Page 3 of Aubrey B Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Dinh » Qui Nhon April 20th 2012

It is time to descend the highlands and return to the coast. But first the inevitable transportation adventure. From Da Lat I take a bus to Nha Trang, an ocean side town about 11 hours north of Saigon. The road is windy, swithcbacks most the way. My seat companion rolls and stuffs orange peels up her nose which I admit I find odd. I also take offense because it's one thing to know you smell but entirely another to have someone else point it out in such an odd manner. But by hour two I realized that my companion's world does not revolve around me and my attempts at hygiene because I understood as another woman threw up for the third time that citrus must counteract car sickness in some way. Note to self: must learn ... read more
Quy Nhon Beach
Fishing boats just off shore
Small one man paddle boats beached

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat April 17th 2012

Vietnam, one country, so skinny....but sooooo long!! I feel like my time spent here has mostly been on buses. To get to my next destination it takes 11 hours, me sitting next to an elderly Vietnamese man who, I suspect, is trying to block out my existence by holding up his newspaper like a wall between us. Our bus driver is anything but considerate and I believe he might be mistaking the sound of the horn for a catchy tune because he leans on it about every three minutes, even when the road ahead is clear. We drive through Saigon city limits and buildings get closer and closer to the ground until there are only two room shacks lining the road, and hammock stops where motorists can escape the sun for a few hours and take ... read more
Street Side of Crazy House
View over top of Gondola

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » Tien Giang » My Tho April 14th 2012

Saigon can only be digested in increments and so I had to get out for a few days. In Vietnam, making money is the ultimate goal in their rising economy but unfortunately this new love for capitalism has brought with it an increase in swindling and a decrease in morality, particularly considering tourists. Vendors in the street sell pirated everything and their uniformed brothers are no better: organized tour companies have found a skill in wording advertisements so I think I'm in for an adventure but really just purchased a seat on a rickety bus or overheated boat. And though I've found it difficult to temper by cynicism, overall the experience of getting cheated and taken is one I am glad to have had. I'm telling myself it's all for educational purposes... So, back to my ... read more
Inside Temple
Vietcong Sniper Hole
Vietcong Tiger/American Trap

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 April 14th 2012

Showered, backpack off, teeth brushed after a 22 hour flight, I sit on my bed, savoring the air-conditioned cool air, and am at a loss for what to do. Simply because I have no idea where to begin. I can hear the honk of horns and the nasal melodic cries of the old woman pushing her cart through my closed window, like the city's intensity is so strong it beats itself against the glass, trying to get in. I feel excited and overwhelmed all at once and I half want to get in bed, hide under the covers, and wish myself back home and half want to dive right into the mess. Home not being an option and resting beneath a comforter in 90° heat not advisable, I take the leap. Ho Chi Minh City (aka ... read more
Opera House
People's Committee Building
Notre Dame Cathedral

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 April 8th 2012

From the air it looks like any other city: straight roads branching out from a cluster, houses compacted into exact squares, the lines etched with a razor from this vantage point. Skyscrapers and houses break up the landscape and rooftops here look like rooftops anywhere. Only, the river is brown. And not brown like a mild layer of dirt, but brown like milk mixed with coffee. It's a filth that marks the land as used, that tells me I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. The plane bumps as it lands, all the passengers forced to lean to the right. Can planes this big roll over like a capsized boat in water? Heat hits me as I step from aircraft to landing passageway; sticky and thick in my lungs like I'm wearing a mask. And the ... read more

Europe » France » Poitou-Charentes » La Rochelle March 29th 2012

Spring isn't just in Bordeaux; it seems the whole country has jumped on the bandwagon. I passed fields while on the train that a month ago were covered in snow but are now blooming and bursting with color: lavender flowers, green grasses, yellow blossoms, apple trees with their pink flowers; it's almost enough to make one feel optimistic. We've come to the point in my travels where I'm not doing much of anything and choose instead to pass my days on the beach and tanning. Ok, to be honest I am burning, but I find my new "rouge" coloring to be worth the price of lying by the water and reading a good book. So this is how I passed my time in La Rochelle, with sun and more sun. The old port is protected from ... read more
La Rochelle
Beach times
La Rochelle

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux March 29th 2012

Open a champagne bottle. Take a firm grip and feel the tension in your body as you slowly push out the cork, every muscle ready to fight or take flight. Feel the slight perspiration on your palm as sweat starts to form. Sense the pressure from the champagne trapped within the glass as it pushes up on the cork, trying to take control from your slick hands. Right before the edge of the cork approaches the lipe of the bottle there is a moment where everything pauses, tensed, suspended and it's a 50/50 chance that you are in control. -POP!!!- The cork flies out like it was sent from a cannon, shot to some unknown place and the clear, crisp, bubbly froths out onto the floor, watering the ground like the great celebrations in honor of ... read more
La Grande Cloche
Liberty Fountain
Milk vending machine

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence March 18th 2012

Italian air: it revitalizes; my first Tuscany-filled breath and I am ready for the next adventure. It's something I've never been able to find elsewhere. Morning sunlight, the color of burnished gold filters in through the closed shades of my bedroom (which is also the kitchen) window. It reminds me of olive oil, of rosemary, fountains splashing in the piazza, of pasta swimming in tomato sauce, grownups slurping down gelato as it melts in the spring heat, vespas and reving engines, and wine; sparkling, crisp wine. Pisa is the first stop. We've all heard of the leaning tower, and although I could share several photos of the outside, I didn't find it necessary to fork over €15 to climb steps of a building with known foundation issues and so all pictures remain on firm, solid ground. ... read more
Duomo and Bell Tower
Piazza della Signoria

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels March 18th 2012

Walking, running, laughing, skating, bicycling, kissing, yelling, crying, watching, loving, hating, whispering, eating, smoking, drinking....LIVING. That's Amsterdam and if you can't keep up, no worries; there's always another party to go to. Welcome back, to all my faithful readers! It's been awhile and I know you're waiting anxiously, fingernails bitten down to nubs to hear an update about me and my travels. Well fellows, I will end the suspense and commence! I have been joined by my mother and together we have flitted, like the beautiful butterflies we are, across Belgium and up into the Netherlands, adding to our luggage chocolates of all kinds, frites sans mayonaise, beers, and pastries galore. First was Brussels and with it snow. I realized as I stepped in my third puddle of suspiciously yellow liquid that it had been awhile ... read more
Mannekin-Pis, Brussels
Markt Square, Bruges

Europe » Belgium » Namur Province » Namur March 3rd 2012

Rain, fog, robbery, and good beer: a few days in Belgian life. Belgium! As different from France as wine is from beer. Where the French are subtle and quiet, Belgian prefer blunt, caustic truth said with a smile to remove the bite. In France the wine flows but in Belgium the beer froths, though both could care less about the "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" rule. Namur, Belgium is no doubt absent from many of your personal geographical maps. Indeed, I had never heard of it till a random Google search made the name literally pop up in my browser window. But exist it does, and what's more it is the capital of Wallonie, aka French-speaking Belgium. And what might one find in Namur? First and foremost, it's grey and foggy, perfect for anyone looking for a ... read more
Félicien Rops
Félicien Rops

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