First posted on kerrytolsontravels/blogspot on 21.4.2015
The return bus trip to Lao Cai was an event in itself. We pay a tidy sum for a seat in one of the mini-buses and with our gear (two massive backpacks – I’ve never learnt to pack light – and two daypacks) and along with ten other tourists and all their travelling paraphernalia, we pile into the van. The rear boot area is the size of a postage stamp, so most of the luggage is stashed inside between the door and seats and onto our laps.
Then five locals - including a very disgruntled baby with extremely healthy vocal cords - cram themselves, and their market purchased goodies, bags and other bits and pieces, into the rear with us whilst three more plus the driver hop into the front seat. On the outside, the vehicle may look like a standard fourteen seater, but really it’s just a sardine can in disguise. We trundle down the mountain at a cracking pace, crushing each other at every tight corner and it soon doesn’t take long before the first sign of motion-sickness emerges…. and doesn’t let up for the whole of the trip. I try to ignore the flinging of plastic bag after plastic bag of sick tossed out the window (and into oncoming traffic).
First posted on kerrytolsontravels/blogspot on 19.4.2015
We’ve enter a world of bling. Where rows of chandeliered beading envelopes around vibrant kaleidoscopic hues of pink, blue, teal and purple and elaborate hair clips and brooches - entwined through lush volumes of thick black hair that cascades down the back – wink in the sunlight.
First posted on kerrytolsontravels/blogspot on 14.4.2015
This post was first published on kerrytolsontravels/blogspot on 8/4/2015
We are in Hanoi for five days, but by the dawn of the fourth I need to escape. Hanoi is just too energetic for me. Everywhere we turn there is a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of activity - be it dodging bride after bride in stunning outfits and serene smiles striking the pose -along with their grooms – as we attempt to stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and try not to 'photo bomb' the happy couples (we stop counting couples when we hit the double digits), or ducking into the Vietnamese Women’s Museum only to find it is hosting a book fair in its courtyard and moving through the throng of excited bibliophiles is like trying to cross ‘beer corner’. I couldn’t even dive in and join them as most of the books were in Vietnamese and the extent of my Vietnamese is ‘xin chow',. Or being brought to a sobering thud when we visit the Military Museum to try and make head and tail of the horrors this nation has endured for thousands of years, only to find the museum is hosting an event for the dignitaries of the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly conference which is happening in Hanoi right this moment.
first published on kerrytolsontravels/blogspot 4/4/2015
My pulse is racing and the adrenaline pumping, I'm in the thick of everything crazy. Frenetic and vibrant. Where just about anything goes and if it doesn't fit, it soon will. I've dived into Hanoi and been hit with a tsunami of traffic - both people and vehicle. I have never in my life seen so much chaos and movement on a street in my life. Everything from scooters, cars, push carts, bicycles, rickshaws, strange little three-wheeled trucks and six seater golf-buggies to conical-hat hawkers with bamboo poles across their shoulders carrying the freshest of fruit, the heaviest of hazelnuts and the sweetest smelling flowers, spill across the street in a crashing of horns, bells, yelling and above all chattering and laughing. The sights and sounds send my senses reeling as M and I alight from the taxi after an all nighter flight and along with our luggage, we carry our jetlag across a crowded footpath, dodging red, kindy-size stools, tangles of power lines that hang dangerously low and another sea of scooters -this time parked- to our hotel.
We've jetted off to Vietnam to celebrate a milestone birthday and re-charge the batteries, and judging by the pulsating vibe of Hanoi, we are going to be well and truly energised and zapped to awake.
Vietnam Blog Posts
This blog originally appeared on my blog: Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells at kerrytolsontravels.com in 2011
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book.
The trip in order
Hanoi. - Fifty cent beers and crossing the road in Hanoi.... what traffic?
Perfume Pagoda - The sweet fragrance of life - Perfume Pagoda.
Sa Pa - Joining the stampede of footprints - Sapa.
Bac Ha - Embroidered into the swirl of vibrancy in Bac Ha.
Hue - In the 'art of Hue
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