Mighty Mekong River. 22-23 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 24, 2015 in Lao |

Early this morning, we embark for our two-day voyage on the Mekong River. Luang Prabang is quiet with floating fog concealing the hilltop temples and peaks and adding mystery to the river as we proceed up the Mekong. Today, I will discover what makes this river ‘mighty.’
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Luang Prabang, Lao. 20-21 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 23, 2015 in Lao |

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Meeting the Buddhas of Luang Prabang

I arrive at the modern, clean Luang Prabang International Airport (driving would take hours on the roads). Because our flight is late, we rush to lunch along the Nam Khan River. No fear anyone is starving as the food continues to be superb. I pass on some of my plethora of riches to the pregnant cat at my feet. I easily recognize this UNESCO world heritage city of 70,000 as a perfect place to be. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, Luang Prabang is surrounded by mountains, rivers, low-keyed saleswomen, and beautiful nature. Our afternoon is spent amid this natural beauty.
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Vientiane, Lao – “Land of a Million Elephants”. 19 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 23, 2015 in Lao |

It’s Monday so I must be in Lao. Flying into Vientiane, I see the beauty of the land with its rice fields, buffaloes, the Mekong River, trees and green expanses. On the ground, I immediately notice the clean streets, lack of motor scooters (car to scooter ratio is 4:1), traffic lights are obeyed, and several ethnic restaurants from Italian to Korean. I pass many of the 150+ Buddhist temples in the city and what seems like as many automobile dealers. On foot, I no longer need to play dodge-a-scooter. There are sidewalks! Indeed, Vientiane seems a cosmopolitan city and I am enamored of it.
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Hà Nội Việt Nam. 17-18 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 21, 2015 in Việt Nam |

Holy Crap on a Cracker! Hà NộI is nothing what I expected. This city has it all for those looking for a vibrant, actually manic, environment. The streets have a deranged energy that only the young or courageous should travel. To even look at traffic, hurry, or dodge is a sign of trepidation. Dozens of motor scooters, a couple cars, a taxi, two cyclos, four bikes and varied street venders assault every street crossing. But if you have the fortitude, then Hà Nội is the place to be. The streets are full of entrepreneurs, shops, bright colors, activity and food shops. Just put on blinders and ignore the motor scooters zipping by within inches of your little bits. Drivers really do go around you!
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Hạ Long Bay Việt Nam. 16-17 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 18, 2015 in Việt Nam |

I begin my day listening to Big Sister blasting from speakers in the trees, spouting propaganda, reminding me of traffic laws, encouraging me to be a good citizen. Then I board my bus for the 100-mile, four-hour bumpy ride over The People’s roads to the overtly capitalized Hạ Long Bay.
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Cities of Đà Nẵng and Huế, Việt Nam. 14-15 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 17, 2015 in Việt Nam |

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Cham Museum in Đà Nẵng

Between Hôi An and Đà Nẵng are the finest beaches in Vietnam. Waves crash onshore as we walk barefoot on a fine-sand stretch to learn we stroll China Beach, where US soldiers went for R & R during the war. The water of the China Sea is quite warm. I am told the Vietnamese call it the East Sea as they avoid using the ‘China’ word. I see many interesting signs, unreadable but unmistakably propaganda interspersed with the gentle, smiling face of Ho Chi Minh, particularly around schools.
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Hôi An, Việt Nam. 13 January 2015

Posted by admin on January 15, 2015 in Việt Nam |

What’s not to love about Hôi An? This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a small, walkable city of shops and restaurants, friendly people, and old-world charm with its mustard yellow buildings interspersed with colorful temples, art galleries and meandering canals. The sales pitch is low-keyed so this is the place to shop. Cooler temperatures make sitting in a cafe over a LaRue beer, watching the passing boats along the river, the street wagons, and the women with their baskets of bananas, a most pleasurable experience.
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