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"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)


Thursday, 22 May 2008

sight seeing in Vietnam

first of all I guess I should show you where we stayed in Saigon:

The Hotel Equatorial, which, according to our travel agent was 4 star but in reality it was 5! It was divine.. the only thing that I could pick at was people are allowed to smoke in the lounge area, something that is not allowed here. Being a non-smoker, I did find it hard to deal with as I sat and read while having coffee.

The Opera House is in the centre of the city and we made this our pick-up point. Each time we wanted to go into town, the shuttle bus that was supplied by the Hotel, would weave its way in the traffic to various points, dropping off and picking up. The Opera House was one block away from the markets.. one of the contrasts that I mentioned. Even though this is in the middle of the city, there are still women wearing the coolie hats and women selling their food that they cook in the little pots. I loved that part of it!

one of the tours we did was a full day to the Mekong Delta.. unfortunately the floating markets weren't available due to the low tide of the water.
feeling very much like Katherine Hepburn on the African Queen, we crossed the Mekong to visit a group of islands....

funny thing is, in the photo I think I look very much like my great-grandmother Viola:


our first stop was to visit some cottage industries...

where they made coconut candy.. using the coconut meat and milk to make the candy and the coconut shell for fire 'wood'.. nothing is wasted. We got to taste it too, it was really delish, so we ended up buying 10 packets. Then we visited a bee farm and were served Honey tea.. black tea with copious amounts of honey stirred into it and a dash of lime juice. It was served hot and the islanders drink this every morning and night. I liked the taste of it and am planning on making it for myself here.. I even bought a little teapot and cup so that it will feel authentic. One thing I did notice as we travelled along the water ways was how many dragonflies there were. Not one or two, but millions. Truly! they were everywhere. I felt like i was surrounded by faeries.

along the canal....


to the next stop where we were served lunch. We were served Elephant ear fish.. a local delicacy.. the cook it over open fire and serve it wrapped in rice sheets with mint leaves and chilli sauce. It was quite delicious! We also had a curry, salad and soup and for dessert...

we were served a variety of local fruits, which grew wild on the islands... pineapple, papaya, lychees and jack fruit (which I didn't like alot).. these were served with a mix of coconut, salt and sugar with a dash of chilli powder. You dipped the fruit into the mix and as odd as the mix may sound it was really quite tasty.. something I think I will remember for those hot summer nights... and of course to finish.. a cup of tea.

then back to Ho Chi Minh city late in the afternoon. I love seeing how the people live.. it is very interesting. They live simply, farming their land. Fishing the water for their families, not for profit.

so there is another glimpse into my time away...

what is it like in Woodford today?
Brisk... I will light a fire later and today I am going to tidy & clean my kitchen.. and hope to harvest some more lavender to hang to dry.

20 comments:

sorrow11 said...

Miss R~ looks ever so relaxing and fascinating at the same time! i love all your photo's of the people doing! It's always my favorite part of a trip...seeing what other folks are up to , you know?
Thanks for the wonderful share!

winterwood said...

Robyn, I can imagine its a place full of different smells and scents wafting in the air, the cooking scents, the fruit, and just everything!! Was it hot and tropical there? yes you remind me of katherine hepburn in african queen chugging on that boat!!! Not cold here - just wet tish and cool... I am longing for some cold cold weather!@!

Pam said...

Wow Robyn.Looks like you had a great time. Fun isn't it, trying different foods.Such an enjoyable post, thank you!

solsticedreamer said...

miss*r how wonderful for you both to visit such a special place :)

and welcome home!

Sheila said...

You do resemble Viola, every inch a LADY.
What an interesting tour, I think I would have enjoyed it too, I always like to eat the local food and sample what they eat. The fruit looks wonderful.
xx

Sacred Suzie said...

Oh Robyn! It all looks so beautiful, lush and the colours...Amazing! You do look like her, isn't that fascinating? I think this journey is so beautiful and rich and interesting. Thank you for sharing it with us.

amelia said...

I am loving reading about your holiday, you really make it come alive.

kim said...

Everything is so beautiful and clean. For some reason I thought it would be more....I don't want to say dirty, but cluttered?

I look forward to more posts about your trip!
Hugs

Island Girl Spirit said...

Sounds, and looks, like a really interesting trip!
Thanks for sharing!

Cat said...

Wow!

You really do look like Viola.

And now I'm really hungry, maybe I'll go to Little Saigon for lunch.

motherwintermoon said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour! How wonderful it is that you grabbed the opportunity to have this experience. Glad you're back home to share.

I'm here, catching up on all your posts. Reading your lovely words and absorbing all the sparkling energy. LoVe and hugs, MW

Leanne said...

wow, you really do look like Viola Robyn!

the photos are great, a real glimpse into other lives. not many of us get to visit somewhere like Vietnam so its wonderful to 'visit' via you!!

leanne x

Rowan said...

Your trip to Vietnam sounds wonderful, I must admit it's not a place I'd have thought of for a holiday. I agree that you do look just like your great-grandmother in the photo.

A bird in the hand said...

In my childhood, Mekong Delta meant a war zone. Thank goodness that's all in the past now.

You and Miss Viola are wearing an almost-identical hat.

We have a lot of Vietnamese here, but the restaurants could be more authentic ;) in my estimation.

enjoy your green weekend!
xoxo

kathyann said...

Robyn,good to have you back and what a wonderful place to visit,it would not have been somewhere I would have chosen but you have certainly given us a little insight into the place and the people there!Loved the photo's and yes you certainly do look like Viola!Take care,Love and Blessings
Kathyann and the girls

Bimbimbie said...

Yes the family resemblance to Viola is there *!* All those dragonflies on your water travels sound magical*!*

linda may said...

There is a big resemblance between your Nanna and you Robyn. I wonder if one of your grandchildren will look back and see you that way one day?
Also those Rambutans look delicious.,I lived in Singapore in my teens and used to save up my pocket money to buy a bunch of them from the roadside stalls. Yummy. They are so expensive here in Aust. and not as nice as I remembered them.

Ruth said...

You Do look just like Viola!

Tina said...

I find it very interesting to look at your impressions from Vietnam, thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

I find it very interesting to look at your impressions from Vietnam, thanks for sharing.