Monday, February 24, 2020

Interim Update From Sapa

February 24th. So we have done four or five days in Hanoi, our three day cruise on Halong Bay, and are now beginning our second day of trekking in Sapa, in far north Vietnam. Tomorrow we'll go back to Hanoi and then fly to Hue, where we'll spend five days...resting, sightseeing, and maybe catching up on the blog.
Hanoi; we've heard the traffic is even crazier in Ho Chi Minh City

On Halong Bay

Light trekking near Sapa, overlooking Cat Cat village

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Luang Prabang Out-Takes

As I write, we have been in Hanoi four days, pretty overwhelmed by this crazy city, and are about to depart for a five day trip that will take us out to Halong Bay and beyond and then to the interior, Sapa, for some light trekking. Probably no internet for a while, so I will stop the blog here for now.
Sunset on the Mekong, down from our hotel

Breakfast: interesting presentation of a small sausage; I opted for the bacon

One of the things you do in Luang Prabang is get up at 5 in the morning to witness
the procession of Buddhist monks going on their morning begging; at 4AM on the
appointed morning, Vicki was awake, and said turn off the alarm; probably we're
both going to come back as dung beetles; anyway, I construed this to be food left out
for the monks

Complicating my trash bins of the world opus

First plastic-free hotel!
Also perhaps first ants restaurant; click to enlarge

Kalanchoe, one of my favorite plants because it's so easy to

The little leaflets fall off, root, and then become new plants; everything grows

Independent travel lesson #14: whenever a van takes you somewhere, always
get a photo and its license number

Beautiful flower in the middle of the street

Cottage industry in the old town: washing tourists' clothes

We have seen no RVs in southeast Asia, until Luang Prabang, where we saw
this and two others

Vicki, outside the Vietnamese consulate

Right out of the Book of Revelation, right?

Salvador Dali shrine

Spare wat parts

Best kitler yet, for me

Luang Prabang Scenes, 2

A bit of a miscellany...
Some nights we ate Lao food (very similar to Thai)

Some nights not: bread! Pain! A baguette!

At the French colonial restaurant l'Elephant, her beef medaliions

My duck


At another place, wall decor of camembert rounds

Pork at Khaiphaen, a  noted training restaurant

Best green beans ever, brown butter, sugar, lime

Banana fritters with cashew

Khaiphaen (sorry, no photo of l'Elephant, which was the French colonial)

Another day we visit the national museum, which turned out
to be the palace, and effects, of the former kings (installed by
the French) but deposed by the Pathet Laos in the mid-70s;
no pix, and also no shoes inside

Outside, there was this over-sized Stalinist statue of the last king, Sisavangvong--

After the revolution, he and the crown prince were sent to work on a farm, and,
long story short, eventually worked and starved to death; why the Russians
wanted to memorialize the last king, and why the Laos would continue to display
it, is a mystery; at least to me

Luang Prabang public library

Vicki had read of the Lao childrens' book boat, which distributes free books on the
rivers to Laotian children

And wanted to contribute

American room in the library

Luang Prabang: Koung Si Waterfalls

And after the bears came the waterfalls, which were surprisingly beautiful and very much reminiscent, on a smaller scale, of the Plitvic Falls in Croatia, half a world away...

Great signage everywhere, just like a US national park; and in English too

Terrace after terrace

Big jungle trees too

Big ugly nasty-looking spider

That big

Said to be 100 meters altogether

Later in the day, swimming in the larger pools


The usual market at the entrance to the park

And the usual yummies

On the drive back, a water buffalo riding in a songtheaw