flickr: photos (9th - 21st june)
streets of saigon: roadside bookstall. yummy kueh made by multilingual old lady. incense. street art.
hcmc: we get scammed at cho ben thanh. yummy drink. post office.
hcmc: parliament house? notre dame cathedral. portable nha ve sinh (toilet).
cu chi tunnels: dehan gets dirty. the soldier makes ho chi minh slippers from old tyres. the boys fire some rounds.
cao dai temple.
dalat countryside: binh the easy rider brings us around.
dalat train station. i want to fly a kite.
dalat at night: crazy night bazaar. strawberries. sua dao (soy bean). bag lady.
the four islands boat trip in nha trang: many kiddies (pham's kids and niece/nephews) and other crazy tourists. we have shitloads of fun splashing around in the cool water and scrambling up (or getting hulled up unglamourously-not me!) the sides of the boat, only to fall/get shoved in again. kim gets pushed over, losing his rayban, wallet, and beer. a boatboy who cannot swim goes down too.
diving at mun island, nha trang: dive buddies. feeding frenzy- the fish eat watermelon. yingen! belgian dive master.
food in hoi an: the meddies gather. ice cream! the ice cream bike plays a really cute tune. dh eats custard apple for the first time.
hoi an: lanterns. the quaint little town is quiet.
hoi an: barber. men play chess at one of the clans. mr duc. easy riders.
my son: cham ruins. it is boring. and very hot.
hue: we jump in minh mang tomb.
hue: frisbee. we play with trang's son at their house before playing at this random quadrangle, in the hot hot sun. we later play at the citadel with little hooligans who smoke at such a young age.
a day in hanoi with the ly family. rachel stays in saigon and speaks canto, hannah and joshua live in oz.
hanoi: st joseph's cathedral. ho chi minh mauseleoum. temple of literature. lenin park. the latter 3 are boring.
friendly people we meet along the way: the boys of an phu. lan of robinson crusoe agency. chapteh boys.
food: yes we eat durian. later, a singaporean working in vietnam buy us more.
drink: say 'yo!'
a friends-filled weekend is a good remedy to post-holiday blues. my poor mama put up with my grumpiness and lethargy on friday; i somehow passed the day without doing anything but lurk furtively online, preoccupied with moping.
lotsa tuition to make up for bursting the budget the past coupla weeks before the kiddies take a break, and catching up with dear friends. when i met jen-babe, it did not feel like one year has passed. and then bbq with the (emily) tan family was belly-busting and whetted my appetite (not!) for the gecko soup that was brewed for bday boys abintan and lililililizongxian.
met up with my viet travel buddies and caught a movie instead of watching gaelic football; anna, a most animated canadian woman we met in hoi an/my son, is in town to play for the korean team. quentin tarantino's death proof left much to be desired! >.< the boys thought the show ended on a high note and then they stole my slipper and horsed around and i was a heap of uncontrollable laughter between rows of seats.
back in spore, donning clothes and shoes bought/tailored in vietnam,
okie, more meaningful photos taken on the trip coming up.
oh mama, school starts again tmr! i am posted to alexandra hospital, so damn far away. psyche up!
two weeks in vietnam is not enough.
every day was colourful, noisy, flavourful, warming, filled with special moments that at the moment are all swirled up in a delightful haze i am trying to grab at but missing. i miss vietnam.
it was all very 'fun-ny', like the 'vietnami' would say. by the way, many of the vietnamese people seemed to take to me, because i 'same-same vietnami.' (make a circling motion around my face when saying this.) oh mama, and it was hot! hot! hot! in all of the country except dalat.
the best way to see vietnam (and i am inclined to think, other countries as well) is by motorycle. i rode with jiayang and kim in nha trang, binh the easy rider in dalat, dehan in hue, and other motor riders along the way. hell, it was fun. on a motorcycle, you are in direct contact with the surroundings. you are part of the world, not viewing it passively through a frame. feel the sun beat down on your neck, feel the dust bite at your eyes and coat your sticky skin. smell the pho cooking 2m from your legs, hear the incessant! honks, taste the salty air as you swing by the ocean. shriek when your rider flies over a bump and hang onto the bike/ him and laugh from sheer exhilaration of being on the road. sometimes, it is more about the travelling than the arriving. bicycling is alright as well, but let me ride pillion anytime haha.
