Tag Archives: beach

Hoi An . . . in the top three

Hi Everyone,

This lovely town on the coast of Vietnam (and about a 45-minute drive south of Da Nang) is a shopper’s paradise. Yes, a shopper’s paradise. “Isn’t practically all of SE Asia a shopper’s paradise?” you ask.

Well, yes it is! For most travelers. Though there is so much more to do than just shop.

But this particular town is known for its vast collection of tailors. Yes, tailors. People from all over the world were having custom clothing made: suits, dresses, skirts, shoes, etc. (Yes, even shoes!)

But for moi, I just didn’t feel like having anything custom-made. I’m nearly at the end of my 5-month journey in SE Asia, and I have plenty of souvenirs already. And I have plenty of clothing.

Also, I think that’s an activity that would be more fun to do with a friend (yes, Mom, I agree with you on this one : ).

So what did I do?

I walked around the quaint town in the evening. (It became much more interesting when the sun began to set.)

It was pouring and pouring on my first full-day there; so I hung out in my comfy room and got caught up on things. AND I swam in that fabulous pool. Fortunately, it wasn’t thundering and lightning (like it is now in Bangkok where I’m currently sitting and typing).

When I got hungry, I walked a short distance and found a cozy restaurant with a nice mix of decor (honestly, it felt more European than Asian) where I broke my no-chicken eating and had Pho with da kine (noodle soup). It was the perfect dish for a cool, wet day.

And the second day? The sun was shinning, so I rented a bike and found the beach (and even got a little sun burned on my shoulders : ).

For enjoying Hoi An as much as I did, I took very few pictures (another sign that this leg of my journey is winding down).

So, without further ado . . .


These are some of the most unusual boats I’ve ever seen! They reminded me of big rice cups. And yes, I helped carry the second one up the beach.
What’s that for ???
Right in town was a rice paddy.
A sample of the clothing that one can have made in Hoi An.

And oh, I forgot to mention, I just happened to be in Hoi An on the one day of the month when they hang lanterns everywhere (and coincidentally, the last night of my solo journey before joining my friend in Bangkok) in honor of the full moon which appears the following night. I left my room a little before sunset to walk around town. Along the way, I saw vendor after vendor setting up a personal altar in front of their shop. Soon, women were selling small lanterns to the tourists, as well as cooking potato, banana, coconut things. (I  tried part of one; it was okay, a bit bland.)

When the activity seemed to be at its peak, I parked myself at a table for one, ordered fried noodles and veggies and a glass of the local merlotish red wine, and enjoyed the show! “Perfect!” I thought as I sat and sipped . . . “Perfect. Thank you Hoi An. Thank you . . .”


Hue, Vietnam, pronounced like curds and . . .

From Ha Noi I flew to Hue. It’s a small town a bit north of Danang (which was an important in the Vietnam, or American, war).

Stayed there 2-nights, and this is what I saw/did . . .

