Janie Phillips

Happy Heart

Janie Phillips

I have a passion for travel and am excited to start a blog to report to my friends and family back home. I hope they will enjoy hearing about and seeing what I am doing as I trek the world in search of AHHHs. Abundance, Happiness, Health and Harmony. I am a Funicular Fanatic, a Garden Goddess and hope to create a magic moment for those I encounter in life and on my travels.

Africa » Kenya » Nairobi Province June 30th 2017

Visited the David Shedrick Elephant Orphanage where we were treated to seeing the antics of 26 elephants ranging in age from 6 months to 4 years. All of the elephants have been rescued and will be returned to the wild. Many of these 26 were retrieved after they had fallen down a well, some were left orphaned because poaches had killed their mother. The babies are absolutely adorable and were tourist friendly, approaching us and allowing us to pet them. They loved rolling in the rich red clay dirt and piling on top of each other, They were feed from huge baby bottles, a special formula similar to human baby formula, It was charming watching these infants and very encouraging to see that there are many who are striving to make a difference in the lives ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An December 26th 2015

The drive from Hue to Hoi An was beautifully scenic. The clouds that shrouded the lower valley near a serene lagoon were mystical and I felt a spiritual presence. The point where the Ocean meets the river was spectacular and I wished we could have spent more time there. Reaching the top of Hai Van mountain pass Danang came into view or should I say came in and out of view as the low lying clouds blanketed the valley below. A bunker from the war is located in this pass and a bride and groom were there posing for wedding photos which are taken a few weeks in advance so they can run a video show at the reception. Danang - -We only stopped for a quick visit to the Cham Museum to take in some ... read more
High in the Sky
The Ocean meets the River
I Could Stay Here

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế December 21st 2015

Arrived Hue and proceeded directly to Saigon Morin Hotel. Checked in and had a delicious dinner at the hotel. My local guide here is Dai and he will be back at 9 a.m. Crashed, body is finally in sync with new time zone. Sleep and other body functions are right on schedule, if you know what I mean. Morning arrives and it’s misting, overcast and dull. We go directly to a dragon boat on the Perfume River. The family that owns the boat lives on it. It used to be a fishing boat but now is used for tourists. They family consists of husband, wife and two sons, ages 11 and 15. The kitchen is a hot plate and a few dishes. Didn’t ask to see the bathroom, but am sure that it is rudimentary at ... read more
Owner of Dragon Boat
Owner & my guide, Dai

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta December 20th 2015

The Dragon Legend was a great way to enjoy the fantastic and charming geological wonder of HaLong Bay. The limestone karsts were formed from volcanic activity over 700 million years ago. There are 1969 islands and islets in the bay which measures over 165 square miles. The accommodations are over the top. The Chinese motif and giant cabins with great windows afforded me spectacular views as we meandered this quiet and serene wonder. The oversized en-suite bathroom had a roman tub and a choice of fresh or salt water bathing. The food was prepared to perfection and both lunch and dinner offered 8 courses of small plates providing the opportunity to taste a vast array of Vietnamese cuisine. Ricardo Kaka was one of the many crew members who all did everything they could to make sure ... read more
Just Right!!
Floating Village

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi December 19th 2015

I am forever interested in the traditions and customs around the world regarding the dead and always request a visit to a local cemetery The dead, according to Vietnamese law, must be buried within 24 hours. The body is placed in a wooden coffin without embalming and buried in a shallow unmarked grave at a time that is designated by the local fortune teller, but never when the sun is shining. After the burial the family makes altar offerings and prays for the departed. The sons of the departed wear special white garments and a short biography of the deceased is recited. Altar offerings are made to honor the deceased on day 3, day 49, day 100, and on the one year anniversary. Depending on the region of Vietnam, decay of the body is more or ... read more
Deep Red Clay
They Leave the Coffin
Another Discarded Coffin

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi December 18th 2015

Betle nut teeth– The rural woman (and some men) chew betel nut and it turns their mouth and teeth a dark brown red to black. They think this is beautiful and don’t brush or floss to enhance the black teeth. Oh, did I mention that it also gets them high? Started chewing yesterday and should be well on my way to “beauty” before I arrive home. Goodbye Dr. Glenn!!! Water Puppets - Puppetry performed in water and accompanied by folkloric musicians. Even without any grasp of the Vietnamese language, the message is clear. Enjoy life, have fun with your friends, keep traditions and be aware of lurking dangers. What fun!! One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam's most iconic temples, was built as a tribute to a Buddhist goddess. Lý Thái Tông, an emperor in power from ... read more
One Pillar Pagoda
Offerings / Traditional and Modern
Water Puppets

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi December 17th 2015

Ho Chi Minh spent his life in the pursuit of improving the lives of the Vietnamese people. He was well educated and travelled extensively to broaden his understanding of life and learn the best ways to empower his fellow countrymen. He led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the Communist-ruled Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at the battle of Điện Biên Phủ. He officially stepped down from power in 1965 due to health problems, but remained a highly visible figurehead and inspiration for those Vietnamese fighting for his cause—a united, communist Vietnam—until his death. He was a humb... read more
Public Figure
Ho Chi Mihn Masoleum
Lying at State

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi December 16th 2015

My hotel is situated in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and I would say that it is definitely orchestrated chaos. Millions of motorbikes driven by Vietnamese vendors heaped high with a vast variety of general goods in quantities of massive volume. The sidewalks appear to be for parking motorbikes and setting up shop wherever the salesman/woman is inspired. There are 36 streets. Each street originally designated for a particular product affording patrons the opportunity to compare quality and price.... read more
Banana Minion
Hauled Water
No Officer

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi December 15th 2015

It’s Wednesday, 12/16/2016 4:10 a.m. . . . know I should be sleeping, but sleeping and trying to sleep are two completely different animals. The words swirling and the phrases forming in my head finally force me from the pristine, soft, white sheets and cozy pillow to pen my thoughts of the last 30 (or is it 45 hours) of travel. Departure at LAX, uneventful; Business Class is as promised, “a lie flat bed” (ever sleep on a fold out couch?) individual seating (access to toilets does not require inconveniencing another traveler) and an attentive cabin crew. The stewardesses (I count six to our cabin) and very handsome steward all are about 25, clear complexed, perfectly groomed and eager to serve. The young man had the most handsome dimples, (think Mario Lopez from EXTRA). I reflect ... read more

North America » United States » California » Apple Valley December 4th 2015

I am really geting excited about my upcoming trip. It has been over18 months in the makng. The anticipation is mounting and I am getting the final details in order. I have a great contact, Nham, in Hanoi, who has been so responsive and helpful in my planning. She is very attentive, taking care of many details and making reservations, and modifications easily and quickly. After many months of planning, I am fast approaching my departure day, December 14 at :05, that's a true red eye if I ever saw one. It looks like the right choice for an 18 hour flight. American Airline frequent flyer miles won’t get me there, so I decided to fly Business Class on Cathay Pacific. Beds that lie down flat and roomy seats where no one crawls over anyone to ... read more

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