Thursday, January 31, 2008

feb 1 the sydney airport

There are free internet kiosks at the sydney airport. The sydney airport is a pretty nice airport to be stuck at for 8 hours. I am sure there are people waiting to use the computer. I had Wagamama's for brunch. Wagamama's is a noodle place I used to eat at all the time in London. I have been wanting to eat there again for 9 years. That is a long time to want some ramen and fruit juice. But it was well worth my $18.50. Airport food is expensive. The vietnam airport was all new but there was not much to do while waiting for the plane. Although strangley the bathrooms were cleaner at the ho chi minh city airport than in Sydney.
 I don't think I am going to be able to watch the superbowl at all. I think it starts at noon new zealand time monday. My tour starts monday afternoon. Oh well. I will be rooting for the pats anyway. 18 hour time difference is a bit much.
My last day in vietnam was uneventful. Ben and I went to the Ho Chi Minh City museum. The Museum was not very good. But it was only 1 usd. the building was nice. the exhibits were not. oh well. I have now fled that country. I will be in new zealand soon. No more taking my life in my hands when I cross the street. although the cars will be coming from the other way.
ok there really is a line to use the computer. keep reading.

jan 31 at the Vietnam airport

stealing wireless is tough aintain't technology gtandgrand. waiting for plant in vietnamVietnam all for now

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jan 29 photos

Because I love a Pagoda. Don't ask me which one it is because I don't know.

Hats and masks being sold in the Benh Tay Market.

New Years decorations being sold on the street across from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Boy with toy gun. This is what I think of when I think Vietnam.

A man buying lunch from a street vendor as seen from the second floor balcony.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

jan 27 photos 1

Happy Chinese New Year 2008. That bright spot to the right is the moon.

View of our boat from shore in the Mekong Delta.

Man painting New Years banner.

Detail of dragon inside one of the pagodas. Sorry no clue which one.
Ho Chi Minh City traffic from the ice cream shop window.

Badmiton is really big here. Sorry the quality isn't great. It is amuzing none the less.

Since it is Sunday I thought we would start with a little Jesus. Inside Notre Dame Cathedral.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

jan 26

Today my brother came in. The morning consisted of waiting for him at the airport. It was an eventful drive to get to the airport. There was a lot of traffice. Not a big surprise since there is always lots of traffic even at 9:45 on a Saturday morning. Our taxi drive took a lot of side streets and alleys. So on the way I saw dog being sold on the side of the road like beef. I thought they were pigs. But thuys mom assured me no they were dog. They were little dogs too. I am not sure how I feel about that. I don't have the cords for the camera or my card reader with me at the house so I can't post photos although it would be a perfect time to do so. We are going to dinner soon. Well we are leaving to go to dinner soon. SO I don't really have time to get them. Yes you needed to know that.
I have had to switch rooms at the hotel since my brother came in. Now I am in a windowless room that smells like terpentine. It seems to be a little quieter since it isn't on the street. I guess I will find out tonight. I am ready to leave this country. Only 5 more days.

Friday, January 25, 2008

jan 25

The power goes out every night at the hotel just after 10pm. It is just one of the fun parts of Vietnam. It just came back on. The power wasn't out very long tonight. Which is good. The Internet also went right back on the longer the power is out the longer it takes for the wireless to come back on. I am all about the sharing.
Today I did something super exciting! I bought cheap shoes. Woo hooo! They are brown puma's. They maybe knockoffs. They are good knock offs and they were only 12 dollars. Although I was told I could have gotten them cheaper. But 12 dollars is a great price in my mind. We went to this fun mall type market place. I ended up getting the shoes on the street but the mall had everything. It was kinda like a real nice flea market. It wasn't very touristey I only saw one other white person there.
After shopping was lunch. The oranges here are green . Well the outside is. The inside looks and tastes the same. The oranges we got were super juicy. They are quality fruit.
again I am sorry there are no photos. I can't send photos from the iPod touch. Soon there will be photos. I added captions to the few phots I did post. Enjoy the babble. More soon. Keep reading.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

jan 24

Today I did a city tour. The wireless keeps going out so this is going to be short. It was a long day. It we an all day tor. It started with the war rememants museum. It is a wonder the Vietnamese don't hate Americans. Apparently we" the us soldiers from 68-75" indesciminately killed everyone. Women children old people forests. The museum was very interesting. Also it cost 1dollar American. There were 12 people on the tour. There were some French canadiens, swedes, two asian families from the states but it seemed that English was not their first language. The ages ranged as well two college guys, the swedes were late twenties as a guess, and 6 people intheir 50-60s. We went to a pagoda with giant statues. Not just at the alter they were everywhere. The pagoda was very ornate no one was praying today while we were their. Maybe too many tourists.
A side note Yes I heard Heath Ledger died. Drug overdose I read. I clearly have the Internet. I watched tennis today. Australian open mens semi. Nadal lost big. I watched random soccer at lunch man united beat some English premier league team. Sportscenter last night was the strangest sportscenter ever. There was not one mention of the super bowl, steroids, basketball, baseball or even hockey. The only American even mentioned was tiger woods. There was lots of tennis and soccer.
I am really tired. It was a long day. More babble tomorrow. Enjoy the randomness. Wait one more thing. This morning on the way to the tour I took a taxi. I don't think the driver started the meter because it was only 16,500 when yesterday the same taxi ride in a cheaper cab was 19,500. Which if you are doing the math at home it is about $1.50. It is 15,000 dong to the dollar. Ok that is really all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

jan 23

I just wanted to post something. I am still having technical issues with the photos. Hopefully I will be able to post more soon. I hope also I will be able to fix the two posts with the photos. I will add caption information. Right now I can't get into them to edit them. But I digress.
The past couple days have been busy. I did a lot of touring. The 21st in the afternoon I went on a pagoda walk. I saw 4 pagodas. They all kinda looked the same after a while. All very beautiful. Yesterday I went to the Mekong Delta. It was very Apocolypse Now/Heart of Darkness. There was a little boat on a river if you haven't seen the movie or read the book. No one was shooting at me. And we weren't looking for a guy named Kurtz. We did have to worry about running aground. Apparently the river was a bit low and our boat was a little overloaded. At one point our group of 26 had to all move to the front of the boat. It was amuzing. I need to get into some A/C and eat. More babble soon. Keep reading.

Monday, January 21, 2008

day 4 jan 21 B

Cyclists ride past New Years decorations in Ho Chi Minh City.

Detail of inside of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh.

Followers of Caodaism pray during their afternoon service at the Cao Dai Holy See.

A street vendor serves a sandwich on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

A statue of Ho Chi Minh with child stands in front of City Hall in Ho Chi Minh City.

day 4 jan 21 A

Ok I am having technical problems. These two are just a start.
Motorbikes in Siagon on Night 1 and my seat in Business Class from Taipei.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

