Welcome to an auspicious beginning of yet another blog in the world wide web. I decided to try this after being inspired by friends and relatives blogs, so enjoy the stories and be sure to add comments!
The first two days of my trip were a reminder of so many things about traveling. The cramped airline seats, the mind numbing effects of jet lag, the love/hate relationship with other travelers (want to see Vietnam and meet Vietnamese, but on the other hand it sure is nice to talk to someone that speaks the same language), the excitement of being somewhere foreign, the frustration of not being able to do the simplest things without getting help from someone, the pleasure of meeting new people, the distaste of having yet another "how long are you traveling? where are you from? what do you do?" conversation before you find something else in common, and the pain/pleasure of not having a routine, a familiar face to see, a favorite voice to hear. All-in-all, I’m reminding myself of why I don’t enjoy travelling by myself, but I love immersing myself in new places and cultures and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to follow your heart.
Serendipity greeted me on my flight from Taipei. I ended up sitting next to a woman who was heading to Hanoi, but even better was the fact that she had been there before and spoke Vietnamese. Between her familiarity of the area, her friend that met her at the airport, her recommendations on restaurants and a place to stay, and her company & conversation, Susan made my first day a great start to the trip. I owe her big time!
Hanoi is a typical asian/developing nation city. Can’t tell you if it reminds me more of Colombia or Korea as it was 25 years ago. I did enjoy (thanks to jet lag) adventuring out at the crack of dawn to watch the city wake up. The heart of the city is a lake, and many folks take the opportunity to exercise in the morning before the day gets started. Badminton, tai chi, syncronised fan dancing (see the picture!), and various stretching, jogging, and walking going on.
I just returned from a trip to Ha Long bay. Incredible place, great company (check out www.katydoesbangkok.blogspot.com for an introduction to two of my fellow travelers) and more than anything else, a chance to really relax for the first time in quite a few years. Put me on a boat with nothing but people, scenery, and books to keep me company, and you can’t help but relax. Of course, this includes jumping off the roof into the water as well! Some things never change…
I’m off tomorrow morning to start a six day motorcycle trek into the mountains. It will be my opportunity to bond with a fine Russian technology 125cc motorcycle, as well as see the incredible scenery the was it was made to be seen: from the seat of a motorcycle.
Due to the scarceness of internet access in the mountains, I have no idea when my next post will be, but I promise that future ones will be a bit more witty and philosophical as my brain continues to recover from jet-lag.