Monday, January 17, 2011

Until Next Time

After a while, you adapt to being in unfamiliar surroundings, to moving from site to site and town to town, to unpacking and repacking.  After a while, the wandering and exploring becomes the rythm of your days.  I wish my days could continue like this, but it's sadly time to close this chapter of traveling adventures.  Our three weeks is up, and we must fly home tonight. It has been wonderful. Goodbye Vietnam & Cambodia, until next time!      

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thoughts on traveling

Yes, it can get tiring--living out of a bag, being constantly on the move, pushing the limits of what I'm comfortable with.  But that is why I travel, it's part of the experience, to jolt my senses and see, feel, taste something new.  To be awed, to step outside of my routine, to know that there is more to life and the world than what I normally witness everyday.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Other travel blogs

Sorry I haven't been able to update much. I would love to share more details and photos, but lack of time and Internet access has limited my ability to blog as much as I would like. I also decided to leave my iPhone at home and no longer have my dad's laptop to load pictures from my camera to, so I've only been able to blog and share from the iPod touch that Justin lent me (thanks Justin! It's been awesome having this handy iPod to connect to wifi when I can!). I will share more when I get back home, so in the mean time, here are some other things you can read...

For another (and much funnier) perspective on our Vietnam & Cambodia trip, check out Rae's blog. She brought her iPhone, so has been able to take & share a lot more photos and videos than me:

Also take a look at Cat & Nick's blog, read about their time with Rae & I and check in to see how the rest of their world trip is going:
Cat & Nick

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back to the motherland...again

Wow, I can't believe our 10 days hanging out with Catherine and Nick have come and gone so quickly.  I'm so happy that plans worked out and that we were able to meet up with them during their world trip.  It was so much fun being able to explore and travel with a group of friends!  They flew in the night of January 3rd and we've done so much during the past week and a half--Saigon, Cu Chi tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap & Angkor.  Today is our last half day in Cambodia, Rae and I are flying out to Hanoi this evening to finish the last leg of our trip in Northern Vietnam, back to the motherland once again. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by Cambodia.  Besides the Angkor ruins, it has never been on my must see list of travel destinations.  I was just going along for the ride, it was more of a "why not?" rather than a "I have to go there!" detour out of Vietnam.  In the end, I am so glad we came here, even though we had to sacrifice the Central Vietnam towns of Hue & Hoi Anh, which I still really want to visit (next time!)  In our initial planning stages, we were only going to stay in Cambodia for three nights.  But in the end we also had to cut out Phu Quoc island, off the tip of the Mekong Delta, since it would be too difficult to get to in such a short period of time (next time!).  So we stayed here for six nights instead of three, and now six nights still just isn't enough!  I would happily stay longer if I could, but alas, we have other adventures calling us in Hanoi & Halong Bay.  

Tuk-tuk driver to Angkor: $9 for the whole day
Buffet dinner & Aspara dance show: $10
Can of Angkor beer: $1
Cambodia souvenir shirt: $2
1 hour traditional massage: $8
Great adventures with friends: priceless!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Funny Shirts, Part II

Okay, here are a lot more of the funny rediculousness. We were having a grand time roaming the market stalls and laughing about these...

Eat Babe For Face
Alternate get trick for fun

This was the whole phrase on one shirt. Really?! It makes no sense!

Beautiful love
What's in your jeans?

This was also the whole phrase on a shirt, haha.

I'm superstar

Ape should never kill ape

Life is worth when you see the world of life

Sheep happy time, this is a happy bear
Another completely random one, what do sheep and bears have to to do with each other?

Always breathless confusion

I heart drugs

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Funny Shirts

We've been finding some hilarious phrases on shirts here. Might have to buy one of them because they are so random...

My whole life is bad for my nerver
Not sure what nerver is, but I don't think I want bad nerver either.

On a bright yellow woman's tank top:
I am king of a beautiful woman

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Back in Saigon

We've been enjoying more of the city the past couple of days...