Taken from a boat.
This boat. The lady came running beside me, “Come on boat; come on boat. Only . . .”(about $5) But I’m hungry and am going to eat. “I can cook for you.” For the same price? “Yes.” Talk about feeling like a cheap American! But you (I) never know what’s a fair price for them and what’s a rip-off for a tourist (me). I hopped on the boat; they immediately drove the boat to the other shore (so that she could go to the market for food.)
Their son.
The grinds. Noodles with morning glory (greens). And an omelette with onion. Not too bad. I was hungry.
The next morning I rented a bike and took off to find a place for breakfast. But first, I was led down an alleyway to where I found a “locals only” café. On the river. With HBO on the muted television and jazz on the sound system. “Nice,” I thought. I had a deep rich coffee with thick condensed milk (for a fraction of what it was in the restaurants for westerners). And, I had conversation. Lots of it. With these two girls. When I could tell that they were dying to speak English with me, I invited them to join me at the table. Occasionally they had to hop up to work, but soon they’d plop back down for a bit more of this and that. Who are they? They’re both 21-year old university students studying agriculture. We exchanged emails . . .
And after breakfast it was time to head off and find the pagoda which was about 3 km away from the town’s main attraction: a citadel.
But first, a stop at the local grocery store.
Talk about a large selection of rice cookers!
You can read about this car . . .
“Why in the heck did you take a picture of this toilet, SJ? And why include it in your glob?” Notice the shoe prints? Yes, someone stood on it and then used it . . . There are stand-on types of toilets in SE Asia that are raised to about the same height as our sit-on® type . . . reckon the last user preferred to stand. Much more sanitary, don’t you think?
The monks don’t appear to wear saffron robes in Vietnam. They were moving stacks of wood from the back of the truck onto the other side of the fence.
This looks a lot like the boat I took a ride on the afternoon before.
School kids’ bikes.
Having a PE class of some type. “HI!!!” they were waving.
And now to the main attraction in the town of Hue.
It felt a bit like an Angkorwatwannabe.
The costume storage room.
Hey, what’s he doing here?
Back to the lovely hotel room to find the next place to rest my head (was looking for a place in Hoi An with a pool . . . my budget? $30 and below, found one for exactly $30). How much did the room in Hue cost? $15. That’s with air con, a TV, and a private balcony. The one I’d originally booked was $12; I figured it was worth 6 bucks extra to have a lanai for 2-nights. : )
Oh, what a wonderful dinner it was! I’d read about this restaurant in my Lonely Planet guide book, and then I just happened to pass it . . . and when I was hungry and looking for a restaurant!
The restaurant staff was watching Vietnam Idol.
Time to leave some more things behind. First, my skirt (the one I was wearing when I was riding the elephant, I just couldn’t stand to wear it one moment longer). It’s somewhere in Laos. Second, my purple purse. It’s somewhere in Northern Vietnam. Remember? I gave it to the little girl I bought my new purse from. Next, these two shirts. May they continue to have exciting journeys as they venture forth into their brave new world. (Yes, I agree, rather dramatic for a couple of well worn shirts!)
We were the first picked up for the four hour and four dollar bus ride to Hoi An. We chose the front seat, plenty of room to keep all my bags with me. “Brave to ride up there!” an Irish woman who’s lived in Australia for 10-years said to me. “Why?” I asked. “You’ve seen how they drive here!” “But it’s not as bad as in Cambodia,” her husband added. And I agreed, the bus driving was a bit (a bit) more mellow that what I’d experienced in Cambodia.
Leftovers. Made a perfect breakfast!
Stopping for road work.
We had a 30-minute break mid-way.
Happy Feet. Happy Bat Angel. Its first time on the beach!

It was a lovely 2-nights in Hue. Next came another of my favorite SE Asia towns . . .

Catch you soon on SJ’s bat angel channel.



Part 3 . . . now to Railay Bay & then Koh Phi Phi

This was last month, July 2011 . . .

