Monday, October 28, 2013

Trở về nhà một lần nữa (Back Home Again)

While it's exciting to head off into the great wide world, Dorothy had it right when she said "There's no place like home". Sadly I forgot to pack my magic sparkly red shoes and so we had to come home from our two weeks in Vietnam the traditional way - through three airports in the space of 24 hours. 

Important news first. My hair straightener made a single appearance in the two weeks we were away. I walked around Vietnam with ala natural hair because with the humidity over there it's pointless to straighten it. Within 5 minutes of going outside your hair  looks like one giant brillo pad. My hairstyle du jour became a constant ugly pony tail that served to accentuate my triple chin. Don't laugh-  I'm seriously contemplating a diet and some exercise which shows I've probably gone temporarily insane.


Nothing can prepare you for the sheer volume of traffic,  the noise, the level of activity , the smells, and eighty eight million people speaking in a language I only understood three words of . I pondered googling the phrase for "fat stupid western chick " because I'm fairly confident that I got called that a lot. 

Hilarious events- Mr. P thinking the lady with the basket of cats was selling them for food and wanting to buy all 8 of them to rescue them. She was actually selling them to people so the cats could catch house mice.  

Mr. P refusing to have a massage because he was afraid his clothes would get stolen and he'd have to walk back to our hotel naked. My 5 hours of spa treatments were absolute bliss for under 80 bucks.

Getting lost in Saigon approximately 432 times. Is there anywhere in the world harder to negotiate than a city where every single street seem to be named Hang -something and Bu- something. That was not the time to discover Mr. P was absolutely crap at reading maps. 

I loved the food and didn't have any close calls with nuts. I had a list of things I wanted to eat while I was there that I happily munched my way through ...bahn mi, bun cha, pork skewers on a stick eaten in the street. I almost cried with happiness though when I saw lamingtons in a bakery in Hanoi and bought one just to have something that didn't come accompanied by rice or noodles.  Mr. P dragged me into the Vietnamese version of McDonalds (Lotteria) our last night in Hanoi and was bitterly disappointed by the fact the hamburger had chutney and no cheese and the fried chicken was honey and soy flavoured. 


The single best thing we did in Saigon was a street food tour. It was amazing to eat where the locals eat. I have to say though after two solid weeks of Vietnamese food I was hanging out for a lamb roast. 

Vietnamese clothes are made to fit people the approximate diameter of a corn cob. Since I am not in that fortunate class I didn't do any clothes shopping. I did however lay in a supply of hand fans for when menopause proper hits in a couple of years time. My hot flushes are going to be a classy affair. 


Halong Bay was glorious. Totally unspoilt and very relaxing. That part of our trip just wasn't long enough. 

 Saigon was brash and sassy and in your face. And huge. And hot. And there were street sellers and cyclo drivers everywhere trying to rip you off. 

L to R top- view from the Sky Deck , and Ho Chi Minh Square
Lto R bottom - the footpath after rain and the reunification palace
Presidential Palace, Fountain near Hoan Kiem Lake, Unicorn, Detailed steps, Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Temple of Literature.

I adored Hanoi. Beautiful old streets and French and Chinese inspired architecture. A lovely friendly old city. We had a favourite pork stick lady there and she greeted us like old friends every time we rolled up to eat at her street stall, and we found a bar in the second story of a building near our hotel where we could just watch the world go by while sipping cocktails at night. I love a country where beer is the same price as water and a cocktail costs less a cup of coffee back home.



Back to real life tomorrow...work beckons so I can pay for a bathroom renovation and start planning the next trip. But it's good to be home- I think I hear some quilting calling my name. 


28 comments:

Suzan said...

Great photos! I think it is very sweet that Mr. P wanted to rescue those cats. I cannot imagine a 5 hour spa treatment. How completely fabulous! I also think you are very, very brave. I don't think I would be able to eat the street food. I know I would be concerned that I would be eating cat or dog or rat or something!

Rachaeldaisy said...

It all sounds wonderful!! It makes me want to go there, all that yummy food, and beautiful buildings, I might be strange but I even love all the noisy chaotic traffic. Maybe if we ask nicely you'll show us photos of your fabulous fans ? :)

Kirsten's Cooking said...

So glad you were able to get away! The bay looks blissful. A five-hour spa sounds magnificent, and I bet Vietnamese food does get old after a while.
So cool that you went someone unusual! Thanks for the recap and the pics - though would it have killed you to share the Brillo pad hairdo????

audrey said...

