John and Jane in Thailand

J and J have escaped the hurly-burly of life in the USA.

Viet Nam

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Life here at the beach is easy, some would say even too easy.  You would think the time would pass slowly without a schedule to follow, without time constrictions, without obligation.  It is oh so easy to let things slide because there is no sense of urgency, no one looking over your shoulder, no one to answer to except yourself.  But time keeps on moving, albeit, at a gentler pace but moving on at a steady pace.  In other words, we went to Viet Nam in July and I have yet to post the photographs.  Time has caught up with me; in a week we leave for Indonesia where we will be diving for 10 days and I will definitely want to post something of that trip.  One of the reasons I’ve put off doing this VN post is that although I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the remarkable landscape and the sights of Hanoi, I was uncomfortable with the people.  Not because we are Americans, but because so many saw foreigners as cash machines to be scammed at every opportunity.  This is not an attitude we’ve experienced here in Thailand or other parts of SE Asia so it took us by surprise. 

Jennifer and Nathan completed their service in the Peace Corps in mid July but chose to travel a bit in the area before heading back to America.   We were able to join them for the northern Viet Nam leg of their journey; a real treat that wouldn’t have been possible if we still lived in the States.  I’ll just give you a quick synopsis of our travels then let the photos speak for themselves.  Taking a night train from Hanoi, we traveled ten hours to SaPa in the northern most reaches of Viet Nam (about 15 km from China).  It is an area in VN populated mostly with the Hill Tribe minorities, the most prominent one in SaPa being the Hmong.  We were there for three days then took the night train back to Hanoi where we boarded a bus to go to world famous HaLong Bay.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in a myriad of sizes and shapes.  It also has many caves, one of which we were able to visit.  We cruised the bay on a two story junk, spending one night on the boat and one night on the biggest island, Cat Ba.  Back to Hanoi from where we took a day trip to “dry HaLong Bay”.  This area also has many, many limestone karsts but it is a river that lets us navigate through them.  Look carefully at the photos that include the boat handlers to see what technique they are using to row.  Back to Hanoi.  During our times in Hanoi, we went  to the Ethnology Museum (fabulous), Ho Chi Min Museum (fascinating), Hanoi Hilton Memorial (you may have to be a certain age to understand), Temple of Literature, and to a Water Puppet show.  We did not go to the site where John McCain was shot down.  Viet Nam has some of the world’s best coffee and they know how to brew it.  We spent some wonderful time sitting in coffee shops enjoying the traditions the French left behind.  That’s it in a nut shell.  I hope you enjoy the images.



Written by Jane Estes

September 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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