Took a 15-minute boat ride from Ao Nang towards the east to Railay.
Cutest darn puppy!
The tide goes really far out! This poor guy hurt his foot, I think.
Loved the pink slicker. : )
Fascinating to look at.
Sacred phallic rock.
Moi. Went for a dip. Felt good, but it was chocolatey water.
This was the nicest beach I experienced in Thailand. Could actually hang out here in peace in quiet . . . it was lovely.
Good thing I took the dip when I did. Yep, stubbed my toe on my way back to the hotel.
Had the most lovely next day just hanging out. How often do you just sit and think? It was such a perfect day. So thankful for the private lanai looking out at teak trees.
When I ventured out that late afternoon I found the coolest crab art.
There were literally hundreds of them!
From my perspective, beaches in Thailand are mostly nice for looking at . . . the swimming? It ain’t Hawaii.
A small sample of the pollution.
Took a ferry to Koh (island) Phi Phi.
That’s my green backpack on the hotel worker’s back. He met me at the dock. It was about a 10-minute walk inland to the hotel.
This was a common site during this portion of my journey. See the “no water”? Later in the evening the tide rose up to where I was sitting (in a restaurant on simple boards raised over the water).
This is where I hung my hat for a few nights. I had my own bungalow. Would be perfect for couples. Had a TV, which was fun at times . . . some English programs to watch when I was getting dressed to go out.
I’d heard about this and enjoyed watching it. The little fish nibble and clean their feet (or so I hear : ).
One of the nicest things to do (in my humble opinion) while on Koh Phi Phi, hike up the hill to the vista.
I found many ways to get up here . . . let’s just say I found places where I don’t think a tourist is “supposed” to go. Needless to say, I was very happy when I found LOTS of people at this lookout rather than NO one at the obscure lookouts I first found! And then to see that the way down was so easy . . . yep, that’s me, always finding alternate routes rather than the “main” one . . .
It rained and rained one morning. I had the most relaxing time sitting in a guesthouse restaurant drinking coffee and eating muesli with yogurt.
My bungalow. See my visitor?
Luckily the weather and seas calmed so that I could take a boat excursion. That’s the viking cave. Vikings in Thailand? Reckon so. Or was it Pirate Cave . . . ?
Our tour guide/boat captain . . . that’s pineapple for a snack on the platter.
Moi at the famous “beach” from the eponymous movie. Thanks Michele for the use of your little “dry” bag.
This critter was hanging out on the beach. ! ! !
I think this is the well known location shown in the movie. Why think? Haven’t seen the movie yet, but I saw lots of people posing here and taking their picture.
Hi Mom!
This is where I heard a German yell out “Ganz allein in Paradis!” All alone in paradise!
We’d swum from our boat to this ladder to then walk to “the beach.”
The surge wasn’t too bad . . . fortunately!
Jelly fish in the water as we snorkeled! Luckily they didn’t sting. But there were LOTS of them.
Last stop before heading back to Koh Phi Phi: monkey beach.
These are “professional” monkeys.
Swam/snorkeled wearing my turquoise and citrine bracelet. Even had it on when I swam to “the beach.” And then it broke right on the boat over a black backpack (so I  could easily find it). One citrine decided to stay on the boat. Or maybe it jumped ship and is swimming around in Thailand. Who knows? Just know it was time for one citrine to take a walk about.
A ubiquitous mannequin in SE Asia.
Left Koh Phi Phi for Ao Nang beach.
The Aloha Inn was absolutely perfect for one night!
It dumped rain outside and I watched two movies in. And my clothes which were soaked were dry by morning. : )
Aloha Ao Nang and the “Krabi” area of Thailand.

Shots galore from the Krabi, Thailand area part one . . .

I was there July 10th to the 17th (of this year . . . 2011).




Leaving Bangkok.
Arriving in Krabi area (southern Thailand)
It was raining buckets.
Add the hype about taking a taxi . . . it was 150 Baht to be delivered right to my hotel’s doorstep.
My room.
Love the elephant theme ALL over Thailand.
Ao Nang beach.
Ze hotel.
The end of the road with the scooter.
A school at the “end of the road.”
Looked like the perfect place for lunch.

Ze elephants were right down the street.
The Auntie made a wonderful veggie lunch.
The doggie who “sidled” up beside me.
Her cousin.
Base of the wat with a zillion stairs.
Part of what I saw when I was “lost.”
Stopped here to get out the rain and have an orange fanta.
Where they get their fuel for their motos, i.e. scooters.
Where I was scootin’.
A typical view.
Back at the wat with a zillion steps . . .
Loved their construction rigging.
Do you get a feeling of how steep it is?
This worker took a break.
Do you spy him?
I think it had been freshly painted.
Yeah, I thought it was cool too.
Love that they didn’t use blue tape.
Trash can made from tires. : )
Keep going!
Takin’ a break.
You need some help to bring all the whatever up this mountain.
Ah, made it to the top!
It took about 30-minutes to walk up, 20 to walk down.
What you see from up top . . .
Lots and lots of rocks . . .
Where the monks hang down below . . .
There was a large patio on top . . .
Ze distant mountains . . . looking north.
It was built right over and around the rocky mountain.
These guys are working pretty hard.  :  )
I thought the antennae looked cool.
It was nice to just hang and take it in . . .
The “behind-the-scene” view (or under the patio . . . )

More to come . . .

Ochheuteal beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia with the kids from FLO

Hanging out . . . : )

Hi Everyone,

Here are some shots from the beach (and the streams that we stopped at en route and on the return–two different places).



p.s. for those of you for whom it’s important to see these photos in chronological order, start from the bottom and work your way up . . . reckon this is an homage to susansbackwardsglob.com. : )

Hanging out enjoying the sounds of the stream . . .
The water was very refreshing!
Heading to our hang for several hours, we had lunch here as well as swam.
See what I see?
New friends from Honolulu, California, and Siem Reap.
One of my students, she just graduated from high school. We’ll celebrate her graduation (along with others’) on Sunday.
We had breakfast at the beach before heading out to return to FLO.
The light was so pretty, and I loved the kid’s yellow shirt!
Wednesday night we celebrated all the birthdays of July.
Those darling FLO kids with July birthdays.
My new friend, his birthday is July 28th.
The sunset was beautiful both nights.