What an experience! Sounds like you had a great time away. You're much more courageous than I am, going to a place where the language is not your own.:)

Tamie said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all. Thanks for the chuckles.

Katy Cameron said...

Welcome home! It looks amazing, but WTH did Mr P think he would *do* with all those frigging cats if he bought them?! Malaysia is also full of stick thin midgets, FYI. Totally with you on the drinks, I could do with a cocktail right now...

Tazzie said...

Loving seeing Vietnam thru your eyes hon. What a great time you had!
*hugs*
Taz
:-)

MB in MI said...

Thanks for sharing! You take very nice photos!

Lorraine said...

welcome back to the "real" world...your description of Saigon just reinforced that I don't want/need to go there :) hope your work week isn't too onerous!

thea said...

Welcome back! Looks like a wonderful time. Thanks for the pictures. They are amazing. So much braver than me -- I'd probably lose 30 pounds somewhere like that because I'd be afraid to eat anything.

Looks like you and Mr. P had a wonderful time!

Sharyn T said...

Vietnam is on my hubbies list and after reading of your adventures maybe he will get me there. Welcome home Shay! Sharyn:)

Michelle Ridgway said...

Welcome home Mr and Mrs P. Love your photos and reflections of your trip. Mr P. Sounds very kind having the little cats welfare at heart. Laughing over the feared naked sprint to the hotel.

Noela said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. Now back to reality and planning of the next one. hugs......

AnnieO said...

Two weeks of vacation--don't think I've ever gotten to experience that! Sounds like you planned well and gave yourselves plenty of time to soak up local flavor. Great commentary, as always and of course food shots :) wonderful!

Marie said...

Wow! Street food .. and drinks cheaper than water ... doesn't get much better does it .. love the pictures I see quilt ideas in a couple of them ... keep traveling, love reading about your adventures!

Canadian Abroad said...

I am so jealous. I would kill for fourteen days of Vietnamese food. And the weather. Can you believe when I went to Saigon there wasn't a building over a few stories high. None of those skycrapers existed. I am glad I saw it then.

Terri said...

Love your review of Vietnam, the vacation spot. Food sounds wonderful. I think I saw a quilt pattern in that street picture.
Thanks for taking us with you.
Hugs

Sue SA said...

Not sure what made me laugh more, Mr P trying to buy cats or you making a collection of fans! Glad you had a good trip, saw the sights plus got some R & R having spa treatments and drinking cocktails.

Marg said...

I can't get past the sentence where you mentioned diet and exercise.

Kate said...

Looks like you had a lot of interesting foods and sites to see. The pictures of Halong Bay are gorgeous.

As fun as it is to be away, it is good to get home. Though I can't say that about going back to work. Hope you've been able to ease back into things.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't know I wanted to visit Vietnam until now. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and thoughts on your travels. My favorite photos were in that second collage--the ones with the water. I'm so glad you had a lovely time and that you shared it with us!

xo -E

P. said...

Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your trip. It sounds like you had a fantastic time. I admire your adventurous spirit. The food looks/sounds good, even a hamburger with chutney and honey and soy flavored chicken. I'd have probably been shell-shocked by the traffic, noise, and throngs of chattering people, but the bar with a remote view of the street sounds perfect.

ThreeOldKeys said...

wow, what a journey, trip, trek, voyage, adventure!

you didn't come home with any rescued cats, I guess ....

Lizbeth McGow said...

What a wonderful experience Shay! I would love to go to a place like that, perhaps one day I will visit the land of my great grandparents, Philippines, but unlike you it's going to have to be without the Mr. because he hates crowds oh well..., I'm glad you are back home and safe, and your "change of life" it's going to be classy alright! Hugs girl! Lizy

Andrea said...

You are such a great storyteller! Makes me want to go and visit! I love the photos of the little store fronts and all the architecture...beautiful! Will you share more please!?

Andrea said...

You are such a great storyteller! Makes me want to go and visit! I love the photos of the little store fronts and all the architecture...beautiful! Will you share more please!?

Cynthia Landrie said...

Haha, I had to laugh at the cats! The food and the scenery look so good. I am glad that you had a really good time! So glad you are back and look forward to seeing what you are busy creating.

Kristie said...

I did a snort laugh reading about your high class hot flushes, lol! Sounds like one heck of a holiday, lots to take in and a really authentic cultural experience. Some gorgeous sights! Good to have you back again :)