Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Vietnam is an amazing country that is filled with a difficult and violent past, but is a big part of what makes their culture so rich.  I think my favorite part of our trip was a cruise on the Mekong.  The highlight of which was a trip through the Can Tho floating market where locals buy most of their produce and even a meal if they want.  We met a Norwegian family with kids the same age as our two and for the cruise they had playmates which was great.  We also got a guided tour through a local village where we got to see the local flora and fauna and even sample some at a local cafe run out of a woman's home.

Back in Ho Chi Minh City we got a whirlwind tour of Notre Dame Cathedral, a reminder of the French occupation, the War Remnants Museum, where we got a skewed version of the facts of the Vietnam War, a local market where we picked up some souvenirs, learned about traditional Vietnamese medicine, and saw the Reunification Palace, which was the equivalent of the White House when it was in use.  Whew!  Plus it was unseasonably hot and muggy which left everyone a bit tired and crabby.  We did manage to fit in some much needed pool time to cool down.

After saying goodbye to the heat of Ho Chi Minh City we took a short 45 min flight to Nha Trang, a beach town on the cost of Vietnam.  We had an amazing view of the water from our hotel and a nice breeze, something that was missing in HCMC.  We spent a day out on the water going from one stop to the next by boat.  Our first stop was the aquarium, which the kids loved, especially feeding the turtles. Then it was on to a local beach where we took a short glass bottom boat ride so we could see the coral reef before taking a dip in the crystal clear waters.  We had such a good time swimming and were sorry to leave but lunch was calling.  Back on our boat we took a 45 min cruise to a resort for a very tasty and absurdly huge lunch over looking the water.  Hot sticky and tired we headed back to the hotel for a shower and nap. We ended our day with a nice dinner at a local restaurant and a stroll through the town's night market, which is a great place to work on your negotiation skills and shop for souvenirs.  The kids and I came home with traditional Vietnamese hats and Lucas picked up a Vietnamese unicorn, a mythical beast made up of many animals.

From Nha Trang we headed up into the mountains to Dalat.  The three and half hour drive was amazing.  The views were breathtaking and with all the pines, if I ignored all the motorbikes, it was almost like driving through the White Mountains in NH.  The best thing about Dalat though was the comfortable temperatures and low humidity.  The resort we stayed at didn't even have AC, and with a ceiling fan running our room was quiet comfy.  In our tour through Dalat we saw a beautiful cathedral, although most of the Vietnamese practice Confucianism, the French influence has left behind a healthy Catholic population.  We also saw the local train station, Charlie's favorite part of the trip hands down, and a Chinese pagoda.  We also learned how they make rice paper and rice noodles, something that can only be done during the dry seasons since it takes about 3 weeks for the rice paper to dry in the sun.  We ended our day with a late lunch and then some fun in the pool.  From Dalat we took a 30 min flight back to HCMC and spent the rest of our day relaxing at the hotel before our 7:45 am flight to Shanghai the next morning.  It was an amazing week and I think despite the heat and a few meltdowns, we all had a good time.   The only souvenir I wish we could take back is Charlie's ear infection.  Poor guy never complained, but after taking him to the doctor Monday morning she confirmed that he had a pretty bad ear infection.  I can only guess its from all the time we spent in the water in Vietnam.  Ear plugs next time!

1 comment:

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