.

Thailand Travel 37: The Doha market bus tour and home

October 3, 2016 – 6:34 am
Two cooks set up outside at Doha old market.

I sign up for the free two-and-a-half hour Doha bus tour; the 4pm run. The 100-year-old market is the highlight. The women encouraging us to try spoons of their brayani and other cooked food offerings — in heat that could probably melt my Crocs if I left them out for half an hour. Offering me tissues to dab at my face. Alarmed that I am sweating because they don’t seem to.

Thailand Travel 36: Blast… and Thailand’s worst breakfast

October 3, 2016 – 5:56 am
Nai Yang Beach Resort boxed breakfast.

The text messages about the bomb blasts come after I conclude that this dry whiter-than-white unbuttered bread with a couple of withered brown tears of lettuce and about eight minute slices of what I presume is chicken and a dry small roll and a wizened small citrus fruit of indistinguishable nature must be the worst brekker ever served in food-loving Thailand. Thanks Nai Yang Beach Resort.

Thailand Travel 35: Nai Yang late night massage surprise

October 3, 2016 – 5:30 am
Nai Yang Phuket

“Mam” comes out and we chat. I ask her why she’s so busy when the others are empty. “I’ve been here a long time,” she says. She’s refined. Warm. Probably 50. I tell her I want a good strong Thai massage and had a bad one yesterday. She goes inside. Chats to someone. Comes back out…