Tuesday 21st May, 2012; 11:44
Where: Jalan Jalan 2 Guesthouse, Melaka Malaysia
Why: Reflecting on 365+ days of wandering in Laos and Vietnam edition.
Hmmm, back at JJ2, feels like dejavu. The fans keep turning on and off, making me hot and cool **waves fists in air**
Okay Part Two...
Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng Highlights:
The slow boat to Laos - my first boat journey in SE Asia - the slowest two day ride of my life while recovering from food poisoning in Pai. Shmoking Thai weed while playing Cheat with my LP Crew. Midnight bowling. Elephant training. Hooka Pipes. Utopia Lounge. My Aussi Cycling Monk and movie dates with him at L'Etranger Lounge. Hand weaving my very own silk scarf. Milking goats. Loathing the tubing in VV. Getting my netbook stolen in VV. Dealing with the police in VV. Almost dying while climbing a really jagged karst in VV. Unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a better deal on a new netbook in Vientiane. Dodgy 14hr bus ride from Vientiane to Hanoi.
Packed like sardines on the two day slow boat to Luang Prabang:
Gearing up for my famous gutter balls:
Scoring a private two day elephant Mahout training course with my two elephants:
Three days spent spinning, dyeing and weaving my very own ikat patterned Lao silk scarf with the best staff ever:
Milky milky, come to Davie:
Climbing and descending a very dangerously jagged karst without any safety equipment:
And surviving to tell the tale back at the Organic Farm where we were volunteering. Me, Lily and Christian:
Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An Highlights:
Eating mind blowing pho. Mind blowing Halong Bay. Almost losing my shorts several times while speed tubing at Halong Bay. Wandering for hours inside Hue's citadel. Salivating at the miles of cannabis plants en route to the DMZ tour. Random kids playing Monopoly Viet style in Hoi An. Culinary orgasm at the Morning Glory Cooking School. Chilling out at the two beaches while reading a fantastic book. Enough lanterns to light up all of SE Asia.
I could have eaten this 3 times a day:
My visual take of Halong Bay from Castaway Island:
Standing on the bridge that divides North and South Vietnam:
The random cutest kids playing Monopoly on a street in Hoi An:
By far the biggest highlight in Hoi An - Morning Glory Cooking School:
Life's tough with a good book and a tiny bikini. Don't hate:
Wanting so badly to buy every lantern:
Jungle Beach, Saigon, Dong Nai and The Mekong Delta:
Beach bliss. Epic communal dinners. Day trip to find a dried up waterfall and catching an amazing view of Jungle Beach Resort. Saigon traffic. Delicious avocado shakes. Cafe sua da! Banh Mi!! Cu Chi Tunnel with my Saigon Crew. Saigon Backpackers' Hostel has the BEST wallpaper. Just the sheer propaganda at any tourist sight in Saigon. Seeing my birthplace. Meeting family for the first time. Being fed like a queen and putting on some unwanted weight (!). My relatives thinking I'm 23 and cousins calling me A Jeh (big sister) - that was strange. Being gawked at while going for a run in my home village. Seeing my beloved A-Mah for the last time, she passed away 5 months later ): Meeting up with Dad and Ryo and running amuck in Saigon with in-laws. Epic food poisoning round 2. Pepper harvest season. Rowing a boat on the Mekong. Wading through the flood. Sleeping on a floating hotel. So so so much more I could list.
Endless beach days at Jungle Beach paradiseland:
The very private and idyllic Jungle Beach Resort:
The manic traffic in Saigon:
I was born in this house in a bed on a dirt floor. Humble beginnings:
Eating all the time, even when I wasn't hungry:
And epic family dinners:
Spending quality time with my A-Poh (Granny):
Loving my Teva water shoes as I wade though the floods on the Mekong Delta:
In retrospect, I would have loved to stay in Laos longer but my Vietnam visa dictated my departure. Laos is such a wild and beautiful country. Lao PDR. Lao People Don't Rush.
Vietnam. How do I wrap her up in one sentence? I can't. She is the place where I was born. Even if I'm not Vietnamese, this country is such a part of me now. Having spent almost 3 months here, I cannot wait to return to the motherland. I cannot wait to return to A-Mah's grave. I weep for her every night but know that she is with me always.
Stay tuned for Indonesia and Cambodia. Coming soon to a Wanderin' the Globe blog near you.