Thursday, October 27, 2016

I will never ever forget it!

Scooter road trip in Vietnam .

I stayed a few weeks with my youngest son in Hanoi. It is my second time, last year, same time. Sleeping on a mattress that could as well have been a plank.

Before I came, he promised me a road trip on his Honda scooter. We planned a trip to Cat Ba island in Halong Bay. When I heard 4-5 hours on the bike plus a few extra on ferries and waiting, sanity prevailed and we decided on the bus. 

The morning breaks and he casually says that it is a pity we are not going by bike because we would  have no transport on Cat Ba. I looked up and thought, oh well, I told people back home I am going on a road trip, so let's do it! In a mad scramble we pack the bare necessities but with my camera bag it fills a big backpack that he has to hold between his arms in front of him. In the first hour "I can not possibly do this" and "This is a huge disaster" went around and around my head.

The traffic is crazy and I see an accident meant to happen in front of me every 2 minutes. He asks me to please take my hands off his middle since he is sweating. I am supposed to place them on my knees! Instead I grip the back of the seat with both hands and ended up with extremely stiff arms the next day! The sun is blazingly hot and I am not sitting comfortably. Fortunately I realise after an hour when the traffic becomes less is that the blanket I am sitting on (to cushion my poor behind a little bit) is folded under me, hence the uncomfortable seating!

It gets better, and after 130 km of relentless sun and about 4 hours we reach Hai Pong, where we wait for the ferry.

Remember you can click on the photographs to see them better.

Loading the ferry...

Me, on the ferry, not caring about anything but rest...

There are passengers that must be more uncomfortable than me... They were climbing on top of one another, and looked very hot and thirsty!

Then 6km and then over the island Cat Hái (6km) and then another ferry...
My son kept quiet about the last trip to our destination, 26 km! But it was beautiful scenery. Both of us were exhausted when we reached our destination:

Our cabin for the night, VERY small, but with a beautiful bathroom!!!

This was tough, 172 km on a scooter on Vietnam's roads! We decided that I would take the bus back, but the two of us made a wonderful memory, and it was not finished yet, we then had to get ready for Typhoon Sarika!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Laos, again!

Should I eat Frog Porridge??

This is my second time in Laos. Last time I was in Luang Prabang and enjoyed it so much that I came back, this time to the capital, Vientiane. But I was underwhelmed. It had all the same friendly people, but none of its charms. It is a very laid back sleepy capital.

The hotel, Vientiane Golden Sun Hotel was good value for money, clean with 2 lovely swimming pools, much appreciated! Even an old traveller like me make mistakes. I did my Taiwanese visa at home, saw I have to get my Laos visa at Vientiane airport and remembered that I got my Vietnamese last time also at the airport. Right and wrong! I do get it there but have to do it online 2 weeks before entering. Mad scramble late the night before I fly. The Vientiane Golden Sun Staff were extremely helpful with this. It cost me a lot to do it so quick, but at least I could fly!

I have had frog legs in Paris. I was offered frog legs arranged like a lotus flower in China. but Frog porridge does sound rather unappetising! Or paddapap in Afrikaans...

But the following sounds really disgusting and made me smile:

Another sign that made me wonder and smile was outside a hairdresser, big in neon letters : 
One hair, One style!

Can one hair have more than one style?

ລາກ່ອນ (la khãwn)

(good bye!)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hanoi and Goodbye Vietnam!

I actually downloaded Good Morning Vietnam and watched it again. Such a great movie and Robin Williams a great actor. 

Hanoi is a big city, and I feel with more character than Ho chi Minh city. But that is a personal feeling, and maybe it is because I spent more time in it and got to know it better. The old town sector, and the many beautiful lakes makes it a pretty town. 

Two of my sons and the ones' girlfriend teaches in Hanoi. I stayed with one and his girlfriend in their lovely apartment. My
mattress was fairly thin:

I slept in the lounge, which was lovely, because I was in the centre of tv watching, cooking and chatting.

Having a wonderful dinner.

I bought a suitcase, and my poor son had to walk through the streets of Hanoi. The Vietnamese carry things hanging from their shoulders, but never on their heads. They certainly looked at this very tall man walking with a big object on his head!

Me and children on bikes- oh my goodness, I can not tell you enough how scary this was!

I watched these five get on (there is a child in the front) 99% of people wear helmets, but never the children!

Full moon in Hanoi

School girls in their uniforms .


Another beauty getting photographed.

Traffic chaos.

Beauty in Hanoi.

Baskets, anyone?

Street scene.

This is how the girls of Hanoi protect themselves. Even their hands!

Hanoi, I will miss you!

Goodbye, Vietnam!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Off to market we go...

Food is all in the open in Vietnam. They do try and keep the flies away, but it is an impossible task. The long legged chickens are the funniest (to us). They love chicken legs, so they breed them like this. The black parts of the chicken is common, and in Laos last year in a families' house, I had to eat some of this black chicken. It was not easy!

Flowers are very special, and roses in this hot climate! But they sometimes protect them like this:

This I saw often, to my astonishment. They will have chickens on the sidewalk in the busiest street. In the evenings they catch them and put them in a cage. And they do not go into the road! (maybe they do, but I never saw one...)

At first I thought these feather dusters were a whole lot of chickens tied together...

Flower street, but this time all plastic!

My favorite shop in Hanoi! They changed their window regularly.