My Son, Vietnam

Ancient ruins near Hoi An. UNESCO Heritage sight. Checked out of resort at noon today. Stowed luggage.  Did a day trip here to absorb time. Our flight to Hanoi is at 8pm, connecting to a midnight flight to Osaka. Sleeping day tomorrow in Osaka then catch Hawaiian flt. to Honolulu at 9 pm, connecting on to OAK.

My Son ruins were from 4th to 11 th century. Over 2/3 were destroyed during a week of heavy aerial carpet bombing of this valley during our war. A foundation of Damlier Benz in Germany is funding the very slow restoration of these ruins in MyIMG_20150710_005711IMG_20150710_005230IMG_20150710_004853IMG_20150710_004400 Son.

This will be the last post of this trip.


Old Town Hoi An, Vietnam

This is our fifth trip back to Hoi An over a 17 year period. The development and changes, tourism wise, have been amazing. So many of the tourists are now other Vietnamese, now middle class and traveling from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi on tour. What was once a quiet little town is now crowded with retail and restaurants in what were once residential houses.

Hoi An was never bombed during the American War (what they call our Vietnam War). Hoi An is about 15 miles south of Da Nang in central Vietnam. It was in SouthIMG_20150708_054721IMG_20150708_060625IMG_20150707_021241IMG_20150707_013041IMG_20150707_012651IMG_20150707_234241IMG_20150707_215154IMG_20150708_051451 Vietnam during the war. The old town buildings are hundreds of years old. The area is a UNESCO Heritage site.

On our third trip we stumbled across the Q Bar in old town. Owned by an English and American Vietnamese couple (Sean and Ha), they made us feel very welcome. Ha immigrated to California as a young child with her family. They live in Pasadena. Ha’s two siblings are dentists in Pasadena area. Ha decided to return to Vietnam as an adult with Sean and oponed a very upper end bar called Q Bar and tapas restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, across the street from the Caravelle Hotel. A few years later they opened the second Q Bar and tapas in Hoi An. They both live in Ho Chi Minh and part time in California. Two years ago they closed the Q Bar in Ho Chi Minh. Q Bar Hoi An lives on.

On our first visit we met their manager Minh Dinh. Mom and I always sat together with Minh and had a great time. He spoke decent English. We parted friends with hugs and all. After our first visit it was 3 years before we returned, 2014. He remembered  us and always sat with us at our table for the three nights while also tending to his staff. We liked him and he liked us. When we departed we exchanged E-mail addresses and maintained contact.

He greeted us last night with hugs and a kiss for mom. We had the usual wonderful bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. We caught up on the last year. He invited us to dinner tonight at that Q Bar. He had a private table reserved in the back for us. The three of us pigged out on a real Vietnamese feast. The photo is pretty grainy.

Monsoon, Monsoon, Monsoon

It all starts with the wind picking up. Your side vision picks up a curling blackness in the sky not unlike billowing smoke from your neighbor’s house across the street being totally engulfed in flames. It descends over you rapidly as you hear the first clap of thunder. “Batten down the hatches matties, were in for a rough ride”. The first drops on the cement are the diameter of a 50 cent piece. The rain becomes so heavy that you can only see for about one block. Ten minutes later the rain tapers off then stops. Five minutes later you see the first patches of blue. The day getsIMG_20150706_002942 refreshingly cool. Within a half hour the heat is back and humidity rises to IMG_20150705_234734 IMG_20150705_235430IMG_20150705_23454799.999%.Just another late afternoon in the tropics. Gotta love it.

The Nam Hai, Hoi An Vietnam

IMG_20150704_170550 IMG_20150704_172327 IMG_20150704_230840 IMG_20150704_043957Finally arrived at Hoi An. The entire facility is really quite elegant. The outdoor shower (also one indoors) is my fav. However, the best outdoor shower was at the Rayavadee in Krabi, Thailand. Where else could one shower in the lush jungle with monkeys in the trees watching you.

We have an ocean front villa. We left the drapes open all night, and in that we are facing east looking across the South China Sea, we awoke to a dramatic sun rise. Mom got up at 5:30 to walk the beach, I needed another hour or so of sleep. Just north of The Nam Hai, along the beach, is a fishing community. They arise before daylight and swim/bathe in the ocean at sunrise. Everyone of them were waving or yelling “good morning” (Choi boy sang) to Mom. Guess I’ll get up with her for tomorrow’s beach walk.

The staff is very accommodating and we’ll trained. They want to drive you everywhere on campus in their fleet of buggies but we prefer to walk. The food quality is the best we have experienced at a resort. The chef is a New Zealander and the assistant chef is from Nepal. The main dining room is Western and Indian cuisine. (Nepalese chef does the Indian). In the middle of the large dining room, are 4 counters roughly 8 ft. by 20 ft. This is the kitchen. The guests sit at tables surrounding the counters on all sides. The show is watching the cooks do their thing in the middle of the room. All 4 counters are covered by the most chrome polished and architecturally designed exhaust canopy. AND because the chef and food and beverage manager are both Kiwis, the wine list has 9 different Marlborough New Zealand sauvignon blancs on it!!!

Last night we were entertained by an hour long dry lightning storm. Dramatic flashes across the sky every 15 to 20 seconds.

Gotta run, Mom is treating me to a 90 minute Vietnamese massage at the spa. Monsoon rains are approaching, will be a wet walk to a.

Sayonnara To Kyoto

This is our last full day in Kyoto. Poured rain last night and today until around noon. We were then able to get out and about. Visited a few temples near the apartment. Other days have been destination visits around Kyoto proper. Tomorrow is a mini travel day. Will take the train to Osaka’s Kansai Airport. Will check into the hotel at the airport since our Vietnam Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh, the next morning, leaves around 9:00.

Ecclectic photos today, all color based. The kimono clad women were visiting temples. In past visits you seldom saw women in kimonos. We were amazed how

Temple Visiting In Kimonos


many young women and men are dressing in traditional clothing to visit temples this trip. Traditional culture interest seems to be making a resurgence with the young. 

No one grows orchids like the Japanese. All over Japan you see these amazing orchid plants. They are not plastic. I suspect that some white ones might be dyed colors, especially the blue ones.

We stopped at a tea room around 2:00 and had a double treat, food and gazing upon their adjoining koi pond and garden. Some of these fish were approaching 36″.

Won’t post for the next two days. When we arrive into Ho Chi Minh, we change planes and get into Da Nang about 8 at night. We aren’t checking into the Nam Hai in nearby Hoi An that evening and waste a day at the beach. So, we will check into a hotel in Da Nang that first night and check into the Nam Hai at 1pm the next day so we get a full day.