Winners of some of the competitions.
Isn’t he adorable????
My new friend, he was practically the last out of the water each day.
Laughing at the silliness in the different competitions.
Slowly the bottles would be filled . . .
Some did a little better than others . . . but everyone had fun.
And they’re off!
This was one of the nicest beaches I visited during my stay in SE Asia thus far.
Lunch. This fish soup was really, really good; it had a nice flavor of fresh lime juice.
That’s Rob Hail with some of the kids; my new friend is on the right.
Cameraman Rick, yeah, he’s a cool guy. : )
The kids LOVE playing volleyball.
Just checking it out.
These two loved hanging out together.
It’s a very long sandy beach.
There are dogs everywhere; I thought this guy was especially cute.
Passed this as we all walked along the beach early in Wednesday morning.

All the kids.
Or at least almost all of them.

Look what I found!
Heading to this other beach around the bend.

Will you please take our picture Auntie?
Heading down the beach in the early a.m.
The kids gather in groups before we head anywhere; 220 kids are a lot to keep track of!
Moi and my new friend.
His eFoster parents (who live in California) gave him the Hawaii shirt.
Breakfast: noodles. All the food for the 2-days we hung out at this beach were prepared here. FLO rented this particular pavilion.
Most everyone stayed here. Some stayed at a smaller guest house.
Rob had the wonderful idea of inviting some blind kids from a neighboring school to come along on the trip. This particular fella was a good singer.
He’s a very good singer too!
The FLO students were very conscientious about taking care of their guests.
Two different times the kids went around and collected trash.
The restroom at our first stream stop, the pipe simply led out behind the shack . . . : (
Chansy (on right) works so hard preparing all our food! She’s an excellent cook.
The kids love having their pictures taken.
This little guy is so much fun. Thursday on the way back he wanted to get in the water and float down the stream with all the “bigger” kids, but he doesn’t know how to swim. So I just picked him up (with his permission, of course!) and carried him on my back. It was a bit of work being fresh water and him being so solidly built! But I figured it was an honor to be able to help out such a beautiful being.

Let’s pose for another picture!
The huts faced the water; here the stream was flowing too strongly for any thought of taking a dip.
My students . . . the gal on the left is the dancer you saw in another posting.
It was such a nice hang–literally!
Moi and cameraman Rick, he’s been working his butt of and missing his lovely wife and 2-year-old son back in Australia.

Our first place to stop and hang and have lunch.
There were four of this nice pink busses.
A little bit of the scenery . . .
This is a very famous lookout, I was told.

Jan (center) is one of the organizers of eGlobal; she’s with her eFoster daughter and friend.
They stopped to pick up a DVD of music videos–Bollywood Cambodian style.
Those are my flashcards for learning the kids’ names . . . I’m still working on it!
Ready to go!!!! : )
Pamela Young and new friends.
Breakfast baguette, there was some meat inside.
It was DUMPING rain right before it was time to leave.
The tarp-over-kids-conveyance-device®
Waiting for the rain to lessen.

 That’s all for now . . . or, enjoy the photos!

The gifts just keep coming!

