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Published: January 27th 2010
Tuk Tuk in Savannakhet, Laos
I used this tuk tuk to visit the most famous temple in Savannakhet. My Lao driver couldn't speak English, so we had to go back to the receptionist of my guest house in order to ask for a help.
Many great things were well done in my last decade. I worked for two Japanese companies in the construction industry, traveled to 15 countries in Asia and Africa, along with making uncountable trips in Vietnam. I also spent 4 years posting in the Thorn Tree travel forum of the Lonely Planet website and 2 years in Travel Blog. The first country I visited outside Vietnam was Malaysia. I was so curious about everything and took photos of flowers, people and buses I saw anywhere. On my first trip to China, I traveled overland by bus and train to 6 provinces. I was one of the young people on the tour, so every time when we traveled by train, I had to climb up to the top bunk bed, leaving the lower beds for the older people. After my 6 trips to China, this is still a funny memory as it was my first lesson how to climb up and down.
The parachute jump in Pattaya, visiting the historical sites in Kanchanaburi and celebrating my birthday in Sukhothai were the highlights on my 7 trips to Thailand. Leaving Myanmar and Nepal, I felt so sad, realizing how important a dollar was
Truck in Nepal's mountain
While trekking in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal, we used this truck in order to go faster. We traveled along bumpy soil road, plus a lot of curves, so it was really a risky adventure.
for the locals. Egypt always is on the top of my favorite countries. Before the trip, I wondered how the Egyptians would treat me. The first Egyptian I met was the immigration officer and he said "Vietnam is good. Vietnam fighting with America". I didn't expect someone would say so. Then I was amazed at the friendliness and curiosity that the local people showed to me each day on the trip. When I was walking down a street in Alexandria city with my short skirt, all the people there stared at me as if I came from another planet. My friend said it was because I was different with the Arabian women there, who wore dresses covering from head to toe.
Cambodia was the first country in which I traveled solo. The sunrise over the Angkor Wat temple and chatting with the local children outside another temple were my sweet memories. As soon as I stepped out from a temple, they approached me not to sell me postcards, but to ask me "Where are you from? How old are you? Why do you go alone?". Japan was another unforgettable experience of mine. I had to wait for many years
The cyclos in Huế or Sài Gòn are different with the ones in Hanoi, as the seats are higher. I did try the same type of cyclo in Java island, Indonesia. It's called "Becak" there.
until my dream came true. Things are so well organized there. People are always in a hurry and they run around. I also feel that the Japanese I met in Japan are more polite than many Japanese I met and worked with in Vietnam.
Indonesia is my favorite country in South East Asia and I love the old temples as well as Ramayana ballet. I was so surprised as there are so few people in Brunei. At 6-7pm, shops are closed and there were only a few guests in a big restaurant which I passed by every night during my stay. The festival by Manila bay was a highlight on my short visit to the Philippines. I will never forget the exciting atmosphere with music, dances and happy smiles on the faces of the locals. I love beautiful voices of the Filipino people whenever they sing English songs. Laos is so quiet and my bus ride to the Plain of Jars along the National Highway No. 7 with soldiers and their AK machine guns was another adventure, but the mountain scenery was amazing. Finally, I made a trip to India and the day I saw the Taj Mahal was
Cruising the Red River in Hanoi
On a one day tour to cruise along the Red River, we traveled by this boat. Its name is "Red River 5".
so special to me, same as the day I touched the pyramids in Giza.
The first Japanese company I worked for was a contractor. My work was related to project promotion, so I had to travel with Japanese managers to different cities and provinces in Vietnam for submitting tender documents or meeting with leaders of the different organizations. As I was an interpreter and also the only woman in the meetings, they took good care of me. By chance I had two interesting experiences. One was the meeting with brother of Kim Phúc, the famous napalm girl, as I mentioned in an old blog which I published last year. Another person I was impressed with was a girl at Phú Cam hat village in Huế city. She is disabled and has no arms, but she sews conical hats and packs them with her left shoulder and a small piece in her right arm. My business trips were not always pleasant. Some days I had to go to the airport at 4am in order to take early morning flights to Huế city and had a meeting at 9am. The bonus for my successful hospital project was a trip to Japan
Rickshaw in Nepal
This is a rickshaw which is used in Kathmandu, Nepal. I didn't go by this rickshaw while visiting the city. However, I did go twice by this vehicle in New Delhi and Agra, India. It was really fun.
for attending the contract signing ceremony.
In 2008, I changed to work for a Japanese consultant specializing in television. There are no more business trips, every day I work on the construction site and translate documents from/to English and Vietnamese. The pay at Japanese companies is not good, and the only reason I still work for them is that I can leave the office and travel for fun whenever I like. This is important to me. As Vietnamese currency is devaluating (in 2008, the exchange rate was US$1 = VND 16,000. Now it's US$1 = VND 19,400 in free market), I may not travel abroad so often like before, but I will try to go to a new country at least once a year. I will focus on traveling in Vietnam as there are many places I've not been to and this also contributes to our tourism like the current campaign "Vietnamese use Vietnam's products".
The photos in this blog were taken on many trips and they are related to the means of transport which I have used. My plan in the next decade is a trip to Europe, as I would like to see Italy, France, Spain
Plane of Thai Airways
Lots of security checking before we could get into the plane for leaving the international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. Thai Airways is one of the 14 airlines I've flown with, and for me, the best airlines is Emirate Airlines.
and Turkey. I don't have the ambition of seeing so many countries like other bloggers on this website have done. I expect I will see 20-25 countries in my lifetime and I'm happy with that. So far, the countries I've been to are all interesting and I want to go back to the Indian Subcontinent on the next trips.
"You are a diamond and many people still love you". These are the words that a member in the Thorn Tree travel forum said to me a few years ago. Sometimes things in my life were so difficult that I felt I had lost my direction. But then I remember that I have my family and friends who love me. I can work and travel as well as helping other people within my capabilities. So I stand up and move on. And most of all, I don't want to waste the time of my youth. The last decade was the most interesting time in my life. I went out to see the world, met new people, experienced different cultures and enjoyed all these things to the fullest.
Other blogs about my travel experiences: The loneliness of traveling alone Difficulties on my trips The people I met when traveling
My horse cart in Mandalay, Myanmar The meaning of life
Beautiful sunset over the old buildings at one of the old kingdoms in Mandalay, Myanmar.
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