Born With a Suitcase


Born With a Suitcase

I'm a regular mum of two precocious boys and am also a photographer/ writer. My travel these days is hit and miss due to my domestic responsibilities and my travel ethos has also changed over the years involving an increased level of creature comforts (i.e. taking the single supplement rather than the multiple one with resident rats). My travel odyessies began before dinosaurs roamed the earth, a time where email, internet and mobile phone use were only in the domain of the rich and famous and certainly not for those whom cohabitate with rats. It may seem incredulous to Gen Y'ers but somehow I managed to survive and tell the story, some of which are here. Please enjoy reading.

Visited Countries Map

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

Our train arrived in Hanoi at about 0430 and we caught a taxi to our hotel. Once there, we waited in the very luxurious lobby of the Luxury Golden Lotus Hotel as we were told that check in time wasn't until 1400. We've been in Vietnam long enough to know that they will bend over backwards to get you in earlier. So we only had to wait an hour and we were in. As the name suggests, it was one step up from the regular Golden Lotus Hotel. The rooms were more luxurious, spacious, with windows of which one has a view over the city. We took some time to regroup and round up our gross, smelly trekking clothes to take to the laundry. I have a mutiny on my hands. Brendan has given up the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa July 18th 2015

A well earned sleep in with rising at 0730. I had to put the ear plugs in at about 0330 because of the rooster. We aren't leaving until 1000 so had a few hours to kill including a giant stack of pancakes and getting the kids to frolick in the rice paddies so I could take pictures of them. I managed to get on the bank of one which is no easy feat and walking along the narrow bank of the terrace was even trickier. If I lost balance then I'd be having a bath. Once we had trekked through the main village and about 5km into the trip we had a nice relatively flat, concreted walking path and I thought today would be easy. How wrong I was. We trekked through some awfully thick, slippery ... read more
Cooking lessons with the Hmong
Hmong house
At home with the Hmong

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa July 17th 2015

At 0915 we started our trek from Sapa. It was pretty tough going as we started with some rain making it so, so humid. I didn't even bother with the rain coat and just used an umbrella which was much cooler. Most of the trail was very rocky and muddy making it difficult and it wasn't long before. Our guide is called Mi and she kept up a good pace. These ladies do it every day. Apparently the men stay at home to look after the kids while the women do treks and sell things to tourists. The families make enough rice to feed their families most of the time and they thier own produce but still need extra money to buy meat etc. It wasn't long before I lost my balance on a stream crossing ... read more
Hmong Hoe Down
Hmong Baby
View of Valley

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest July 16th 2015

A very early arrival in Lao Cai which is very close to the border with China. I think it was about 0430. After hauling our luggage once gain down the very steep stairs of the train, we negotiated our luggage literally over the railway tracks and blue metal as the concept of train platforms have yet to catch on here. This is where suitcases with wheels are rendered useless and backpacks very handy. We have a mixture of both. We were met at the station by a Sapa O'Chau representative who then took us to a minibus along with other tourists. Of course, the bus wasn' t full, so not to miss a money making opportunity, the driver waited for some more random passengers. Once we were crammed in like sardines along with some last minute ... read more
View from our hotel room
Child in Cat Cat Village
Local in Cat Cat Village

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai July 15th 2015

Waking at 0600, I get up to take some more pictures as the light is completely different without the haze. Some other passengers are doing Tai Chi on the front deck as it is so much cooler this morning. It won't last long. I have about 3 cups of coffee to make up for all those days without any. There is also an assortment of tropical fruit and some cereal as a precurser to brunch after we do a tour to the floating fishing village. We get on the tender boat again and are transferred to wooden boats where an oarsman takes us up close and personal with the limestone karsts and floating village. We are hot and sweaty upon our return to the boat and wearing the life vests makes it worse. Luckily there is ... read more
Old Quarter Hanoi
Hanoi street
Sleeper train to Sa Pa

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi July 14th 2015

Early rise at 0600 so that we'd be all packed and ready to bring our luggage to the lobby in time for breakfast at 0630. The breakfast buffet was very fancy and the ladies serving were very attentive and wouldn't let us lift a finger. I was adventurous and chose something I'd never eaten before. It was in a tiny square glass jar with mainly a creamy substance filling it with a thin layer of a dark green coloured jelly on top. OMG it was so yummy, so then the rest of the boys decided it must be okay and had one too. I swear my boys are more comfortable with the College food. The coffee here has also been the best I've had yet in Vietnam, but still not as nice as home. At 0715, ... read more
Treasure Junk
Halong Bay
Locals on Halong Bay

Asia July 13th 2015

A fantastic night's sleep. Not being sarcastic but the gargantuan groaning, clanking and clickety clack of this prehistoric Russian train lulled me to sleep. Actually Brendan's snoring was way louder than the engine. We are scheduled to arrive in Ha Noi at 0430 so when we woke up to find out it was light outside, Brendan was convinced that we'd overslept and ended up in China. I said "don't be silly, we would have had to pass immigration first". Anyway, I had more urgent matters on my mind. I am having to visit the manky toilet where I discover I have lost the hardcore backpacker balancing act in a swaying train toilet somewhere in the last 20 years. My legs aren't what they used to be, and as there was no discernable feacal matter on the ... read more
Vietnam Telecom
Old Quarter in Hanoi
Tucking into some Bahn Mi

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast July 11th 2015

After breakfast, Brendan and I got into our routine of leaving the kids behind to watch HBO while we investigated street life and shops. We found a good shop selling boys shorts, although it was actually Vietnamese men's sizes. We will come later with the the boys to try them on. Back at the hotel we waited till 1000 to pick up our glasses, but the lady meant 1300. No drama, as the shop is literally next door to the hotel, so we went for a swim and relaxed at the hotel instead. At 1300 we collected our glasses, then went for another fitting for our clothes at the tailor. At about 3.30pm First Born and I hired a couple of bikes which some random stranger delivered to the hotel on her motorbike. The stand broke ... read more
Temple near Hoi An
Local school in Hoi An
Water Wheel Village Hoi An

Asia » Vietnam July 10th 2015

Finally, a sleep in and up at 7am. No rushing and no packing. We did some washing by hand yesterday and it was all dry this morning due to my chinese laundry system of hanging clothes from windows, travel clothes lines, rails, backs of chairs etc. After breakfast, Bobby needs some more sleep so he sleeps, I blog and Brendan finally starts reading the LP guide. He also gets around to telling me that he was propositioned in the street yesterday. A bloke grabbed his arm and asked "you want girl?". He slapped the guy's hand and told him to f#*k off. Good job we are slumming it in a double bed tonight (refer previous post). Brendan and I set off down the street while we left the boys to their own devices, namely their ipods ... read more
Fruit Hawker
Bach Dang Hotel
Hawker on streets of Hoi An

Asia July 9th 2015

Only up at 4.45am today due to our 7am flight to Danang. The great thing about 5 star hotels is that you pay someone to fix your problems. Problem one. Breakfast is included in the price of our room but restaurant opens at 6am and we have to be gone by 5.15am. Problem two. I have two hungry teenage boys. 5 star hotel says 'no problem' we'll pack you each a breakfast box. Sadly, once the boxes had gone through the xray machine and we had some down time, I found no croissants in there. No fuss flight with Vietnam Airlines taking a little over an hour to get to Danang. We found a taxi right outside the airport, which was metered thus helping to alleviate my fears of being ripped off, to take us about ... read more
UNESCO Listed Hoi An

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