Page 3 of KidsBuildingHope Travel Blog Posts

Asia March 24th 2008

Sorry that I've been away for a few days -- didn't have easy internet access while up North... so here goes... We (Helen, Will, our friend Viet and I) flew to Hanoi (the capital of Vietnam) on Saturday after saying good-bye to David as he flew back home. Not easy... Anyway, we were greeted in Hanoi by some of the same things -- namely motorbikes and gut-splitting traffic manuevers -- but the scenery was somewhat different -- as we immediately got out of the city by hopping into a van headed for Ha Long Bay. Lots of rice plots between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay -- about 3 and a half hours worth!! Amazing how the landscape looks like a big green quilt -- squared-off patches of family-operated rice fields. Women generally work the squares (according ... read more
into the Bay...
Heaven's Palace
Will and Viet

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City March 24th 2008

The Zalenski, Lorigan, Butler, Warren contingent has arrived! After a 36 hour tour (24 hours fly time), we, all of our mangled boxes of donations, and SOME of our luggage are in Ho Chi Minh City. We took a cyclo-tour of the city --WOW-what sights and sounds. Words cannot explain the wild ride - people, bicycles, motorbikes, buses, taxis - EVERYWHERE! We then met up with Tracy, Will & Helen (David had to get back to school) for a wonderful Vietnamese meal complete with squid, monkfish and some things we're not quite sure of. At the end of the day, we got to have a quick drink at the rooftop bar of the Majestic Hotel overlooking the Saigon river before hitting the hay. Due to technical difficulties, no photos today. We were all looking a little ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City March 21st 2008

We have had such a fun day -- running around town with Viet (Neo's brother). First we went to the zoo... just as I was marveling at the fact that they have maintained such space in the midst of all the crowding -- Viet informed us that there are discussions about moving the zoo out of HCMC to the CuChi area... guess we shouldn't be surprised -- land is at such a premium. The zoo is old-fashioned in some ways -- still using bars for most of the animals -- still letting us feed the animals (a woman sold us bunches of carrots to give the goats and monkeys). We had a lot of fun -- and then the heat and humidity started to get to us... Viet let us in on a little advice from ... read more
Go Viet... Go Viet...
I'm at a loss for the right adjective
Oh boy...

Asia March 21st 2008

Today was one of our best days yet. We got to spend time with our friend and tour guide Ti -- and he brought along his very funny and sweet sister-in-law Chi. We went to the government-run dental practice. I'll let David do the talking.... (Dave speaking) It was a very quick tour, as I'm not sure how receptive they were to a foreign student sitting in on things. I kept my distance to say the least. The neatest concept was that every specialty was housed in one big building; from simple cleanings to implants, you could get it all under one roof. It was fun to see how the patients would leave their shoes outside the doorway; sitting on the chairs with bare feet! To add, each room shared five chairs, except for the VIP ... read more
Nice (entertaining) dentist
Courtyard of Orphanage

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta March 19th 2008

Another day trip today -- into the Mekong Delta to Unicorn Island. Uncle Bin (he's been upgraded from Mister) took us down there by bus. We met up with a woman named Danh who took us by small motor boat down one of the canals where we then got onto smaller boats to go through a skinny natural canal onto the island. This area is intended for tourists -- I imagine our trip next week into the far south to dedicate the school will be much different. We were treated to amazing fruit which they served with chili salt (intended to balance the sweetness and create proper Yin and Yang). Local people played instruments and sang for us. We were guided through displays of locally made items -- embroidery, coconut wood utensils etc etc. This was ... read more
3 generations -- one motorbike
on the way to market
Loading the boat for the river trip

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » Cu Chi March 18th 2008

Tuesday March 18th I'm writing this at 2:30am after a very exhausting day -- I think we were all in bed and asleep by 8:30pm. I woke up and thought I'd better write the days events down -- before I forget. We toured the CuChi Tunnels today 25 miles outside of Ho Chi Minh City (though most people we speak to still call HCMC " Saigon"). Our tourguide's name was Mr. Bin. He was a soldier for Southern Vietnam during the American/Vietnam War fighting alongside the Americans. During our trip through the crowded streets -- this time by bus -- Mr. Bin discussed the history of Vietnam and the hardships of the Vietnamese people due to the constant struggle for independence from France, Japan, North vs. South and China. He explained the eventual price that he ... read more
Sniper's Spot
Inside the tunnel
Dog Trap

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City March 17th 2008

Well -- it's our first official day in Vietnam.... feels like 16 rolled into one... Airtime from Saturday to Monday amounted to 24 give or take a minute -- and of course we crossed the date line -- so that just meant that Sunday never really came or at least that is how it felt. San Fran to Taipei is a long haul, but nothing like waking up to Spicy Beef noodles in a cup for breakfast at 4am!... seemed like a good idea at the time. The kids thought it was cool -- if nothing else -- to use their chopstick skills. My eyes are half mast and the rest of my family is asleep at the moment -- so I'll just highlight some unusual details of the marathon day from the air to Ho ... read more
Dragon Fruit
Ready to hit the road
Cyclo-ride... ready?

Tot: 2.707s; Tpl: 0.037s; cc: 9; qc: 69; dbt: 0.0505s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb