Friday, July 2, 2010

Vietnam Trip - Summer 2010

Yes, our clan has safely traversed the Pacific Ocean, survived 3 hours of pre-dawn meandering through Hong Kong International Airport, and incurred no negative outcomes on the breathtaking drive through the streets of Saigon to Long's family home. It was a balmy 82 degrees upon arrival, with patchy clouds overhead, quite lovely weather I will add, for Terri, and a great relief after a Viet Kieu with a warped sense of humor told my brother that he'd heard it was the hottest summer in 15 years. Not true!!!! It's been raining for a couple weeks which is very nice for breaking the heat and lessening the humidity. No sign of rain today...Had a delightful bucket shower, Vietnam style, with cold water (of course), and am preparing to crawl into the air-con guest room to nap till it's time for the Brazil/Netherlands game at 9 pm. Our timing is perfect, and Vietnam is a country of rabid soccer fans. Much drinking and shouting and "drinking food" expected.
I swear the seats on the 747s are getting smaller. (Perhaps it's my butt getting bigger... :( ) Two birthdays to celebrate, four quarterfinal games to watch, adn then we leave for Phu Quoc Island on Monday morning.

Here is our itinerary:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thailand pictures

Posted by Picasa
Well, here are some pics from my visit to Suphanburi, home of old friend Jirapan, a very famous new Chinese temple, the wonderful "buffalo village", several renowned Buddhist temples, and a lovely recreational lake complete with zoo, botanical gardens and "Bunny Paradise Island." Two days with no other farang in sight, and the wonderful sounds of the Thai countryside, most notably the amazing birds singing all around. I managed to find, with some help from a friendly Thai Tourism rep, the minivan station that runs vans every half hour to Suphanburi, and the hour and a half trip brought me back to my old Phanat Nikhom days, when I took daily minivans to the refugee camp past similar rice paddies and scenes of country living. Had to play my ipod for the occasion, and even had the same REM song playing that I listened to often while I traveled. Jirapan showed me the sights of her scenic province in her spiffy little car. It's a lovely little side trip, off the beten track from most foreigners' itineraries.
Hooked up with Sunee my last night in Bangkok and had a short but sweet visit with her before catching the early morning flight home.
Highlights from my trip:
motorcycle taxis around Bangkok--cool breeze in the face, darting in and out between stopped cars, swerving into opposide lane of traffic, all the noise and smells of the city amplified...
walking around the streets of the city, more smells-diesel fumes, raw sewage, incense, rotting garbage, meat grilling on open fires, fragrant flowers---I LOVE the smells of the city!--noise, so many sights, little glimpses of beauty amidst the larger ugliness of the cement and wire and trash and smoke and rusted tin roofs and more trash and masses of people...
Rode my first buffalo! HaHa Mary Doyle! Hung out with a whole stable (of sorts) of water buffalos, including a couple rare white buffalos and one dwarf buffalo...
of course the train trip--48 hours through Malaysia and southern Thailand, the "goal" of this trip which I'd dreamed about doing for 25 years...
The lovely and surprising Hat Yai, a charming small town
Holding hands with an orangutan in Suphanburi

Okay, gotta go visit with my wonderful husband who cheerfully took over all responsibility for the kids and the myriad animals and encouraged me to take this trip by myself even though I know he wasn't as excited as he pretended to be to send me halfway around the world alone...I'm happy to be home and happy to have had the chance to "close" my Thailand chapter, to come full circle and see it again from a new perspective. Still the same wonderful exciting and stimulating place and I'll be back again someday, maybe with the whbole family next time.....
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Susan's Solo trip to Asia

Well, Susan couldn't get to her blog yet so I put her update here from her email.

Greetings from Singapore! I could spend the whole week here in this airport! The rainforest massage center is closed, as it is 12:30 am, but I could rent a bed and a shower for 3 hours till I head for the train station, and here I found free internet--no free wifi yet as far as I can tell. None in Narita airport eiher, but they DID have automatic-bottom-cleaning toilets--my first time. Wow, just like a baby!
The trans-pacific flight was lllooonnnnggggg--havean't done it alone in a long time and the leg room and seat width have shrunk (and I have grown wider as well... :( Full flight too. BUT from Japan, I don't know how you did it, honey, but somehow you got me a seat in business class AND the plane was 3/4 empty. So I got some good sleep.
The air is heavy here from the humidity.
I watched Michael Jackson's This Is It 5 times before I figured out how to use my personal entertainment center. I have a new appreciation for him.
Okay--nothing to report yet, except a super-clean butt, just wanted you to know I made it to this side of the world. Will find an internet cafe probably later this afternoon.

Hi all! Well, I've made it to Kuala Lumpur and found free WiFi at their Starbucks--so I had to buy a honey- orange frap for new year. I am TIRED! Couldn't sleep well in the airport after dozing on the plane. And my immune system is trying to force me to have a relaxing vacation instead of an adventurous one--got hit by a cold so my next stop is a pharmacy and I decided to head directly to Thailand where I will relax a bit before my shopping spree begins. (thank u Long! :-).
Malaysia seems like an interesting place--old outpost of the British and Dutch empires with colonial style gardens and houses, a good mix of Muslim Malays, Buddhist Chinese, Hindu Indians and a bunch of grungy backpack toting westerners. And everyone speaks English.
Next stop Thailand in about 24 hours.