Meryl Dunton-Rose

Mert

Meryl Dunton-Rose

A long time traveller with a father with itchy feet who encouraged me to see all.

Looking to travel more extensively in the next few years and do some volunteer work too.



2017 another year out in Vietnam, China and then with England as a base, wish list of Cuba, Jamaica (a return to my teenage years!) and Croatia




Asia » China » Hainan April 22nd 2017

Seasoned travelers? Pickled more like. We sit gaping at one another. We had arisen shockingly early to catch the bullet train from Sanya to Meilan Airport, Haikou except this one was not stopping at the airport. We had checked on the website as best as we were able but obviously had not got the information correct. If we had asked when we picked up the tickets….. So were we able to get back to the airport from Haikou in time to catch our flight to Xian? The conductor wrote out the times for us and after waiting twenty agonising minutes to buy tickets we made the train and our flight where we were rushed through check-in . A not so stressless end to a quiet week spent in the town of Tianya about twenty-five kilometres west ... read more
pool
The best squid lunch ever!
Fish, fish, fish

Asia » China » Guangxi » Longji Rice Terraces April 20th 2017

The low cloud is chased away, lingering wraiths in the gullies and ravines. There are advantages to the wet; waterfalls mist, trickle and cascade making Spring growth brighter, greener. The traditional wooden stilt buildings perch over the river, their newly fir clad exteriors gleaming gold. The bamboo scaffolding nearly meets across the narrow road leading up to more villages. At the base of Dhazai we change buses and master a muddy track slithering and sliding across the yellow ruts. We arrive at another car park under construction. We make our way down a concrete road slick with running water down into a village. When they thought of this road did they think of the flooding it would cause in really heavy rains? Our hotel, Elegant Wind, is shrouded in mist, we could be anywhere. Our fir-clad ... read more
Dhazai village
Wispy clouds
I'm not showing you my hair though!

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo March 17th 2017

It’s Thursday morning. One more English Corner. The end of our fourth week here at Zhuo Yue (meaning excellent ) college in Chaoyang, a small village about five kilometres from Yangshuo. It has long been an ambition of ours to spend a month volunteering to teach English in Asia. I envisioned small children in a poor rural school beaming up at us with gratitude but instead we are learning more about Chinese culture than I ever thought possible. Every evening the students, ranging from seventeen to mid- thirties in age, gather in a classroom with us for English Corner, a two-hour conversation session discussing topics as widely diverse as Happiness and Youth and Old Age. We discuss the colour of food, annoying things and ‘what if’ scenarios. We learn about their home cities, what motivates them, ... read more
In the college courtyard
Sitting and talking
My UK presentation

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo March 6th 2017

China is full of progress. Mostly this means new concrete buildings, concrete roads and large cars. We are fortunate to find ourselves in Yangshou County, Guangxi province in the small village of Chaolong where we are volunteering at Zhou Yue English college where although concrete hotels abound there are some tastefully renovated mud brick houses which hold in the heat and keep cool in Summer. Not so the concrete, uninsulated, single skin brick or concrete monstrosities popping up all along the Yulong valley. ‘When I came here 15 years ago there were only a handful of hotels along the whole Yulong valley. Now there are over 150 with many more under construction,’ Ronald, a local hotelier tells us. He has converted some beautiful old mudbrick buildings into the welcoming Outside Inn where we like to go ... read more
Fuli Bridge - a perfect moon
Pomelos and peanuts
A quiet nap

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo February 23rd 2017

For me, the love affair began in Vang Vieng, Laos. Or even before. Many moons ago the breathtaking scenery of Huangyao in the movie, The Painted Veil, left an indelible imprint on my retina. Yes, I admit, I am a sucker for karst mountains. Phong Na, Ba Tu Long Bay, Cat Ba and now Yangshuo, Guangxi province. I am close to Huangyao, I can even smell it. Here in Chauyang we are surrounded by them as they parade themselves down the Li and Yulong valleys. A small parcel of river flat extends in front of you bursting with yellow mustard seed lettuce and warmed by the unseasonal sun peach blossoms unfurl against the next karst mountain. Small villages resplendent with newly built hotels loom over the few remaining mud brick houses. Winding concrete paths lead down ... read more
Spring flowers
Cherry blossoms
Ba Tu Long Bay

