About a year ago this time, I was at school clearing out my classroom, preparing to take a year leave. On my way out I stopped to chat with one of the cleaners, working away in the hallway. I remember her asking where we were going on our trip, and her surprise at our desire to visit her country of Vietnam. During our travels, I had heard lots of travelling nightmare stories about Vietnam, and to be honest I was a little skeptical. As it turned out for the Mitchells, Vietnam was full of wonderful people, amazing food, beautiful scenery, thrilling adventure and so much more.
Our first stop in Vietnam was Hanoi where we spent several days with Narelle and Dong, in an Airbnb and had an amazing time. Narelle is an English teacher from Australia and Dong owns a travel agency; together they make an amazing team, that can meet and exceed any traveller’s expectations. The girls played with their new puppy, Caru, we dined on Bun Bon Nam Bo (our favourite Vietnamese dish besides fresh spring rolls), and wandered around the town avoiding motorcycles and taking in the scenes of a busy day. The water puppet show was recommended, as was a trip to the country. We were amazed at what they call ‘Vietnam telecom’ and are still wondering how it was possible to make it through the week with wifi and electricity. We toured the Women’s Museum and learned all about women’s roles in the war and also visited the “Hanoi Hilton”, the jail made famous by its POW, Senator John McCain.
|The puppet masters wore hip-waders and stood waist deep in water behind a screen, manoeuvring the puppets.|
There was smoke, fire and lots of cool affects.
|Biking in the country - boy was it hot!|
|The Hanoi Hilton|
|We thought this was quite amazing. The barber shop is on the sidewalk along with the motorcycles!|
|This is what they call Vietnam Telecom! I included this in a previous blog, but it is|
just so unbelievable we had to post it again!
|Jessie, I borrowed this photo from you, but it was the best to capture how the women cover|
up in Vietnam!
|Another example of the 'undercover' women.|
|Smooth sailing into Halong Bay.|
|We hiked up the edge of the mountain and explored deep into the caves. You|
can see the floating fishing village in the background.
|A cooking lesson, we are learning how to make fresh springrolls - yum yum!|
After spending the night on the sleeper train, we found ourselves in Hoi An, one of Mark’s favourite places in Vietnam. Hoi An is famous for clothing tailors and I had a couple of skirts fashioned for my return to work. We were fortunate enough to be there during the lantern festival and joined the festivities by making wishes, while launching lanterns into the river. The town itself is an example of a traditional South-East Asian trading port. It is one of the only towns in Vietnam that has survived intact since the early 15th century.
|The streets were beautiful, and all of the buildings maintained the same heritage look.|
|The lantern festival was spectacular.|
|Young children and moms sold the lanterns to tourists to launch into the river.|
|We purchased four to send a drift.|
|It is tough to see but the river was bright with everyone's lanterns floating down stream, here is Meg|
launching hers. We were so caught up with everything we almost forgot to make our wishes!
|My new skirt hand tailored by Duc Minh Tailors at Cua Dai Beach. I probably|
should have had more clothing made at these prices!
We made a quick stop in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, before we ventured to Nha Trang. We found ourselves back on the sleeper train, but this time, were able to enjoy the landscape by day. A quick boat trip up the river in Hue took us to the Citadel. Nha Trang is a beach community with a large Russian tourist population, seeking the sunshine. We relaxed, walked along the boardwalk, and enjoyed the view from our high-rise apartment.
|We took a trip on the dragon boat up the river for a tour. It cost 75 cents each for about 3 hours of time.|
I don't know how the families can possibly make a living at that price.
|The Citadel in Hue.|
|Just checking out the beautiful scenery; water buffalo, workers in the fields in conical hats, rivers and rice fields.|
|Our view in Nha Trang; it reminded us of Australia... a bit.|
|The top bunk of the sleeper bus!|
|Checking out the crazy house, high above the ground!|
|Our beauties at the Crazy House.|
|We took a cable car ride and captured this photo on a hike around a temple, so beautiful!|
|An afternoon history lesson at the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. McGall would be so proud!|
School is not quite out for us Mitchells yet.
|Thousands of bombs remain un-detinated in Vietnam, threatening the lives and |
safety of its residents.
|Yes, you even have to watch out for motorcycles inside restaurants! So crazy...|