28 November, 2012

Wordless Wednesday No. 67 - Colours of Vietnam

Saigon SunsetIMG_6332.jpg
IMG_6340.jpgSaigon by nightHoi An Lanterns
Hoi An - LanternsSapa Waterfall
Sapa WaterfallHa Long Bay Sunset
Ha Long Bay - SunsetHanoi Street
Hanoi Street

Hoo roo for now...


25 November, 2012

Where did that weekend go to??

Ok, since getting back from Vietnam, I have been busy - sorry about that! On the Tuesday, got home and started to do the washing, colours first and whites to soak! I also managed to get the back lawn mowed (I can't STAND it when it gets a little 'woolly'!

Wednesday was my first day back at work, and as I had not touched my work emails whilst away, I had a fair amount of 'catch-up' to do! Wednesday night though, I started to get a sore throat, and a fever overnight... Oh no...

Thursday, I was a little achy, I had a cough, and I was beginning to feel very tired, but I did 'push' through the day all the same. You see, whilst waiting in transit at Saigon airport, I had a little brat of a child (c. 8 maybe 9) sitting/kneeling on the bench seat behind me, we were having a bite to eat before clearing immigration. Anyways, whilst he was playing his DS, he let out this almighty hacking cough, a real 'flemmy' one... I turned around to see him still going, and playing his game console, not even bothering to cover his mouth from his germs... I gestured to him to stop it, as the last thing I wanted was to fall ill! Anyway, I did, and by Friday, I was death warmed up! I still went into work, although, I did leave at 10.30am after only 3 hours... I got home, and I slept most of the day...

Although on Saturday I was feeling a little better, and I had to give the in-laws the new computer I had been transferring files over too. A drive over, unboxed both the new PC and the new printer, and it is up and running smoothly (only thing remaining to do was a licence key for MS Office). It was then home for a quick 'kip' (or so I thought) before heading to the other end of Sydney, for my mum's family Christmas gathering. Of mums siblings, she is one of five, there was only three of them as uncle Brian passed away a few years back and uncle Frank is in a nursing home after aunty Margaret died 2 years back. But it was nice to catch up with Uncle Arthur (with aunty Joy), aunty Pat (with uncle John) and a few of my cousins (and their kids)! It was a quieter affair this year, to early? Busy people?? I totally understand we are all busy...

Mum, Uncle Arthur & Aunty Pat
Mum, Uncle Arthur and Aunty PatIn-laws & Out-laws
Joy, Arthur, Mum, Pat & JohnCousins
CousinsAunty Pat, Mum & Cousin Jenny
Pat, Mum and JennySon-in-law & Father-in-law
David and Arthur (in-laws)Cousin Stephanie Uncle John (Father/daughter)
Cousin Stephanie and her dad, Uncle John

Sunday morning, Bronty and I went down to the beach for a swim; she loves the water! There was a couple of other dogs there, Staffies and a couple of Foxies as well. It was going to be a HOT day, forecasted 36c, and the house was all closed up and was cool when I got home; and luckily, my recently fixed air-conditioner (by me of course) worked a treat!

Hoo roo for now...


19 November, 2012

Vietnam - Hanoi Day 2 & 3

Today was to be the catch-up 'Hanoi City Tour' that we moved due to a sickness earlier in the trip. We had breakfast, and got ready for the guide to meet us nice and early - 8am!

Our first point of call was the tomb of the late Mr Ho Chi Minh ('Uncle Ho' as he is known). We were told that we could NOT take in cameras or mobile phones, and happily packed everything up and left with our guide. There was also a 'tourist' entrance and a 'Vietnamese' entrance (which also had a priority, but still, NO phones/cameras! Anyway, we made our way through security, yes, bags x-rayed and walk through a metal detector - much the same as in any airport! Anyway, we joined the very long, snaking its way around corners, regular guards along the way. The asian (chinese I think) girl in front of us, pulls out her phone and started to take photos of the long line! Even the Japanese guys behind us saw this as an invitation and got theirs out!!! The girl in-front, even used it in front of a guard!!!We eventually made our way to the door of the tomb, where Uncle Ho was laid in state, and the guards were telling people to 'shhh'. M even got told to remove her hands from her pockets! There were four guards around Uncle Ho, each looking at the passing crowd, ensuring silence, and NO photos etc. The tomb is closed for a month every year, to allow him to be restored, our guard later told us that he never wanted to be on public view like this, yet the public wanted to view him! It was alomst sureal to see him, and I left with very mixed emotions to what I had just seen...