Okay, I know that I wrote that the next entry was going to be about day-to-day life at FLO (I even started writing it on the bus today en route to the beach), but a news-breaking story has risen up saying, “Write about me! Write about me!”
And so I shall.
This morning around 5:45 a.m. we all gathered in the courtyard area at FLO to board the busses to the beach. But before we could get on the bus, a monsoon level rain began to fall. We waited it out and in their practical way, they managed to move a few groups of students from the “dance” area to a bus by simply having 4-young men tightly hold a tarp at the four corners over the Ss heads. This group carefully moved from point A to point B in a spontaneously choreographed dance.
The rain lessened, the breakfast baguettes were passed out, and we were on our way. Four fully packed busses with 220 ebullient and euphoric children (and a healthy dose of adults—the teachers, administrators, and volunteers) made their way to Ochheuteal beach, a beach that reminded me of Waimanalo some.
We made a stop at a park area where in years past the children were able to go swimming. Today that was not to be; the river was simply flowing too swiftly for any chance for a dip. It didn’t seem to dampen their mood at all. We lounged under the raised covered cabanas (complete with hammocks), walked out onto the flat table-top-rock adjacent to the stream, took picture after picture of this and that (the Ss LOVE having their picture taken), and generally just had a fun, festive time.
Afterwards, the drive continued for about another 2-hours. On bus number 2 (aka “the party bus” !) the microphone came out of hiding and several Ss came to the front (where I luckily was sitting) for an impromptu singing performance. I recorded some video of one lovely lass (yes, one of my Ss : ), and I’ll see if I can’t post it for you. I did capture some photos, but I’m just a little too tired at the moment to do the necessary this and that to post them with this entry. They’ll follow when the time is right . . .
We arrived at our hotel, changed into our suits (albeit covered with t-shirts and shorts, they’re quite concerned that the Ss not be exposed to bare shoulders and legs, a protocol which has worked well for them apparently), and headed off for the beach (via the bus) which was only minutes away. After a debriefing, the Ss were set loose to go swimming, play ball, do whatever it is that kids like to do at the beach.
And that’s when I received yet another precious gift on this most magical afternoon.
“Auntie! Auntie!” called out one of my many Ss. “Auntie! Auntie!”
I trudged over to him in the water; he grabbed both of my hands and started jumping up and down. So what does a person do? Start jumping up and down with him!
This little guy is absolutely adorable. For the next 2-hours (or so, I wasn’t wearing a watch, all I know is that we were literally in the water non-stop for the entire time allotted to the students) we jumped over waves, dove under waves, hopped onto passing inter-tubes, climbed onto shoulders (him, not me : ) and the only shoulders climbed upon were mine : ), flipped back into the water, climbed up onto inter-tubes, jumped off with a big splash, and laughed, and laughed and laughed. I don’t know when I last had that much fun in the water.
He never let me out of his sight, and neither did I (lose sight of him, I even watched the bubbles rise when he was under for what seemed like a little too long).
Ends up this was his FIRST time ever in the ocean! Wow, I feel so fortunate to have been the person he chose to be with him and PLAY with him during his first ocean experience (ever!). He yelled out at least 5-times, “I’m so happy!!!!!”, “I’m so happy!!!!!”, “I’m so happy!!!!!”, and simply, “Happy!!!!! Happy!!!! Happy!!!!” I don’t think I’ve ever heard an American kid do the same (or a European one, for that matter).
What an absolute gift.
And he was in pure bliss, living completely and utterly in the moment.
Hmm . . . so many things to take away from this . . . I know what mine are; what are yours?
And here’s a shot of him . . .
Yeah, what a cutie!
Peace, love to you all,

Quick poost from thee BKK aeroport!

Hi Everyone!

In the  BKK airport usin their groovy free-but-funky-da-kinne computer kiosks.

All’s well. Had a  graand timme in thee Krabi areea; heading now north to Chiang Mai . . . taking a 3-day, 2-night treek starting Tuesday . . .. to Karen and Hmong villages . . .. hikinng . . . sleepinng on the grouund .  .. riding elephants . . .. swimminng at the  base of waterfallss . . .  and then back to the  hoteel forr a HOT shower!

Life isgood.

No, I’m not drunk, Dan, just usinng a funky free-dakine.

Got lots of shots yeesterrday at thee faamouns beach froom  thee movie THE BEAACH.

Heard a German yell, “Ganz allein im Paradise!”
Had to laugh as he said he was alone in paraadise, and I had to practiccaally elbow my way to the beach. LOL :  )

kay den, time to look for my fliight . . . ALOHA from bkk . . . .


p.s.lots of snakeshotstoo . . .. theree was a tiny snake on the beach! . . . with the trash :  (

p.s.s. I thiink this iss where the Dutch laanguage really  came from . . .. the futuree and funky freee airport kiosks!!!

Rocket Girl towel portrait

Rocket Girl

Our girl.

: )