Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thank You

Dear Friends,

My last night in Vietnam. This trip has exceeded expectations in every way. I got to reconnect with some old friends, see some wondrous things and get out of my normal routine. It has been invigorating.

Catch a plane @11:30 Sunday the 20th to start heading home. Just wanted to share some images of my home base here in Southeast Asia.

Here are photos of Barbara and Ron's beautiful home, their sweet boy Kelsey and of course Barb and Ron.

Barbara and Ron
Kelsey Boy

So Thanks again to Barb and Ron both for helping to make my stay in Vietnam so wonderful. Love and all the best to you both!

Thank you also to those of you who followed my blog and sent such loving  heartwarming e-mails.
See you all very soon.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City Pictures

Hi All,

As I mentioned in another post, I just learned the basics of this blogging program before I left home, thanks to Mara. Yeah Mara! So I lost the pictures, now here they are!

Forgot to mention in the previous post Ho Chi Minh is everywhere. He is the National Hero. Papa.


Food. Glorious food. I am a Vietnamese food believer and lover! Amazing textures, flavors and balance. What a treat!

Ho Chi Minh is adored here.
Tiles on the floor at the People's Committee Building.

So friends, I feel full and really ready to come home. I love the exotic feel of Vietnam, the food is the best and the people have been so kind and helpful to  a wandering lost American in their beautiful city.
Leave tomorrow (AM) Sunday will be back in beautiful Portland by late afternoon.

Look for a few more posts.

Love to you all.

Cooking and Getting Lost in Ho Chi Minh City

Hi All,

Back in Ho Chi Minh City, my last full day day that I can explore the city, what to do? I decided on taking a cooking class that my friend Barbara told me about. Great, I was all excited. A sure way to get to know a culture better is through it's food and cooking it. So my morning and afternoon all set, then meet Barbara and Ron for cocktails on the roof of the Rex Hotel. Very fun. The Rex Hotel is where the commanders of the Vietnam War used to brief the press corps.....exquisite view of the city and historically very interesting.  In between meeting my friends and class, I also had a whole afternoon to explore. HCMC is growing and growing, there are construction projects everywhere. It is visually beautiful because you still see remnants of French Colonialism everywhere, buildings that look so French with all the embellishments, decorated like birthday cakes, you look to see what the building is currently being used for and it is The People's Committee Offices that house the Communist Party bureaucrats. Also pervasive remnants of the old French occupation of Vietnam, there are boulangeries all over the city and whenever you step into a place of business, they refer to you as, Madam. Although the Vietnamese don't like to talk about that long ago period in their country, and people who lived during that time period are very few, the French occupation of their land is still alive and well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye to Cambodia

Hi All, 

Cambodia has been the surprise of the trip. I expected my experience at Angkor Wat to be the most memorable. It definitely was a wonder to see, but what has been the biggest surprise was the beautiful people, their graciousness and the seeming efficiency the way the country is run.  So, obviously it is a third world country, there is poverty,  people living in shacks, etc. Upon entering the airport you see an efficiently run, orderly, and gleaming clean space. They had fingerprint/handprint recognition machines, lines moving, everything working smoothly. I wasn't expecting that.

The hotel I stayed was so perfect for this trip. As some of you may know, I was a little nervous about traveling alone and being so far from home. The hotel was aware of that and made sure that I was well taken care of from start to finish. As I was checking out, Mr. So, at the front desk saying, "....did you get  your passport and ticket from the safe?" Really considerate.

So, I look forward to going back to Cambodia sometime and taking some more time to get to know the country and it's people. It was a treat in every way. 

Flew back to Barbara and Ron's last night (my home base)! in Ho Chi Minh City. I am going to a cooking class on Friday morning, a few last minute things to see on Saturday, then home on Sunday.

Love to you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Internet Cafe Magic!

Sopaul my guide

Hi All, 

Success! Here are some very images from my time here in Cambodia. Please excuse the disorganization, didn't have time to learn all the tools available to me on this blogging program, just the basics, but you get the idea! My sweet daughter Mara gave me a quick  lesson before I left, I am very grateful to her. Thanks honey.  So that is it for now, going to go for a walk and explore Siem Reap a bit before it gets too hot.

Cambodia is a very spiritual country, people are so kind and gentle. I have thoroughly enjoyed my brief time here. Fly back to Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow (Thursday) visit a bit more with my pals, taking a cooking class, then heading home on Sunday.

Love to all,

Angkor Wat

Good Afternoon All,

Wow! I had a wonderful amazing tour of the temples today. I met my tour guide @7:30 this morning full of coffee and ready to go. My tour guide's name is Sopaul. Sopaul is 25, newly married with a baby on the way. He was so helpful. I explained this was my first time traveling alone so far from home, he seemed mindful of that all day and made me feel very comfortable. There are many children and people selling stuff at the exits of the temple areas, they can get very aggressive, he made sure they knew not to overdo it.

So Angkor Wat is a huge complex of temples, acres and acres. Although I will be here for another day and a half, I wanted to pay for only one day admission and make it a long afternoon. I will take a long bike ride tomorrow and get to know Siem Reap a bit better. In any case, I did temples' greatest hits today, walked up and down and down and up again. It was quite a work out, about 7 hours of walking in intense heat and humidity. I was dripping with sweat, but so was everyone else, so it all worked out!

Went to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Ta Prohm and Banteay  Srei, my favorite. These structures are truly engineering feats. The intricacies of the carvings, and the overall designs are stunning! The Khnmer civilization was the most remarkable to flourish in Southeast Asia. Between the 8th and the 13th centuries, a succession of Hindu and Buddhist kings created these magnificent temples.

So just tried to download photos again, unfortunately having some issues again with slow connection, times out the computer every time. Had no trouble in Ho Chi Min City, so I will save these photos for you and continue taking more, so when I get back to HCMC I will download a bunch.

Tonight I am going to a dinner with traditional Cambodian dancing. Looking forward to that and sharing it with you later.

Much Love,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Arrived safely in Cambodia

Hello All, 

Took an early morning flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap. Siem Reap is a beautiful walkable city with a meandering river called (of all things) Siem Reap River! The people here seem very gentle and gracious. Every time I am greeted or depart someone, they put their hands in the prayer position by their heart. It's a beautiful thing.

Checked into this beautiful safe hotel and decided just to hang out by the pool and relax. It has been a whirlwind of a trip so far, so it feels good to slow down. Tomorrow I will be touring the temples early so very much looking forward to that.
It will be an early night tonight so love to all.

Internet is very slow here. I can't seem to download any photos from hotel, will try another location tomorrow.