We then walked through the grounds, past his house and 'Stilt House' before coming out to the front of the Mausoleum.

Uncle Ho's MausoleumUncle Ho's Mausoleum - WideUncle Ho's House

As we were walking back to the bus, we passed by the bike parking area... All I could think of was, "now WHERE did I park my bike...?"

Where's my bike?

Next up, we stopped at the 'West Lake' Pagoda, quite a nice (large) lake... And not too bad of a Pagoda either!

West Lake PagodaM photgraphing the PagodaOfferings

Next stop, was the Museum of Literature, which was more of a University of sorts... We were somewhat lucky, as in a couple of days time it was the graduation day for students! And today, a lot of them were here giving thanks to the teachers (National Teacher Day) and were also praying for success in the Higher Examination coming...

Museum of LiteratureStudents Formal DressGod of LecturesStudents in GownsPosing

Our final (we dropped the 'shopping' tour of the 'Old Quarter' in Hanoi as we do that of an evening) destination for the day was the Museum of Ethnology. This was looking back at the history of the Vietnamese people, and the housing used by the minority people; primarily to the north. There was a lot of fascinating things to look at here, especially the differing styles of housing!

Water PuppetThere IS a bike underneath all of this!HousingBedLong BoatHousingStepsHousingHousingHousingHousing

We then headed back to the hotel to rest up, have dinner, and get some sleep...

The following day, was a mad-dash shop around the streets to grab a few last minnute bargains, before the flights back to Saigon and home. It will be good to get back home...

Hoo roo for now...


17 November, 2012

Vietnam - Hanoi Day 1

After breakfast, we planned for the days activities - but we also enjoyed a bit of a sleep-in! Today, we were to visit the Hanoi Hilton' (Hanoi Gaol), The Women’s Museum and the Vietnam Air Force Museum.

We mapped out our way to the Gaol first, and the gaol itself, was quite an insight. Some of it had remained, whilst what once was a probable 'exercise yard had since been built upon. The drawings of it complete, looked as though a good two thirds had gone! But once inside, the conditions that the prisoners had to endure, really were quite horrific. There was also a small section where the American Pilots had photos of a preparing Christmas dinner and presents giving.

'Hanoi Hilton'Original LayoutWomen InsurgentsMale PrisionersCell BlockSolitaryAmerican Pilots Preparing Christmas DinnerAmerican Pilots Decorating Christmas Tree

We left the gaol, and nearby there was a 'Fanny's' ice-creamery. Here we had a relax, a cool down (not that it was particularly hot) for a short time. I had an ice-cream that had three flavours and a mixed berry yoghurt with some cream and chocolate scrapings, whilst J had a banana Sundae, and M had a whirligig (mixture of flavours).

We then headed down towards the Museum for Women, which was showcasing the Vietnamese Women. The museum seemed to be a little lacking, but it does show what the women did; particularly through the war. It was this part that I found the most interest, not so much the fashion etc... They also had an exhibition of the women of the minority people in and around Sapa.

Womens MuseumJewelleryBlack ClothingTraditional DressesWomen of War

After this, we then grabbed a taxi, and headed over to the Air Force Museum, which had both an internal display, as well as a far more interesting external exhibition! Alas, if only some of these aircraft could still fly, or at the very least, be in a better condition! the highlight was an enormous helicopter to the rear, it was huge and as you can see with J standing in front of it, he looks tiny! It was well worth the visit down!

B-52 WreckageLarge Helicopter with JJet StabaliserWreckageHelicopter used to ferry 'Uncle Ho' around

Both the taxi trips to the museum and then back to our hotel, were (as is all driving experiences in Vietnam) interesting, with a hand on the wheel, and the other on the horn! We darted from one side of the road to the other to try and get a better run. Once back at the hotel, a quick rest and then out on the town to have dinner at a nearby burger place (by this stage, over local foods) and then a small walk about town. We even did ‘cyclo’ ride around the lake!

'M' Cyclo'J' CycloPagoda Bridge

Hoo roo for now...