bus rides were hellish though. we travelled from saigon all the way to hanoi by the open bus tour and i must say it again: it was hell. many times, we were unlucky and got bad seats on an otherwise pretty decent bus. think back row seats with bad bad bad suspension, over the hot hot hot engine, squeezing with piles of baggage. what made things worse was a fever i had for 5 days that added chills and rigours to the mother long bus rides. thank goodness for dehan who gallantly lent me his shoulder on the first nightmarish sauna ride during which i had to sit above a sack of maize and bags fell on our heads and the bus ran out of petrol. dehan was an accomodating pillow even up to when i woodywoodpeckered his shoulder on the final ride from hue to hanoi. he later stepped off the bus with two sprained/strained ankles (unrelated to my bumping into him!) jiayang also gave up his prime first row seat to me and boy the awe-inspiring view of cliffs and the ocean later near nha trang and the tangy sea breeze when the driver opened the door was worth every bump on the road. i was just a tad worried i wld fall out of the bus.
we met many people along the way, some several times over. people who have touched our trip especially are kim from saigon, lan and kim in nha trang, pham and her family in nha trang 4 islands, joshua and hannah ly and rachel hui from oz/saigon. random run-ins with many other locals and travellers from all around the globe alike only made the whole trip more heartwarming (i realise that we'd met the ly family very early on in our trip starting from when joshua and i were curled up over the sack of maize in the bus) and they all deserve more mention. meeting the other m3s (the ba bang [three boys: vic tak vic liang jirong in hoi an] and yingen and ryanboy) along the way, and bumping into amos shihao jx most randomly near the supermarket in hanoi was really nice as well. of course, i think my travel buddies jy and dh are fabuloso. thanks, guys! for all the fun, and for taking care of me. i missed you guys mucho when u went off to ha long bay and i roamed the streets of hanoi alone. i realise i do not like hanoi nor saigon very much.
i love these two boys also for their love for kiddoes and making many of them chortle and shriek with joy by picking them up, dancing, and playing with them till they (both the boys and the kids) are exhausted.
these kids in dalat left us winded.
more stories of places (i love the quieter towns!) and activities and the people will come slowly as i organise my photos, and my thoughts.
Hen Gep Lai!
it is xin chao, vietnam! again come early saturday morning.
looks like the only dots on this map i wont be able to cross out is Phu Quoc (untainted deserted white sand beaches and natural springs! but time doesnt permit the indulgence) and Dalat*. (cool romantic mountains and coffee! tanrouan, u have to settle for less than the best coffee) i have been unfair to my parents through the course of planning this trip and while i will enjoy these two weeks very much, that will weigh heavy in my heart (which isnt a bad thing) and guys, remind me never to be so rash in future! hoho.
instead of Mui Ne, (sand dunes! fish sauce.) we went to Dalat, to escape from the heat.
to the many people heading to vietnam as well, here is my itinerary, more or less:
9.6.07: ho chi minh city
10.6.07: cu chi tunnels and tay ninh
11.6.07: my tho
13.6.07: nha trang
14.6.07: nha trang
15.6.07: nha trang
16.6.07: hoi an
17.6.07: hoi an
if our routes cross and you wanna hook up, drop me a line; i will be very happy. otherwise, seeyu back here in 2 weeks, refreshed!
teochew, and proud of it.
ate with chin kailun near the masjid sultan today. (ibosh was across the street!!) scanned through my inbox for a 4 year-old msg and we felt, acutely, damn old. our creaky achy knees only drive home the point that we are far from the days when we scraped our knuckles on the damned netball courts and ran till we got high and sang about the strength of a gryphon with gusto.
later, i bought an old broken rusting typewriter from the sungei road flea market. and william decided to be nice to his turtles and got a good deal for a water filter for those critters. please go there to buy stuff. and if u see a nice old school clock, lemme know. thank you tan rose ann for the car rides the past coupla days!
the (fried) icecream man. yummay.. sorry our big plans to celebrate mud's bday with a bang didnt fall through!
bite into smiling faces.
from mag's bday,
vespa dreamin'! (ahmad's vespa, which has since seen a better coat of paint.)
who lives in a pineapple?
spongebob and his friend, kah heng.
who is this ah pek?
it's been great hanging out with the 3stanis after so long. it was girls' day out on saturday. today: a bbq, sit-around, and movie, just like when we were in m1, reeking of the anat museum on a friday evening. just that it is monday night and we are m3 and not so smelly and.