day 3 Jan 20

Today I went on a tour. It started really early in the morning. Well 8:30am. I was up at 6:15am. I thought I was on vacation. I played viet cong soldier today. I crawled thru some tunnels and popped out a secret exit/entrance. (I never said I could spell) I would love to attach a photo but my card reader is at the hotel and I am not there presently. So photos will come soon I promise. After crawling around in the dark and learning about war our wee tour group, 6 of us, went to the caodism holy see. This is a crazy religion that encompasses all faiths and strangley prays to victor hugo. I don't really understand. But this church was insanely colorful. It was pink and turquois. Again photos to come. Really maybe tomorrow. After all this manic sight seeing. I swear we were running around the cu chi tunnels. Really that is there name I am just not that creative to make it up. We were taken to lunch which was a 7 course vietnamese meal. The food was westerned down. That means the food was super bland. Not spicey in any way. It was still quite good. It was also nice that it was included in the price of the tour. Dessert consisted of fruit I had never seen before along with some old stand bys like watermelon and pineapple. After this giant lunch we made our way back to Ho Chi Minh City. It was a long drive since it was rush hour. I didn't really expect there to be a big rush hour since it is Sunday but I guess I was wrong. It took us 2.5 hours to go 100km. Which to all you Americans is about 60 miles. There was construction, traffic, goats, farm machinary and water buffalo to contend with.
After leaving the tour group I needed a walk. The mini-bus I had been sitting on all day was not all that comfortable. So I ended up at church. Not really on purpose but yesterday when I was there it was closed. Today mass happend to be taking place. I had never been to a vietnamese mass before. Being in Springfield all those years you think I would have been to one. but no. And I digress. The church was disappointingly not that ornate inside. It was ok but it was nothing like Notre Dame in Paris for which it gets its name. So after about 15minutes of mass I decided I needed to go shopping. Well at least walk thru the market again. This afternoon the market was less crowded so it was not at overwhelming. Still after about 15 minutes everything looks the same. I decided to try to walk back to district 5, that is the part of the city where I am staying. I was going to try to do this by memory. I didn't have the big map with me. It turned out I was only like 3 blocks off track but I was confused and it was getting dark. So I went into a hotel and caught a cab. The taxi took me back. The just over 1kilometer ride cost me $1. It aint NYC. that is for sure. that was with a tip and everything. Ok that is more than enough babble. I really will post photos soon. Photos will be way more interesting than my babble. Keep reading.

Friday, January 18, 2008

day 2 jan 19

It is really hot here. I am all sticky. I just wanted to share. It was hot and humid at 8:30am. anyway enough about the weather. There was sightseeing to be done this morning. We took a cab to the tourist section of Ho Chi Minh City. The city is being decorated for New Years. So there are tons of red lanters, yellow birds (I don't know what kind) and dragons lining the streets. Lunar New Year you know? I bought a tour for tomorrow. My sister in-law and I are not getting along. (big surprise, sense the sarcasm) So the less time I have to spend with her the better. I will tell you all about tomorrows tour after the tour. Today we saw the Post Office, the outside of Notre Dame cathedral (yes like the one in Paris but not on the river), the reunification palace, city hall, and the big market. Crossing the street is really an art form. You walk slow so that the cars and motorbikes can swerve around you. They dont stop. Again sorry there are no photos to accompany this entry. use your imagination it will be better anyway.
I have been eating so much food I would normal not eat. Mainly pork. But a girl has to eat. The food is spicy. The food is good though. I am so hopped up on caffeine. Too much coffee and Coke.
I had a very non tourist trip yesterday. I met my sister-on-laws niece. She was born 4 days ago. Mom and baby were still in the hospital. So I went to a communist hospital. I will never think that hospital conditions in the US are bad again. Thuy's sister in law had her own room only because both families are well connected and know people. Normally thuy was saying there could be up to ten people in the room she was in. I am not sure how that was possible unless they start stacking the beds and there was no room to walk around. The baby was very cute and seemed to have all her limbs.
This seems to have gotten away from me. I am done babbling. Thanks for reading. More to come. Marla

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 1 Jan 17-18

Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City! It has been a long 2 days. There have been many hours sitting on an airplane. I watched 4 movies and still slept for 6 hours. If that gives you an idea of how the flight was. I actually saw a movie I hadn't seen yet on the plane. Jane Austen Book Club. It is a good chick flick. Yeah you get movie reviews too. It was pretty true to the book. Which is always good. I did get upgraded to Business class on the flight from taipie to vietnam. That was nice. Those seats are so much bigger and I got to sit in the upstairs in the 747. I have never been in the upstairs. It is such a fabled section.
Ho Chi Minh City is interesting. People drive by honking their horns. There are no real lanes. It is very frightening. It is a miracle we didn't die on the way to thuy's mom's house.
That is really all for now. More babble soon. Sorry no photos. Maybe next time.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Hey kids,
This will be my blog for the trip. I leave tomorrow for San Francisco. I may post from there.
OK. There are still many things I need to do before I leave.
I will keep you posted.