-1 1/2 hour massage for $5, what a deal!
-Getting a hair wash & head massage, only $2!
-Eating homemade dinners cooked by Co Hoa, YUM!
-Catherine & Nick made it from Australia, yay friends!
-Figured out the rest of our trip itinerary, whew, no more worrying!
-Cu Chi tunnels-realized there's no way I could've been a VC, that shit was scary!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

On the Water and Into the Highlands

12/31: Nha Trang
The first part of our morning in Nha Trang was spent walking along the beach and park, the main strip is a bustling place that reminds me of Waikiki. We sat down at a cute little place for some coffee for breakfast. Vietnamese iced coffee is the best stuff, WAY better than the lattes I usually get back home. Sweetened condensed milk is the key, and although I'm sure I will pay for it dearly later on (who wants to go to the gym with me?!), I'm going to enjoy as much of it as I can here. My dad chartered a private boat for us, so we spent the rest of our morning and early afternoon exploring the islands around Nha Trang. Hopping in the water for a snorkel was on the agenda for the first island stop, but it turned out to be too windy to be enjoyable. Luckily, the man in the colander boat came around to offer us the glass bottomed view of the reef. It was so unusual and funny and I think it ended up being more fun than a snorkel would have been. We've many snorkeling many times before, but it's not ever day that we get to ride in a bowl-shaped boat. On our next island stop, Raelene wanted to try parasailing but didn't want to do it alone. Since I was too chicken to go with her, my dad decided to do it so she wouldn't miss out on the opportunity. It was hilarious to watch them gear up and go, especially because it happened so quickly with no safety talk and little instruction other than to run when they said "run." It all turned out fine and they had fun, but it's still not my cup of tea. After taking a dip in the warm waters, we headed off to lunch on another island. We were first dropped off at some floating fish pens, where we had to choose what we wanted the restaurant to cook up. I do eat seafood, but it was a little sad looking at all those doomed animals, knowing that I will be sentencing one of them to their deaths. There was a lot of cool marine life in there that we refused to eat, including remoras, bamboo sharks and especially the whole pen of huge cuttlefish. Oh, POOR CUTTLEFISH! They are one of my favorite animals and it was heartbreaking to see that people were going to eat such beautiful creatures. In the end, Rae and I were okay with picking a red snapper to cook up and my dad and Co Hoa also ordered some snails. A commonly eaten fish and some gastropods, I think our conscience can live with that. We took a raft over to the restaurant and enjoyed a delicious freshly cooked lunch. Half of the fish was fried, ca chien, and the other half was put into a sweet and sour hotpot soup, canh chua ca. After lunch we headed back to the mainland and spent the afternoon checking out Nha Trang's aquarium, the Oceanographic Institute. For our New Years celebration, Rae & I had some beers at the local brewery, Louisianne, then called it an early night at 10pm. It was the most excitement we could handle, with the jetlag still hanging around.

Relaxing out on the water and enjoying the boat ride...
Relaxing on the water

Fish pens aka the lunch menu...
The fish pens that we chose lunch from

Raft ride to our restaurant...
Raft ride to land

Oceanographic Institute...
Large tank

Crazy room of preserved sealife. Makes me think of the ministry of magic...

New Years eve beers...
New years eve beers

1/1: Nha Trang to Dalat
Next morning we hit the road to check out Dalat, a town in the central highlands of Vietnam. The drive was beautiful and you could definitely feel the difference in the elevation change--the air was so fresh and cool compared to the warm humidity we had been in. Again, long slow roads meant that we didn't get into town until later in the day, so we were only able to do a couple of things when we got there--checked out a cute flower garden, then walked the markets and shopped. Co Hoa is great at bargaining, so I walked away with an adorable coat for $15, very exciting.

1/2 Dalat to Saigon
Before heading back to Saigon, we visited a couple of places around Dalat.

Visit to the Crazy House in Dalat
Crazy House, designed by architect Hang Nga, was indeed crazy but also very cute and tons of fun. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore and get lost in, and was kind of like being in a huge fairy tale treehouse. Great for adults who are kids at heart!

Bobsled track
Datlana Falls was cool, but the most exciting part of this stop was our bobsled ride down to the falls. We bought tickets and hopped on without reading the instructions other than "ride at your own risk." It was like a roller coaster, except you control your own breaking. This meant you had to make sure you don't ram into the bobsled in front of you, and hoped that the people behind you are just as careful. It made for an exciting and hilarious ride down the hill. Video to be posted shortly.