Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My true love....Vietnam.

Americans in Vietnam added a twist to our trip. Everywhere I have ever gone in this world, Americans were loved. Always. We were favored, trusted, and never thought of as evil.  Entering Vietnam quickly changed this view.  We soon learned to claim to be Canadian, where from in Canada that was the least of our worries.  Anything to keep us from getting the "oh you are Americans" look.  

With that being said, Vietnam has been a favorite thus far.  Vietnam is beautiful and I instantly fell in love with the country despise I couldn't be my own nationality from time to time.  But how can I be upset, Americans had totally destroyed Vietnam in the war, so I just had to be mindful of that.  

My one an only topics I wish to cover in this blog is my favorite town.  

Hoi An. 

"An Ancient Town that is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site."
Hoi An was majestic, all the buildings are painted this mustard yellow color. Each store/shop/mart/restaurant had its own uniqueness of design whether some rustic shutters, a immaculate arch way, or some colorful flowers that forced you to snap a picture.  This town was gold.  It made me smile. It held history within these yellow stone walls that made you question Hoi An's history.  This town ran along the Mekong River, many evenings Jen and I would sit on a rooftop bar and just soak it all in.  Not to mention the most precious elderly people would be waiting to canoe you down the river for a dollar a person.  It was romantic in its own way.  Coincidently we spent Valentines Day here, and I was truly in love with traveling at this point. So it made for a Valentine's Day I won't forget.  On the other side of Hoi An was the South China Sea, that you could take a bicycle out for the day and spend your day beachside.  
Let me express to you this bike ride.  
Maybe my heart was just so full from this town already, but this bike ride was excellent.  We roamed through some small villages getting waved at by the local children, them shouting HELLO in their best English accents, we ran into some lost cows that seemed just as happy as us, we biked though the most lush green field of nothing that I have ever seen. We peddled and peddled and I never wanted this day to end.  I was beaming with joy and even more in admiration for this city.  

Hoi An is a place to see, put it on your bucket list.  

They are known for their tailor work, you could show them some Pinterest picture of this romper you've been dying to find, in half a day it was made for you for a great price and fits oh you know, perfectly.  
Maybe I was so head over heels for this place because is was so vastly different from the rest of Vietnam.  Maybe because  here I could be an American, maybe because I smiled the entire 5 days, maybe because we were sharing our time with two girls we've met from New Zealand that we equally adore, maybe because I got clothing made that fit my tall ass self perfectly, maybe because it was the buy one get one drinks, or maybe the pure beauty of this simple slow pace romantic history enriched city.  

Vietnam has a special spot in my heart, the many hardships this country has endured due to us "horrible Americans" puts life into a different perspective.  A perspective I have never thought of.  

Tata for now Vietnam.  I'll be back. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lovely Lavish Laos!

Friends here from Laos, missing home, slightly, but not coming home yet mom. Sorry.

Laos at it's slow pace, calm way of living, and aside from 1/3 of this country still covered with Unexploded Ordinance from Vietnam War, and the frequent beaming stares we get from the small school aged girls, Jen and I enjoyed our time here.

We realized that many, okay most of our days were spent in pure laughter. We hit up a few tourist sights, but in all honestly we were totally fine with gallivanting around doing much of nothing.We laughed so hard over the many differences that this culture shared with us. The laughter was so great that I felt compelled for my Laos blog to share our giggles.

Upon arrival our first laugh was of course how our squatting game is A+. Small holes in the ground are no longer a fear, and just a laugh over releasing the main vein. We finally figured out what the spray hose next to the toilet is for. AKA "bum gun". Pluming in most of Asia is either A. non-existent or B. hardly existing. SO bum gums are used to wash off after your duty is done so that you don't need toilet paper for most sewage systems cant handle toilet paper. Jen and I cant say we've been the best about this, hell we steal every roll of toilet paper we lay eyes on, but we can say we haven't had any overflows so we are two thumbs up thus far.

Ladyboys. Are a real thing. Ladyboys pass us, Jen and I look at each other and quickly assure our self that they are indeed cuter then us. Do we go and high five them?

Mealtime is getting FUN my friends, we are getting adventurous and ordering a variety of things YET it never fails when we find a dish we like and we go to order it again it is never. I repeat. never. the same. Frustrating at first, but now has us laughing. If you think you are going to get your dishes all at the same time, wishful thinking. The dishes come out approximately 5-10 minutes apart.  We always order chicken as the meat choice with our dishes, and Im convinced I have digested more then just "chicken". Which leads me to, if you have a food allergy, may peace be with you. No such thing of what the heck it means when you say, no peanuts, or no dairy.
We also have this sick obsession or maybe addiction to these fruit shakes that are every direction that you look. My favorite COCONUT, cannot get enough. With that being said, they use ICE,some more then others. And each damn good delicious shake is a HUGE risk. And now has turned into a gambling game of "oooo this ones great, not to icey" or "ohhhhh no, pretty icey" or my favorite when Jen ordered her most recent one, and we took it to the pool and she was instantly in fetal position, and as Im looking at her wondering if she's going to make it. She says, "but its soooooo goood" Like I said, sick obsession.
The wait staff here typically don't speak the best of English, so when we go to order something they just scribble something down and walk away, which is also reassuring that they probably just made up what you will be eating for this meal. Which could lead to why we never get the same thing. You know double dipping? That happens for every dish/shake. A big lick of the spoon to taste it while it's being made, then another lick and dip right back into the dish before it's served. It's like a cooking law in order to be a good cook/shake maker, you gotta double dip. Oh well. when in Asia.

My ultimate favorite laugh is the infamous Elephant pants. Hear me out. Most touristy places all sell the same items. Therefore most backpackers have a lot of the same purchases. The one in particular is these flowy, thin material, many colors,originated for females, elephant print pants. They cost somewhere around 4 US dollars. I personally own a pair. Hard to pass up, lil tank tucked into these babies an you have an easy outfit. Outfits are hard to come up with when backpacking, if its on the bottom of the bag you just simply aren't wearing it. back on topic. There is something so freaking comical, when you see a pack of 15 Chinese/Korean/Asian male tourist coming your way, all wearing a different colored elephant pant. Not to be stereotyping but its seriously hilarious. One maybe because the pants scream female to me. The sheer, thin,girl cut of these pants just aren't doing it for them. Or two do they not know? Or three do these men know how much of a laugh they are giving the female backpacking population. If its the latter option, then keep the elephant pants a coming.

Jen and I have decided we make a good team for traveling with one another. We like to leave our cell phones in our rooms and go on dinner dates. We love reacting the many hilarious things that we have encountered. We often gather around the "Southeast Asia on a Budget" book together in preparations of the following day or the next destination. Because backpacking takes work, organization, and is more planning then any "I want to travel" human can imagine. Promise you.

Im thankful for Jen as my right hand lady, we are having the most joyful time we can possibly imagine. We are meeting incredible people from all over this beautiful world. I personally am learning more about our world then I did my numerous of years in history classes. I love the English accent. Canadians are indeed so damn nice, say "eh" way too much, Netherland folks know how to have a riot of a time and can keep up with Americans humor,  Germans can drink, lots. Australians have an undying love for their country. And the list continues. Traveling is an experience in itself, and meeting people so different from you makes the experience that much more humbling.

Tomorrow we fly to Vietnam, nerves are high, but Vietnam we are coming for you.
PS. Vietnam is known for the many seamstress' aka you can have anything you can imagine custom made for you. Hellooooo tall girls dream.

.over n out.