Friday, November 20, 2015

Vacation Snaps

I spent the first two weeks of September in Vietnam. It was my first visit and I hope it will not be my last.
Morning on the Perfume River, Hue
I took a tour, 10 days travelling from Hanoi to Saigon, and it was wonderful.

I'd never been on a tour before, and while I didn't see as much of each individual site as I would have liked (simply not enough time) it was very relaxing to not have to deal with travel arrangements and hotels. All I had to do was show up. I can do that.
taken from the bus on our way to Hoi An
I tried my hand at landscape photography this time round. It's not my strength, but the countryside is beautiful, which helps a lot.

Destined to be dinner
The people are friendly, and the food is great. For those of you who are worried about food being too spicy, chilies tend to be on the side. And the beer is plentiful and good.

Roof detail
A gargoyle, I almost wish it had rained, so I could have seen it in action (Hue)
The tourism industry is in its infancy, so there are no pamphlets to pick up, no signs in English and very few maps. This can be great (less visual clutter and litter) and it can be disorienting (where am I?) They are fixing up the old palaces in Hue, but it's a constant fight against the climate.

And it's hot. There is no way around it, it's hot and humid and we blessed the men who invented air conditioning every time we got back to the hotel.
Saigon, the 70 was to celebrate Vietnam's 70th birthday as a modern nation 1945 - 2015
I arrived two days before national day, on the 70th anniversary of Vietnam becoming its own nation. So Hanoi, where we started, was packed, filled with people paying their respects at Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, all the government buildings had a fresh coat of paint and there were red flags everywhere.
Daoist temple - coils of incense, with prayers attached (Hoi An)
Ha Long Bay

If you ever get the chance to see Ha Long Bay, go. We felt so incredibly lucky to be there, it's an incredible spot. And I tried kayaking for the first time! I didn't turn the boat over, so I'm calling it a success.

Hoi An at night

Hoi An, in addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its lanterns. These ladies are selling paper lanterns that you float in the river and make a wish. Its a big spot for engagement photos.

Temple offering - Buddha's Hand (Hanoi)
Fishing - Ha Long Bay

I would like to go back and spend more time, about a month, and really get to explore. But for an introduction, my 10 day whirlwind trip was fascinating.

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