Some observations from travels

Vietnam

A word a Week Challenge – Boat

boat on ha long

A lone boat along Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is the one photo that came to mind when this week’s A Word a Week Challenge came up.  This was such a memorable photo for me…a boat amongst the giant limestone formations of Ha Long Bay.  Don’t forget to pop by for a visit at A Word in Your Ear for more contributions to this week’s challenge.

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Travel Theme: Bridges

This week’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack is Bridges.  I love looking at bridges, taking photos of them and learning about some stories behind them.  Here are some of the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and photograph.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya, Japan

Amersfoort, Netherlands

Amersfoort, Netherlands

New York, USA

New York, USA

Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore

Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore

Esplanade Bridge, Singapore

Esplanade Bridge, Singapore

Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome

Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome


Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Boat house, Mekong River

Boat house, Mekong River

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Caged birds, Hanoi, Vietnam

Caged birds, Hanoi, Vietnam

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.  Maya Angelou

In this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge we are invited to show what ‘Home’ means to us.  It means differently to everyone whether a physical structure of a house to go home to and relax, or a place in the heart to return to.  The photos I chose to include for this challenge were not of the castles and palaces I’ve seen during my travels, but of what some may call, hopefully temporary, home…


A Word a Week Challenge: Island

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui, Thailand

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Penjor from Ubod, Bali

Penjor from Ubod, Bali

Offering rituals, Bali

Offering rituals, Bali

Welcome, Koh Samui

Welcome, Koh Samui

Large budha overlooking the island of Phuket, Thailand

Large budha overlooking the island of Phuket, Thailand

Please don’t forget to visit here for more interesting stories about beautiful islands around the world.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

One of the things I love to do is go for a walk.  I explore places, both old and new, by walking.  My favourite place to walk through is a rainforest – it’s just magical!  Here are some photos for this week’s photo challenge – Beyond.

Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Australia

Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Australia

Mossy lake water, Great Falls, Virginia, USA

Mossy lake water, Great Falls, Virginia, USA

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui, Thailand

From the hallway of Lincoln Memorial looking beyond is the Washington Memorial and the Capitol, Washington, DC

From the hallway of Lincoln Memorial looking beyond is the Washington Memorial and the Capitol, Washington, DC

Arlington National Cemetery, VA, USA

Arlington National Cemetery, VA, USA


Ha Noi and the Old Quarter

On our second day at the wonderful Ha Noi we had a free day to wander around the city.  We chose to go to the Old Quarter and Old Market areas.  Intriguing!  Enjoy some of the images from this old part of the city.

We had coffee stop at this rustic cafe along the Hoan Kiem District.

A short walk further and you’ll be welcomed by the busy square along the Hoan Kiem Lake.

A French-colonial touch by the Metropole Hotel.

The grand Hanoi Opera House.

And the Neo-Gothic St. Joseph’s Cathedral.  It was beautiful inside the cathedral but we have to respect the ‘no-camera’ sign.  These sights are just some of the many beautiful and old buildings to experience around Ha Noi, it’s a shame we didn’t have time to see the Temple of Literature as everyone was raving about it.

The contrasts of images was an experience to be had.  The people were the same, some did not like their photos taken and some were too happy to give you a smile.  The social scene was also another part of the story.  Walking and driving around during the day you get to see the nice cafes, clubs and restaurants that changes its colours when the skies turn dark.  On our last night we met up with a friend, who worlds there now, at The Rooftop on the 19th floor of the Pacific Place.  Early in the evening we had dinner and the live band was playing jazz. After 9pm the music picked up its pace and the place buzzed with young socialites (or something that seemed like that.)

We left early the next morning and carried the sweet memories of Ha Noi on our next leg…Koh Samui.


Hello Ha Noi!

Ha Noi!  Welcome to another beautiful part of Vietnam!  We arrived in the evening and had a not very pleasurable start to our journey.  Our pick up driver from the airport drove very slowly as he was so busy on the mobile!  He was not just chatting, screaming would be a more apt description.  We had to remind him to tone it down a bit before we damage some ear hairs!  Then he took us to a wrong hotel…as he was busy with other chores aside from driving.  We found our destination at last.  This was a typical Groupon booking, you get what you paid for, type of transaction.  Our hotel is very basic.  But, I must say, very ideal.  We are smack bang in the middle of the Old Quarter, very central.

Early the next morning I walked out on the street and already people were busy with their morning deliveries.

Half-way into our 5-hour drive to Ha Long Bay we had a pit stop at a strategically located toilets/cafe/art shop place.  This was one of the ladies working on threading a poster sized artwork.  Very intricately done and very expensive as well.  And some of the silk art available for sale.

Ha Long Bay…one word, Magical!

This is an absolute Must See! destination.  We had lunch on our way out into the bay, then climb up the hill to get into the most beautiful cave.  Inside they put coloured lights amongst the stalagmites and it made the quiet cave into an orchestra of lights.  Beautiful!  Later on as we went closer into some of the limestone formations we were taken on small row boats to go even closer into the bay.  We got to see the floating village closer as well.  It was so worth the long bus trip.

When you’re within the formations it was very serene.  You only hear yourself gasp at the beauty of this place.  God is good, indeed!


Board Meeting

Board meeting Saigon style.