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong February 21st 2017

We, as travellers, often look for the scenic, the beauty spots, the ancient monuments but as we leave the port of Haiphong on a road far worse than any they could hope for I wonder if we ever 'see' the real country warts and all. Haiphong is the country's third largest city, a jumble of container terminals, refineries and factories. Having suffered drastically in the war it is now in the process of being connected by high speed motorway to Hanoi and beyond. Hence the potholes or rather the crevices in the road into which small cars disappear. The road is yet to be surfaced, concrete towers loom out of the dusk as precursors to multiple flyovers which disappear into the distance - a new spaghetti junction in the making. Through the rain showered windows of ... read more
An offering outside a shop
Burning money and papers
Tasty grubs in Mai Chau market!

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Bai Tu Long Bay February 10th 2017

I had heard conflicting stories about Halong Bay but it was definitely on the must do list for Vietnam. As you know, pollution and rubbish are twin anathemas to me so I was not too keen to travel with all the big boats. Our lovely hostel in Hanoi, Old Quarter Hostel, recommended Swan Tours to us. Boats that sailed on the quieter Ba Tu Long Bay seemed appealing and off we went with the irrepressible tour guide Mee keeping us entertained on the journey to the port. The rest stop, International Tourist Rest Centre, could have been avoided, but maybe not. Maybe this was a government requirement for all the tour buses to stop at this huge megamarket which sold everything from immense marble statues to small packets of green tea. We were dropped off at ... read more
Ba Tu Long Bay
Kayaks as the day draws to a close
Magical

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Hoa Binh February 6th 2017

As I gaze out of the doors across the paddy fields my thoughts remain indistinct. Gauzy, flimsy and somewhat opaque - like the mosquito net covering our mattress in the communal stilt house in Mai Chau. Not quite the homestay I had imagined but is anything what we really imagine? Yesterday we had cycled 14km around the local villages and paddy fields ending up in the market, a bustling, thriving centre for Tet purchases. We had bought baskets of goodies for our homestays back in Hanoi, joining in the spirit of things, watching the locals stock up on food for the four day celebration. We ate com lam, a winter delicacy of sticky rice rammed into a bamboo holder and grilled until cooked served with peanuts and salt and sipped dark caramel flavoured Vietnamese coffee. At ... read more
Tet goodie bags
Com Lam
Rice seedlings

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Binh » Phong Nha Ke Bang January 27th 2017

Before you visit, you research. You peruse maps, blogs and tourist sites. You um and ah over the best places to visit. With Vietnam in mind Hoi An is a given. When you have no fixed itinerary it is good to hear about places that are a little less travelled. Not entirely off the beaten track of course but enough to give you the desire to go and see. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of those places. We set off from Hue in a more than small mini-van. With seats definitely designed for smaller Asian frames we were glad we hadn't had that last Banh My! We had chosen the more expensive option as the route was through the DMZ which we had some curiosity about but not enough to warrant a day tour. ... read more
DMZ bridge
Karst mountains in the rain
Wet ride

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế January 22nd 2017

My Son is actually near Hoi An, so apologies to those looking for it near to Hue. Can't seem to set locator to Hoi An. Tearing down the QL1A whisked by buses and trucks is not my favourite occupation and hurtling back from My Son in the ever decreasing dusk is far from palatable. My sister's words keep ringing in my ears about the dangers of motorbikes and the horrific accidents that occur. Nevertheless, the trip to My Son was worth it and in our case we returned home unscathed having tasted some of the best pho in an unprepossessing restaurant in a small town just before the turn off to the ruins. We had despaired of finding a coffee in any of the numerous ca phes that we had seen as being a Saturday they ... read more
Cornerstone and carving around a temple base
Cham dancing?
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